Posted by David Oates 5 years, 1 month ago


Stalwart Communications recently had the privilege of hosting three graphic designers as part of our bimonthly educational Brown Bag series. The panel discussion was organized and moderated by the experienced design expert Robin Smith and included insights from Blake Nolan of Storm Brain Designs, as well as Jeff Huting and Lindsey Harris from self-titled agencies.

Here are some musings from their industry-agnostic collective creative minds:

How do you evaluate a client’s brand?

Look for consistency and their missed opportunities to communicate value/services

Hottest design trends of 2014:

  • Responsive design (site adjusts to browser window based on device) hopefully executed the right way
  • Bringing texture back and bright colors instead of the clean and muted look of the moment
  • Technological literacy is also shifting design style
  • We’ll likely see a big focus on privacy this year and providing layers of protection

Robin’s Book Club recommendation (watch out Oprah):

  • The Circle” by Dave Eggers - if you can handle not trusting your iPad or any device after reading

What company or brand you consider cutting-edge?

Thoughts on the creative process:

  • Look at the client’s competition and take screenshots to remind yourself who is doing a better job or more importantly, what they are doing wrong, and go out and kick everyone’s ass
  • Introduce ideas from a completely different industry to breathe new life into your client’s space

How do you sell an idea?

  • Back up ideas with research and how it ties into the client’s core values
  • Present as few options as possible – our panelists seemed to agree that more than three means you’re just creating more work for yourself

When building a website:

  • Make the design responsive and retina-capable. Building this strategy into a proposal could also put you at an advantage when competing for work with other agencies

On Apple:

  • Apple is always starting design trends. For example, when they launched a new IOS with everything flat in neon colors – everyone copied
  • Where Apple goes next with its new IOS release and marketing may drive the next trend in look and feel
  • Apple now drives everyone to design print quality resolution websites (300 DPI)

On minimalistic design:

  • Could be considered “green” because it reduces page weight and loading time, therefore uses less energy! 

On job security:

  • Designers and strategists are becoming far more valuable, but they’re noticing fewer production artists

On Google Glass:

  • Rebrand them “Googles”

What are your consistent referral sources?

  • YELP, SEO and word-of-mouth

Why set up shop in San Diego?

  • Why not?

A big thank you to Robin Smith for organizing the discussion and to the panelists for inviting us into their locker room. It’s safe to say we all left the discussion very wide-eyed and inspired!


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