How to Engage in Creative Design

Creativity requires exploration, discovery, and space to progress. Hopefully this article will give you insight on how to best prepare for your next creative endeavor.

Design agencies work on a variety of projects in-house and are often required to shift gears. The process of refining a site design requires a totally different approach than say, digital illustration or book design, and we are flipping between these approaches daily.  We love the opportunity to develop inspiring and informative graphics.

When given a design request, our team assesses the client’s needs and potential for creative opportunity.  Most collateral follows brand standards, however there are opportunities to use these elements in new ways or implement new illustration & type styles for special occasions. Evaluating the project’s ROI, audience, marketability, and longevity can help in determining what qualifies as a ‘special occasion’.

Beyond gathering details and setting goals, our team will seek clarity before diving into the details.  Who does this piece need to attract? How is the design evoking action or emotion? Where are viewers being directed and what is the next step? There is a mini strategy session within each request.

We all know how eye catching, distinct and high integrity graphics must be to capture the attention of humans in 2019. Why is design time often under-valued?  Identify and prioritize the marketing opportunities you can allot both time and money towards; all other needs may utilize the brand guide for design direction.  When your budget aligns with clarity, time and excitement, the design team is ready for engagement.

As a creative project begins, we toss around ideas and inspirations, develop mood-boards and refine our approach. Once we have identified the direction and feel confident to proceed, we need a little trust and space, much like a plant needs water and sunlight to grow.  Excitement, joy and gratitude are always welcome. There’s nothing more inspiring than developing cool work for a grateful client.

Trust the process, and the progress. Remember that high-craft often takes time to execute.  Sketching may lead to a digital illustration and eventually to a vector graphic. The look will continue to evolve as it is given time to refine.  We’ll bring our intuition, experience & skill to the table as we take a project from Point A to Point C.

It’s tricky to combine art with purpose, and often requires passion (an itch to serve, willingness to suffer & drive to ultimately succeed). Designers are fueled by challenge, but need the stability, clarity and support of our clients to meet the challenge with resolution.

Barnstorming with Beto

Join us for “Barnstorming with Beto” at The Long Time on Saturday, April 14th at 2pm.  We’ll be selling our own Beto inspired merch alongside Design Build Adventure, with all proceeds benefitting the campaign.  Advanced ticket purchase is required.  To find out more, check out the event here.

7 Branding Tips

Thinking about developing or evolving your brand?  Check out our guide to a successful branding process.

#1: Hire a Professional

It can be very tempting to look for a DIY or low-cost solution to branding, especially if you are a small business or nonprofit.  Trust us when we say this: It’s worth the investment.  A professional designer will provide you with logo variations for different occasions, font treatments, a color palette, and a Style Guide.  These elements are essential to developing a cohesive and recognizable brand that will stand the test of time.

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Rebranding Austin Corner Vet

As Corner Vet expanded in Austin, a dark cloud named Corner Vet in Houston also grew – as another business, with another owner and another way of providing care.  In order to remain true to our ethos, we decided to re-name and evolve from Corner Vet to not be associated with the other Texas clinics.

As concepts developed, Paz (meaning ‘peace’) became a much better fit for this practice.

Since emanating peaceful vibes is what this practice aims to share with both animal and human clientele, we adopted St. Francis as our patron Saint and symbol and coined ‘Peace to All’ as our new tagline.

Look for the new Paz signs on Cesar Chavez and South 1st in Austin, and take a moment to check out the incredible interiors as well. There is a beautiful painting by Mississippi artist Ginger Williams-Cook in the new S. 1st lobby, and there are are fine art prints throughout the building.



Erika Wennerstrom Sweet Unknown Screenprinted Tour Poster

Sweet Unknown

Erika Wennerstrom came by the studio in November and selected a piece of art as an inspiration for her solo tour poster.  The tour, Sweet Unknown, begins in December 2016 and will continue through early 2018.

The piece this poster was derived from can be viewed in Sarah Presson’s fine art portfolio, It was part of a diptych titled ‘The Desert in Bloom’.

Screenprinting by Nakatomi Inc


We are getting ready to open our studio for East Austin Studio Tours over the next 2 weekends, November 12-13 and 19-20. Artwork by Sarah Presson, Nick Schnitzer and Jack Murphy will be displayed throughout the house. The property is 2 acres and we couldn’t help but arrange for a stellar party this year – En Route Production’s ‘Happenstance’ will be happening here on November 19th from 7-11pm.

The night will be ablaze with fire hoop dancers, yoga acrobatics, a live, looping violinist, spontaneous poetry, tarot card readings, tap dancing, bonfires roasting Dai Due hot dogs and s’mores, Live Oak Brewing beer, theatrical shenanigans, beautiful visual art, a DJ and dancing, and a bra burning protest. And it’s Free Fun in Austin! FREE! All are welcome! Viva Art!

New York Retreat

Kirby and I just returned from a 9-day inner city retreat in New York.

We traveled north to Hudson and the Catskills, stopped at the Center of Sacred Mirrors along the way, visited Coney Island and caught up with friends from college.

Most people wouldn’t consider New York a retreat, but it can be… if you can slow down and simply observe the chaos.

Global Youth Peace Summit

This was our 4th year at the Global Youth Peace Summit, but my first as a counselor.

I spent the week alongside some of our world’s most incredible and encouraging youth. Throughout the week we developed strong relationships and respect for each other and our respective cultures.

Big thanks to the Amala Foundation for allowing us to be a part of something so powerful. I have so much love for this community!