Clara Söderberg: From Berghs Bachelor to A Creative Force in San Francisco's Advertising Scene

In the ever-evolving world of advertising, Clara Söderberg stands out as a dynamic and influential Art Director at BBDO San Francisco. Clara's remarkable journey from her early days at Berghs School of Communication to her prominent role at one of America's premier advertising agencies underscores her creativity, determination, and passion for the craft. We had the opportunity to interview Clara about her career abroad, life in San Francisco, and future plans.

July 4, 2024

Hi Clara! Tell us a bit about yourself.

- Hi! I'm Clara Söderberg, but most of my American friends know me by Soderberg (to save myself the headache of explaining the letter Ö every time). I just turned 27 and am working full-time as an art director. Outside of work, I like to run, read, or meet up with my friends to explore all the new restaurants in the neighborhood.

How did you end up at Berghs?

- I remember visiting one of Sweden's top agencies (Åkestam Holst) in high school and falling in love with the creative atmosphere. They told me they mainly hire students from Berghs, and that's when I looked into it. I've always been creative at heart, not necessarily in the typical art director sense, which made me hesitate about whether I'd fit into the role. However, I knew I wanted to work a few years abroad, so the bachelor's program seemed the perfect start.

What is life like in San Francisco?

- San Francisco is a beautiful mix of artists and tech. It has gorgeous scenery, an always-live music scene, local farmers markets, and garage sales. Inspiration is everywhere, and the culture never seems to stop. Some people call it the windy city, but to me, it's the best possible weather all year around: 18 degrees and sun, just like Swedish Spring!

What would you tell someone considering starting a career abroad?

- Do it. You can always change your mind later. There's an endless pool of wonderful, interesting people and cultures out in the world—go and experience it, and hold on to the people you like. The world (especially the advertising one) is tiny, and you never know who can help you with your next step.

What did you bring with you from your semester at Berghs?

- It might seem like a short time, but that semester taught me a lot. One of the most impactful lessons was the teachers who helped me find my way in this field. Choosing art direction wasn't obvious to me since I've always loved leaning into the strategy behind creative work. The semester at Berghs also showed me how far you can go with hard work and passion. Passion is an enormous strength for a creative, especially when we have to inspire people daily to understand the greatness of an idea. Being around such a large group of passionate and talented people is unique, and you only realize that later.

What advice would you give aspiring art directors looking to make a significant impact in the advertising industry?

- Trust your gut. It's easy to start questioning your creativity when working in such a subjective field, but that's when it's even more important to have a clear voice. Listen to other people's perspectives, as they might strengthen your work, but stay clear on the core of the idea and keep pushing it throughout the whole process.

What are your plans for the future?

- I'm always looking for new ways to strengthen my craft and currently enjoy finding new ways to use AI to make my work more efficient. But outside of that, I'm trying to find more work-life balance (maybe that's something ChatGPT could help with too?), probably signing up for a half-marathon, and maybe getting a dog? This might be the start of a thirty-year-old crisis, but hopefully, I'll enjoy the ride.

Clara Söderberg's journey from Berghs to BBDO San Francisco is an inspiring story of talent, determination, and creative excellence. Her ability to blend artistic vision with strategic insights has set her apart in the industry and continues to shape the future of advertising.