Day in the Life – Nathan Stone

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Nathan Stone is Lead Developer at FreshForm. He went to the Art Institute of California: San Diego and graduated in 2009 with a degree in Web Design and Interactive Media. Nathan freelanced out of college for a year before he was introduced to a small five person company at the time, FreshForm. Nathan has been here ever since. 

ditl-nathanWhat is misunderstood about what you do at FreshForm?

My role at FreshForm has always been a flexible one. I started as a Flash developer, but with the demise of my favorite platform, I slowly transitioned to a backend developer role. Nowadays, whether I’m building the backend of a CMS, helping with the frontend CSS, setting up the company photo booth, animating and editing video and motion graphics, or configuring client web hosting, even I don’t know what tomorrow will look like. Perhaps that’s the biggest misconception about what I do, because I never seem to do the same thing, everyone thinks I just do everything.

What website do you visit to stay up to date with trends?

Stack Overflow, Codepen, Gizmodo, Engadget, TechCrunch. There are a million more and they change every day.

What advice do you have for a young developer? 

ff-studio-hero-examples-2017-6-1_216Always keep an open mind to the tools/languages/frameworks you’re using. The web development field changes daily, and your favorite whatever might be outdated tomorrow. Constantly experiment, otherwise the aforementioned speed of change will leave you behind. Continuously question your own methods. A comfortable developer is one that isn’t pushing him/herself and will usually find themselves out of the loop. Embrace the DRY (don’t repeat yourself) frame of thought. A lazy developer is one who innovates to make coding easier. Find something else you love to do that may not be related to development. Tinker with electronics, photography, carpentry, crochet, whatever keeps your brain humming and your interests piqued.

What is your favorite gadget (high tech or low tech)?

Canon 5D MkIV, or DJI Phantom 3 Pro, depending on if I want to take a picture from down low or up high.

What is your favorite lunch spot?

Anywhere with beer.

Day in the Life – Abey Tidwell

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Abey Tidwell is a Design Coordinator at FreshForm and works collaboratively within the Experience Design Team. She is originally from The Bay Area, and moved down to San Diego in 2011 to attend San Diego State University where she studied graphic design. She has also studied the human centered design process alongside IDEO professionals at Parsons in New York City. Abey graduated from SDSU in 2015 and has been here ever since.

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What is misunderstood about what you do at FreshForm?

A widely known misconception about designers is that we are the ones who make things look good. While that is one aspect of it, we are first and foremost here to solve problems. A client will come to us with a problem, and they’ll typically have a potential solution in mind of what they want. However, it is our job to take a step back and figure out where the problem truly lies, then find the best possible solution for their specific needs.

I’m in a unique position here at FreshForm where I don’t necessarily devote all my time to one specific thing. I work cross functionally and have a hand in different phases of a project starting with research all the way through quality assurance. It’s great though, I have the opportunity to approach different situations with the same way of thinking. Although I’m not sitting at a computer creating a masterpiece in photoshop, I still feel as though I’m designing off the computer. It’s all problem solving.

What website do you visit to stay up to date with trends?ff-studio-hero-examples-2017-6-1_402

Awwwards is great for digital design, and Designspiration is nice for inspiration regarding general aesthetic. I also like to stay up to date with current events, some of the sources I browse are Vice and the New York Times podcast: The Daily.

What advice do you have for a young designer? 

Intuition is key. Find yours, and follow it.

What is your favorite gadget (high tech or low tech)?

Although I live and work in a world of digital, I’m an old school kind of gal. I really enjoy screen printing, I’ll always take advantage of an opportunity to screen print a project if I have the option to do so.

What is your favorite lunch spot?

Dos Brasas. One of the Designers here, Seth, got me hooked on bean, rice, and cheese burritos. I think half the office is addicted now.

Day In The Life – Michelle Peck

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Michelle Peck has been the FreshForm Creative Director since 2016. Michelle is originally from San Diego, studied advertising in Colorado (Boulder) and has been back in San Diego since 2005. Michelle has worked on projects for Dexcom, Sony, San Diego International Airport and California Avocado Commission.

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What is misunderstood about what you do at FreshForm?

A creative director can mean different things to different people. I often say I’m a blend of a Creative Director and a Brand Strategist. My approach starts with understanding the high-level business goals, user needs, and the design challenge. So, I have to be good at leading workshops, interviewing stakeholders, and documenting findings. I then take what I learn and distill it into clear themes and insights to establish the creative strategy that will set the framework for the end-to-end customer experience. Maintaining a clear concept and visual direction is important to ensure the creative vision is articulated in a meaningful way that will connect with our design team, our clients and the end user.

Throughout the process, I continue to test and validate our creative approach against the strategy to make the right decisions for the brands we work with and their customers. I review and approve everything that goes out the door at the agency to confirm it is on par with the strategy and meets the highest standard of design quality. Overall, my job enables me to inspire and motivate the creative team and our clients so they’re engaged and passionate about the work we’re doing.

What website do you visit to stay up to date with trends?ff-studio-hero-examples-2017-6-1_3-1

I typically look at Flipboard once a day to stay on top of the latest headlines and articles in the design community. If I come across something I’m inspired by I’ll subscribe to the news feed and let the information come to me. FastCo Design is one of my favorites.

What advice do you have for a young designer? 

Ask a lot of questions. I tell interns and new designers on our team that there are no bad questions. I love when designers are curious and willing to learn something new. Don’t assume you know everything. Be open to advice and feedback and make sure you listen to others and learn from your mistakes. And take notes! Write everything down so you don’t forget it.

What is your favorite gadget (high tech or low tech)?

The items I carry around with me at all times are my laptop, sketch paper, notebook, a pencil and a pen. As long as I have something to write with I’m usually good to go.

What is your favorite lunch spot?

I like to walk if I can, because many days I’ll tend to never leave the office. Saffron is great for a quick bite, but I also love going to The Crack Shack to relax and sit outside—they have an excellent ahi salad.

 

FreshForm Strengthens Leadership Team

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Company Appoints Chief Strategy Officer and Managing Director

San Diego, CA — FreshForm announced today that James White has joined the company as Chief Strategy Officer and Troy Troxler has been promoted to Managing Director, reinforcing the company’s leadership team and providing experience and focus to brand strategy and business operations.

Mr. White brings 16 years of big brand experience, including Microsoft, Qualcomm, adidas, TaylorMade Golf, GlaxoSmithKline, LabCorp and Dexcom. Troy Troxler, having joined FreshForm in 2015 as Director of Account Services, comes with 18 years of progressive management experience .

Scott Robinson, President & CEO said, “We view both roles as a sign of our commitment to creating stronger relationships with our client partners. Troy is a champion of lean methodologies and business best practices. He maintains an outstanding work ethic and is committed to professional excellence and personal growth for the FreshForm team.”

Mr. Robinson continued by saying, “The evolution of our own business, plus the increasing demand from our clients, led us to look for a strategist who would also fit in well with our culture and ethos. During our initial 9-month engagement, James’ wealth of experience, industry knowledge and business acumen has made him a leader at FreshForm. We’re fortunate to hire someone of James’ caliber to this role, having worked at agencies such as McCann, VCCP London and Iris Worldwide.”

James commented, “FreshForm provides brands a platform to challenge the status quo, driving innovation and successful business outcomes. Our Customer Experience Modeling (CXM) puts us at the forefront of a revolution, giving us the power to transform brands in a positive way.”

About FreshForm
FreshForm is an experiential branding agency based in San Diego, California. Design thinking inspires our passionate team of thinkers, makers and doers to collectively shape personal experiences between brands and their audience. We design and build customer-centric brands using the principles of human-centered design, allowing us to influence perception, encourage behavior, and transform brands. Our services include, Innovation Workshops, Brand Strategy and Design, Customer Experience (CX) Design, Website Design and Development, Brand Activation, Prototyping, Testing, and Iteration.

Visit www.freshform.com for more information.

Deliver Better Customer Experience or Perish: 5 Signs Customer Experience Is More Important Than Ever

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customer experience more important than ever

Globalization, online shopping, and even the rise of handcrafted and small producers selling their products in accessible ways mean more options than ever – and more competition for businesses big and small. When customers can easily take their business elsewhere, there’s an increased impetus on keeping them happy and coming back to your brand. It’s getting harder and harder to differentiate based on features and attributes. The companies getting ahead are the ones who are also focusing on the overall customer experience as a way to build business value and increase loyalty. These companies are raising the bar for everyone else – making satisfactory customer experience a point of parity and anything subpar a threat to viability.

Here are 5 signs the customer experience is more important than ever:

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This Week in Marketing: UX, Design Thinking, and Social Media

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thisweek-marketing-ux-designthisweek-marketing-ux-designNowadays, there’s so much out there to learn from, it can be overwhelming. For marketers trying to stay on top of the constant tide of news stories, creative inklings, experiments, data, research, epiphanies, and how-tos, it can be hard to know what to focus on. Since we’re constantly monitoring what’s going on in the world of marketing, we decided to give you a quick and easy primer on the news you can use. Subscribe for weekly updates in your inbox so you don’t miss out on anything.

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Making the Most of Brand Touch Points: How Erin Condren Surprises and Delights

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brand touch points

Erin Condren Planner

Today, I received a wonderful surprise. The planner I ordered just a few days ago from Erin Condren had arrived! I love my Erin Condren planner and had to have another one for the new year (a little late considering it’s February, I know). Boy did this planner arrive in style.

It reminded me how important it is to deliver on your brand promise at every touch point. You can surprise and delight customers with the seemingly small details that end up amounting to a lot over time. In the case of Erin Condren, this company does an amazing job of maintaining consistency with their brand look and feel and their brand voice.

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