Designing for your clients and company.

For 30 years (I finally received a set of steak knives) I’ve worked with both small and large clients who have hundreds to millions of customers. Three things I’ve learned to keep in mind, no matter those numbers:


I know the trends. I’ve seen them and I’ve partied with them, but I don’t design with them unless they actually make sense to a product or service. I mean, after a quarter of a century a designer should be able to be original and relevant. Right?


The advantage of sautéing myself in so many industries within so many markets is that I have gained perspective on what common problems exist regardless to budget or industry. I look for those unseen problems to solve.


Clients are people. Customers are people. The staff is made up of people. That’s the common denominator, the hook, the saving grace on any job that many forget. Remember that and relationships just seem to bloom. 


Ok, though experience, skills, talent and education are what people should hire for, it’s often the fun stuff one brings that breaks a tie between people.

I’ve played the guitar for about 38 years now, and I don’t just mean campfire sing-a-longs or Walter Mitty-ing on stage in a metal band from my bedroom. Learning to play stuff from Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, Mark Knopfler, Leo Kottke as well as Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, Steve Morse and the like, takes one on journeys of discovery that only enhances the mind when thinking creatively.

Since I was about 10-ish or so, I’ve enjoyed performing… somehow, though very bashfully. This included telling jokes, playing music, drawing cartoons and a little magic. In 2004, I auditioned and became a magician member at the Magic Castle in Los Angeles. Though I never did much with magic, the world of secret hand shakes and trap doors I was privy to most definitely made me think differently when solving problems. Even non-magical ones like marketing, advertising and design.

I have two young boys who are musicians and artists and they are also a source of inspiration, daily.

I like to focus my energies towards the creation of solutions and am looking forward to creating with you!


Kelly is one of the most creative and versatile designers I’ve ever had the pleasure of working under. His common sense and great personality helped make him a strong creative director as well as an amazing hands-on designer. He is a master at seeing the overall picture but never missing the small details in every project.

Lisa Young

Principal & Creative, Olive + Spark Design Studio

Through Kelly’s creative and technical acumen, he has contributed to many projects as both a team member and a team lead. He has fostered great relationships between co-workers and vendors and builds on those relationships to help ensure success throughout project completion.

Matt Jones

VP & Chief Systems Architect, Wind River Systems

Professional depth, or the mastery of a skill, is a necessity for any leader. Kelly is a leader who possesses both depth and breadth. From creative strategy to corporate branding to visual design, Kelly is that rare individual who can offer the proof of a portfolio as opposed to the promise of a resumé.

Matt Bontrager

Senior Front-End Software Engineer, Jaguar Land Rover

Kelly is an outstanding individual with a vast knowledge in his field. He possesses a great work ethic and morals for his work and fellow co-workers. I see Kelly as a leader amongst his peers with his ability to communicate, assess a situation, and act upon these qualities being an individual with innate leadership quality. 

Forrest Graham

Agile Coach / Scrum Master

Copyright 2021 Kelly Johnson.