“Art On The Road Town Meeting” Summary

Beautiful visuals as a sound business strategy

Participants in the event included 47 creative talents from Landor, LPK, BrandImage, FRCH, Marsh, Bridge, F&W to name a few.  SHA artists in attendance were: John Maggard, Lisa Ballard, Penelope Dullaghan, Michael Bast, Geoff Smith, Von Glitschka, Andy Hayes, Greg LaFever, and Mark Riedy.

There are 6,000 related design jobs in the Cincinnati area, but we invited only a select group. These thinkers strive for excellence and are consumed by finding creative, innovative and effective ways to reach their customer, and their client’s customer. And we all want to push each other forward.

The goals of this “town meeting” were to:

  1. Get to know each other better
  2. Determine how, together, we can make the creative process more effective.

If you’re going to talk art and effectiveness, where better to meet than the American Sign Museum? Like illustration, signage is a tool that evokes a response in seconds. Museum founder Tod Swormstedt took attendees on tours to see some outstanding examples of the art, all on display in the only public sign museum in America. We saw vintage signs of all kinds, from fancy gold leaf glass to pre-neon era light bulb creations, through neon’s heyday in the 20s–40s and on into the plastic era of the funky 50s.

Our group of artists has come to realize that Original Art Works through three key components: Originality, Collaboration and Results. As the Visual Ambassador, my job is to bring together (collaboration) artists and visual communicators to help the process of creating effective art that evokes response while sticking in your mind.

It was a great reminder of what our group of artists has come to realize: Original Art Works. And like always, this happens through Originality, Collaboration and Results. During the tours and talks I reflected on my job as Visual Ambassador—bringing together artists and visual communicators (that’s the Collaboration part) to help in the process of creating Original, effective art that evokes a response and sticks in the audience’s mind. As we see time and time again, that leads to measurable Results for our clients. Here are some of the opinions that came out in the group discussion. (Bear with me; my notes are a little sketchy since the ideas were flowing so fast.)


How do you stay fresh or original?

  • Look for trends, good advertising was evident in the 60’s because of independent thinkers.
  • Industry trend: in the early 90’s we had 5 communication tools; direct mail, telephone, TV, radio, print and display.  Today there are 32 marketing communication tools and counting.
  • Clients are complicated.  You need to collect inspiration, journal thoughts and trends.

How do you search for art?

  • The foundation is the Internet, Googling names and keywords.
  • It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you. Top of mind. Being at the right place at the right time.
  • Print material is still good at catching attention as long as it has some purpose.

When you have used stock illustration, what was the reasoning behind your decision?

  • Budget, time and trust.
  • Stock is becoming a bad habit to find a solution, cheating your client of a creative solution.
  • Clients do not realize the cost vs. value invested in time to search vs. time to sketch; so they revert to old habits
  • “The computer is the synthetic of the real thing” – Michael Bast


Many creative minds instinctively want to work alone. But in the end we all know it’s better to work with someone than for someone. It’s about streamlining the process by becoming adaptive thinkers. That’s the ideal—many people working together, with a shared set of values and objectives, to achieve visual results that truly make a difference.

At what point in your process would you contact and involve an illustrator?

  • After embracing customers and their ideas we drive a process of not simply solving the problem for them, but assuring that the client is part of the process.
  • Most agency staff is weak in drawing but still overlooks outsourcing help in the presentation.
  • Younger staff is not sure how to talk to illustrators, relying on the Internet for finding quick visual solutions.

Do you view an illustrator as a Creative Resource or Finished Artist? Presently as a finished art source.  Audience has overlooked the illustrator as part of the process.

Tell us what helps you make your jobs more effective?

  • Every artist has particular affinity and strengths. By taking advantage of the diversity we can not only maximize the creative potential, but also match it to the challenge at hand— expanding their creative potential.
  • Better presentation or prototypes.
  • It would help if we introduced a process in “Working Virtual”.  This would help set time frames and build communication samples. How can you log in to one source with a creative brief?  This is something we could test using SHA conference calls.


More than just sales figures, results mean a successful working relationship.  Sometimes, just getting the job printed is a success.

What was your best job?  Why was it successful for you and your client?  What is your best compliment? The fact that the project gets produced is a huge compliment.

That about wraps up what I have here in my notes. If you were part of the discussions at Art On The Road Town Meeting, thank you.

Best regards, Scott Hull