Our jury panel is comprised of an international pool of creative industry professionals from art and creative directors, curators, publishers and other influential luminaries.
As Creative Director for Catchword Branding—#1 brand naming agency in the world according to leading ranking and review site Clutch—Erin Milnes guides clients to memorable and meaningful expressions of who they are, what they do, and why. She leads branding projects for clients in every industry, including PwC, Intel, Michelin, Royal Bank of Canada, Hitachi, FICO, Aetna, Corning, HP, BIC, Dunkin’ and The Home Depot. Brands she has helped create can be found everywhere from supermarket shelves to the App Store to sponsoring the Indianapolis 500. Her creative excellence has been recognized by the Hermes Creative Awards and the Transform Awards.
As a naming expert, she has been asked to speak by professional organizations such as the Internet Commerce Association and the Linguistics Society of America. You can find her analysis and advice on naming in marketing media, she routinely publishes reviews on the latest brand names, and she has served as a verbal identity juror for creative competitions.
Erin Milnes has worked in communication arts for more than 25 years, but has relished words, and the stories they can weave, since before learning to speak. She was fascinated by mythology as a child and immersed herself in the stories of Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and the Nordic world. (“I was crestfallen when I realized I couldn’t read every book in the library.”) After several stints in writerly positions—managing editor of Loyola University Press, tech reporter, communications director, copywriter—she realized that brands are the mythological heroes of the modern age and began helping them tell their stories.
“As a creative and a manager, I bring my core values of integrity, efficiency, imagination, and courage to every project. I build relationships with and among stakeholders, examine assumptions, and meet clients where they are. My broad education and experience in the workplace, and the world, enable me to make unexpected connections and create stories that inform and inspire.”
Erin Milnes earned a BA from St. John’s College in Annapolis, where she grappled with the great works of the Western World via primary text, studied voice at New England Conservatory, completed the University of Chicago Press editing course, and later picked up editorial design at UC Berkeley Extension. Career planning took the vague form of becoming a linguist-philosopher-poet-musician. (Namer is pretty close.)
Throughout her youth, she dipped her toe in multiple languages (French, Spanish, German, Italian, Ancient Greek, Latin, Farsi). She was particularly focused on the languages of Western Europe given her classical repertoire as a vocalist, and she translated poetry, exploring different balances of preserving sound, structure, and meaning. Erin has always been fascinated by what languages share—and what they don’t—and how this power can be used to promote peace and justice.
That interest led to many years working with international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Centro Internacional para Derechos Humanos (Guatemala), and the California Coalition for Women Prisoners. She supported their important work by leading campaigns, panels, and workshops, research, and crafting communications that expressed key messages in terms target audiences could understand and act upon.
When not creating kickass names or leading clients to brand clarity, she may be found kayaking, making music, trying to keep her garden alive, or going down a wordnerdery rabbit hole.
Catchword is a world-leading branding firm with offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Denver, and Calgary, Canada. Since 1998, Catchword has partnered with companies in every sector to create brands that help shape our world—from Volkswagen Atlas and freelance marketplace Upwork to Vudu streaming service and Asana workflow platform. Through its comprehensive brand identity services, including positioning, naming, and visual identity design, Catchword makes brands that make a mark.