James Leal-Valias

Creative Director, Brand Director

Calgary, Alberta, Canada
James is a creative director who has produced award-winning work for international brands like Mercedes-Benz, Dell, New Balance and now iStockphoto and GettyImages.

15 years ago, after failing to realize his childhood dream of inventing the "Hot Pocket Within a Hot Pocket," James picked himself up and said, "onward, old chap" (because he's sophistimicated like that) and took his wild, creative brain into the world of advertising and design.

Along the way he's cut a wide swath with his unnerving ability to nail any project he touches, whether he's leading a pitch, an ad design, a site redesign or a complete rebranding. James has a wizard-like ability to take a little idea and make it big, or, more importantly, a big success.

Integrated brand marketing strategies, online and traditional advertising and demand generation, social and emerging media.

Work Experience

Branch B

Creative Director

February 2018 - Calgary, British Columbia, Canada

Redline Interactive

Creative Director

April 2016 - February 2018 Alberta, Canada

Better Group

VP, Creative Director

March 2013 - April 2016 Alberta, Canada

Getty Images

Director, Brand Development

As Director of Brand Development, I work with a cross-functional team to develop clear and differentiated brand values and guidelines across the entire Getty Images family of brands. Working together with our agency, R/GA, developed strategy and global activation plans around all of our new brand initiatives.
January 2012 - January 2013 Alberta, Canada


Global Creative Director

As Creative Director, I led the global design team (in Calgary and Berlin) for iStockphoto.

Highlights include the redesign and on-going strategy for iStockphoto.com; conception, strategy and development of feast.istockphoto.com; speaking at the 2011 HOW Design Conference.
2009 - 2012 Alberta, Canada

Rare Method

Creative Director

Led the Calgary creative department on local and national work for a range of clients including: Moxie’s, Travel Alberta, Bayer Crop Science. Scope of work ranged from traditional print and advertising to comprehensive online strategy and design.

Highlights include winning the iMedia Agency Shoot-Out at the 2009 Entertainment Summit in Los Angeles.
2008 - 2009 Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Critical Mass

Art Director

I was privileged to have worked on a variety of projects and clients during my 6 years at Critical Mass, including Mercedes–Benz, Dell, USAA, New Balance, Big Rock, Nokia (pitch), Quaker (pitch) and Las Vegas Visitor and Conventions Bureau.
2002 - 2008 Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Tag Advertising

Art Director

Worked with local and Alberta brands including The Calgary Zoo, Bell Intrigna, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Lloydminster Credit Union, Community Savings and University of Calgary.
2000 - 2002 Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Berringa Media

Partner/Art Director

Worked with local brands including OraOxygen, Alloy Restaurant Group, Alberta Mining Co. (AMC), Fording Coal.
1999 - 2008 Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Humdinger Communications


1998 - 1999 Calgary, Alberta, Canada


Southern Alberta Institute Of Technology

Cinema, Television, Stage & Radio (Multimedia)

1996 - 1997 Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Carleton University

Bachelor of Journalism program

Left program to pursue design
1994 - 1995 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada