Weapons of Mass Creation Fest Podcast

Podcast: Why Brad Weaver is a Weapon of Mass Creation

WMC Fest Merch

These WMC Fest hats by bidPress, though.

Podcast: Why Real Thread is a Weapon of Mass Creation

how to come up with great business ideas

Hey Entrepreneurs: This Video on Finding New Ideas is a Must-Watch

Stefan Sagmeister

Happiness is having Stefan Sagmeister speak at WMC7

Have you guys seen the trailer for Stefan Sagmeister’s The Happy Film?

We’ve been watching it on repeat since it premiered, even more giddily since learning Stefan is speaking at this year’s best creative conference, Weapons of Mass Creation Fest, this August!

Enjoy this trailer and make sure to purchase your tickets to see Stefan (with or without bunny suit – your guess) on the Ohio Theatre stage this summer. Smiles guaranteed.

Event: Weapons of Mass Creation Fest produced by Go Media
Dates: August 5, 6, 7, 2016
Location: Ohio Theatre, Playhouse Square, Cleveland, OH
Ticket and all information available now

WMC Tickets = Happiness 

The Happy Film (festival trailer) from {group theory} on Vimeo.

Jetpacks and Rollerskates

Watch This Speed Drawing of the WMC7 Tee by Jetpacks and Rollerskates, Grin from Ear to Ear.

Here Are 7 Reasons I KNOW You Should Attend WMC7 (+ Workshop Giveaway Inside)

Kickin' it with Kenny

We Came, We Saw, We Kicked it With Kenny

Kickin’ it with Kenny

Our design conference, Weapons of Mass Creation Fest 6 was filled with memories so warm and wonderful we’ll be riding high off of them all year long. One such memory that will live in our hearts forever took place here at our home, Go Media. On August 5, 2015, Fox 8’s Kenny Crumpton of the best morning show in the nation, Kickin’ it with Kenny, paid us a visit. We set up a mini WMC Fest here at the studio, in order to show Kenny what was about to take place in just a few days at WMC Fest 6. What happened on film was nothing short of magic.

Kickin' it with Kenny
Kickin’ it with Kenny

We love you Kenny. The end.

Creators. Doers. Makers. – WMC Fest Episode 3: Michael Cavotta

The WMC Fest Creators. Doers. Makers. Series

Our new video series highlights remarkable makers and designers that inspire and motivate us to create greatness. Episode Three puts the spotlight on Michael Cavotta, a featured speaker and workshop leader at the best creative conference of the summer, Go Media’s Weapons of Mass Creation Fest (2015).

Weapons of Mass Creation Fest is presented by Cleveland web design, logo design and graphic design studio Go Media.

The Creators. Doers. Makers. Series, directed by Aaron Freeder, will be back with more videos highlighting your favorite Weapons of Mass Creation Fest artists. Continue checking back here on our blog or over at wmcfest.com for more great features.

Watch the Video Now:

About Michael:

Michael Cavotta is a Cleveland-based personal branding coach, award-winning photographer, and ass-kicking agent of authenticity who thrives on bringing people face-to-face with their exceptional selves.

Prior to a career reboot in 2009, Michael had been a serial entrepreneur and venture consultant with over 10 years of experience helping launch a long list of exceptional start-ups, including iPod® accessory maker, Mophie. Along the way, he picked up a camera and taught himself how to use it. He started shooting food and interiors for Cleveland Magazine in 2006, but over the next four years, his focus would shift—and not just in terms of his photography.
In 2010, Michael traded the mercenary work of branding opportunity for the missionary work of branding people. Six months later, he was an Associate to renowned NY headshot photographer, Peter Hurley. By 2013, the distinction between Michael’s on-camera craft and off-camera coaching had all but disappeared, prompting his certification as a Reach® Personal Brand Strategist under William Arruda. In the years that followed, Michael’s original thoughts on image and authenticity—what he likes to call the You Quotient™—have been published around the world.

While he’s not busy boosting his clients’ YQ, Michael lives with his wife and two kids in a renovated schoolhouse loft guarded by a lovable 30lb pit bull named Kitty.

I Just Learned to Embrace My Inner Kanye. (4 Key Takeaways from WMC 6)

Lessons from WMC 6

The sixth year of Cleveland creative conference Weapons of Mass Creation Fest came and went (a little too fast), but if one thing’s for certain, the fest did not over promise and under deliver. This year, Heather Sakai and Bryan Garvin took over as Event Directors and it’s safe to say we all left feeling refreshed and inspired, with our hearts full of good laughs with new and old friends. Let’s talk about the takeaways from Cleveland creative firm Go Media’s WMC Fest 6.


1. Don’t Wait

Waiting around to get your ideas off the ground helps no one. It doesn’t help you, it doesn’t help the community, it doesn’t help your pockets. Antonio Garcia summed it up perfectly, when he reminded us of the great quote by Tony Gaskins: “If you don’t build your dreams someone will hire you to help build theirs.” We all have ideas, every single one of us. Take action to make those ideas come to life.

[Tweet ““If you don’t build your dreams someone will hire you to help build theirs.” – Tony Gaskins”]

“But I don’t know where to start!” you say. Ask someone! Reach out to your friends, this “network” of like minded individuals we have. What’s stopping you?

2. Never Give Up & Don’t Be Afraid

As we learned with Debbie Millman, some doors are going to flat out slam in your face. We are not always in our WMC Fest bubble and people can be cruel. Who cares about those people! Know who you are, know that you are awesome and can be just as great – even better than the person who shut you down.


3. Remember Your Passion For Life

Lenny Terenzi and Mike Jones took us on a roller coaster of emotions. We laughed, we cried, we hugged and we danced! Life is going to knock you down. It’s going to be mean and nasty and it’s really important to just punch life in it’s face! We will find what is meant for us when we are meant to find it. Until then, “belly flop into the damn pool!”


The goal isn’t to build a network and hope to get something out of someone somewhere down the line. It’s to make friends! It’s to bounce ideas off of each other, to collaborate, to lift each other up. A true sense of community is much more than saying ‘hi’ to your neighbors.

4. Be Authentic

Be the person your 12-year-old self would look up to. Have real conversations. We all strive to be authentic, live a great life with a super awesome job. But are we being true to ourselves? Michael Cavotta asked us to name three words that make you, you. Have you figured out those three pillars yet that make you your authentic self? Find out what gets your fire going, what lights you up. You are a badass tripod! Don’t fall outside of who you are.

This family started with a small group of people and has blossomed into the brightest peach in the box. WMC Fest 6 was a wonderfully emotional experience — the love was felt and the friendships are real. Only 300 some days left until we are back in the bubble! Stay true, stay weird and embrace your inner Kanye!

Adventures in Design: Episode 331 “LIVE from Ohio” WMC Fest 6 Keynote Performance

Adventures in Design Live from WMC Fest

We here at Cleveland creative agency Go Media, producers of design conference Weapons of Mass Creation Fest were beyond honored to have Mark Brickey of the Adventures in Design Podcast as a keynote speaker for WMC Fest 6. As expected, Mark did not disappoint. If you weren’t present to experience AID Live from WMC Fest, it was truly magical. But you’re in luck – you can listen in now over at Adventures in Design!

Here’s a summary of what you’ll enjoy when you listen in >>

Episode 331 “LIVE from Ohio”
WMC Fest 6 Keynote Performance.
First Ever Circle of Trust Meet Up from Jakprints.

PART 01 – WMC Fest 6 Keynote Performance

Our friends Go Media hired Mark Brickey to deliver the keynote presentation for Weapons of Mass Creation 6. With a packed house, full of the most Circle of Trust members ever to assemble in one room, Adventures In Design brought in the A game! Hear Brickley’s keynote speech on becoming the best version of yourself by using the power of Kayne. WMC fest emcee Aaron Sechrist of OKPants.com sits in as sidekick for the evening shedding light on the day’s events and making light of all weird places Mark steers the ship. WMC Fest founder Jeff Finley joins the stage to talk about disconnecting from projects that define your professional identity and shares with us his 2 year journey of personal development. Last but not least Dustin Lee joins us to talk about how passive income changed his life when he needed it the most.


The Circle of Trust (Paid Subscriber Content)

PART 02 – First Ever Circle of Trust Meet Up from Jakprints.

There has never been a bigger supporter of this project than Jakprints. With so many Adventures In Design listeners setting up shop in Cleveland for the weekend it was the perfect storm to take the show to the mothership and have the first ever Circle of Trust meet up. Always, one to offer the best customer service, Mark let the audience pick the night’s topic! Listen to this special Circle of Trust content (for members only) where we get a step by step break down to creating passive income and tiered earnings. Finally we had the time, space and place to go into the dirty details on changing your professional and personal life.

Enjoy and thanks to Mark Brickey for being awesome!

Follow AID on TwitterInstagram | Facebook
Join the Circle of Trust

Why We’re Totally Geeking Out About This Year’s Weapons of Mass Creation Fest

WMC Fest 2015 is next week!

Weapons of Mass Creation Fest is so many things to so many people. At its core, it’s a three day design conference created and sponsored by creative agency Go Media. But it’s also a family reunion and a huge opportunity to just shamelessly geek out with like-minded, kindred spirits. We cannot wait and are counting down the moments ’til we kick off on August 7th.

Here are some reasons why we’re totally geeking out about this year’s WMC Fest – the best design conference ever!

Tickets to WMC Fest 2015

“Two words: Michael Bierut.” – William Beachy, Go Media President, Ink Wars participant


“I’m really looking forward to seeing a part of Cleveland that didn’t exist when I left town 40 years ago. Also, I’m looking forward to feeling like the oldest person in Cleveland and perhaps getting a tattoo.” – Michael Bierut, WMC Fest speaker

“This will be my third consecutive WMC Fest and what a journey it has been. From curious onlooker in 2013 to vendor in 2014, to event sponsor AND vendor in 2015, The energy, inspiration and community gives me the recharge I need without fail.” – Lenny Terenzi, Screen Printer and Graphic Designer, Ink Wars Host and Sponsor of WMC 2015

“We’re most excited to get face time and one-on-one interaction with other designers. If there’s one thing we’ve discovered, creating a network of common minded people is essential, and showing the work at WMC Fest is just a way to start that conversation.” – Christopher Gray, Half Hazard Press, WMC Fest 6 Sponsors


“I’m most exciting to meet and mingle with all of the great folks that will be at the fest! This year, we have a great mix of WMC veteran supporters and fresh faces. To watch people from all over the country with different backgrounds create an amazing energy together is truly inspiring.” – Lauren Hudac, Director of Happy Relations at Weapons of Mass Creation Fest

“I get amped anytime I have the opportunity to go to a new place, and meet new people. At WMC Fest, I can’t wait to talk to some of the industries most innovative creatives, and hear people speak such as Mike Jones of Serve Studios.” – Wesley Hoffman, WMC Fest Workshop leader


“Because it’s going back to its roots – not trying to be something everyone thinks it should be – but is going back to what we all want to show up to! I am excited to be back in Cleveland – to hug necks with everyone!” – Mike Jones, WMC Fest Sponsor and Speaker

“I’m so pumped to see some familiar faces from last year and some brand new ones! I can’t wait to check out the new venue at Playhouse Square and see how the fest has changes from previous years. Mostly, I’m excited to recharge my creativity with everyone!” – Olivia Arnette, WMC Fest Intern


8 artist on 8 feet of canvas with a mystery theme, man what is better than that? Create on the spot within a time limit! Can’t wait!” – Will Kesling, Lean Dog, WMC Fest Sponsor

Tickets to Friday’s Festivities, including Ink Wars

“We are looking forward to exploring, supporting, and connecting with creative minds whose stories we’re excited to celebrate and share. Creativity is raw, emotional, and vulnerable and this event brings people together through those experiences – making WMC very different from a standard stuffy conference.” – Miranda Boisvert of Rebel.com, Sponsor of this year’s Ink Wars

“The Widen team can’t wait for the creative invigoration that awaits us at WMC. What could be better than spending three straight days with hundreds of conceptual thinkers who all want to solve a problem?” – Nina Brakel-Schutt, Widen, WMC Fest Sponsor


“We are “geeking out” about WMC Fest because this year we have created an interactive augmented reality video booth.  If that’s not geeky enough sounding it’s better to hear what it does: Pose with your friends and custom AR props based on the WMC. We are excited to see people interact with the booth and share their video clips on social media with friends. We also look forward to all the inspiration that the festival brings every year. Between all the speakers, art, meeting new creative people, some drinks….  I always walk away feeling re-charged and very inspired.” – Ian Ziegler, Photonic Studio, WMC Fest Sponsor

“We’re excited to be a part of this epic, energizing event and hope everyone has a wonderful time.” – the PSD2HTML team, WMC Fest Sponsors

“We are incredibly excited for this weekend that will inject innovative ideas and creative energy into our community.” – the City of Cleveland Dept. of Economic Development, WMC Fest Sponsors


“There is a buzz in the air, an energy that is palpable. I can’t wait to soak in all the positivity and authenticity that WMC Fest was founded upon.” – Heather Sakai, WMC Fest Co-Director

“I’m looking forward to meeting everyone in person that I’ve talked with Google Hangouts during the last 8 months. So many new faces join the community this year. So many positive vibes coming out of everyone we’ve talked to.” – Bryan Garvin, WMC Fest Co-Director


Why are you amped to come out to this year’s WMC Fest? Share with us in the comments below!

And if you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, come and experience 3 life-changing days with us August 7 through 9th at Playhouse Square’s Allen Theatre. Saturday tickets are sold out, and Friday and Sunday tickets are on their way to selling out, so hurry and grab those.

Tickets to the Event

Tickets to the Workshops

WMC 6: Meet Jay and Nathan from Cotton Bureau

Jay & Nathan from Cotton Bureau


We are thrilled to introduce our friends Jay Fanelli and Nathan Peretic, co-founders of Cotton Bureau.

They are sponsors of our WMC Fest Vendor Village, as well as speakers at the Fest.

Sunday Tickets to See Jay and Nate

We sat down with Jay and Nate to take a peek into their world and discuss what we should expect to see out of them at this year’s WMC.

Jay: I’m Jay Fanelli, and the other guy here is Nathan Peretic. We are the co-founders of Cotton Bureau which is a community for designers and illustrators to sell t-shirts and other kinds of apparel to everybody around the world.

Bryan (of WMC Fest): So obviously you guys are involved in the overall design community, what brought you to it? How did you start your general design careers?

Jay: I’d say both of our careers are a result of many accidents that have accumulated over a lot of years. Personally for me, I started as an account manager at a web design shop back in 2002, late 2001. And over the course of the next 7-8 years, I became a sort of designer, I guess. I’ve kind of always been a designer in my spare time but never professionally.

Nate and I worked together at another Web Design shop here in Pittsburgh, and became pretty fast friends and learned that we thought we could make a better web design agency than currently existed in Pittsburgh. So we bailed on that place and started our own web design shop in 2009.

United Pixel Workers, Jay and Nathan’s previous t-shirt store/web design community

Nathan: I think my story goes back to high school. Like a lot of people, building websites for myself, for friends and family. Even through college, trying a lot of other things and ultimately coming back to the web design industry as a profession after college, despite not having any professional training. When I got my first job I told them that I loved design, and I thought design meant industrial design, Jony Ive style, you know, functional, how can we make this object more useful. I had no experience as a visual designer, so the rest of my career people wisely pushed me away from visual design and into the more practical aspects of building out the designs. So, my background and my current position is not really on the visual design side at all.

Bryan: As far as what you guys are doing, it’s obviously a little bit different. The t-shirt market overall is really saturated. There’s a lot of different t-shirt press companies, you guys are taking a little bit of a different approach to it. Why did you go the route you did?

Jay: Making t-shirts is a big pain in the ass. We learned that, kind of the hard way when we started United Pixel Workers back in 2010. It was just kind of an idea that we had on the side of our web design business for something we wanted to try for a variety of reasons. Over the course of the ensuing 4-4.5 years, we learned the best way to sell t-shirts online, the best way to print t-shirts, the best way to ship t-shirts, the best way to deal with customer service.

And we were constantly being asked while we were doing United Pixel Worker t-shirts, ‘Hey, can you guys do my t-shirts?” And the answers were almost always no. Enough of those things accumulated and we decided that Cotton Bureau might be a worthwhile business to try to chase down. That’s sort of the functional side of things. We knew how to make t-shirts, and other people didn’t, or they did, and they knew how tough it was. And we thought that by both creating a community that curated great t shirt design but also provided the functional part of things, you know, the shipping, the printing, the fulfillment, the customer service, all that stuff. You know, we thought it would be a sustainable business. And now 2 years later, I think that we now know that it is.

The official Cotton Bureau website

Nathan: Our background is of a web design services company. When we left our previous company, it was to build websites for people. And I think naively at the time, I expected by leaving a company where I had a lot of responsibilities that were not making websites and starting our company together, I thought I’d have a lot more time to work on websites. And as everyone else may have already guessed, that’s not what happens when you start a business. There’s a lot of administrative stuff, there’s a lot of just tedious paperwork and things like that, and chasing down potential clients.

So that experience gave us some perspective as we went through our t-shirt sales phase, and we saw how half of the job at least is repetitive, not particularly glamorous work. And some people may really enjoy that hands in the ink, romantic, do it yourself model, but a lot of people who have the ability to design great things don’t necessarily have the time to put those things into bags and deal with what happens if they get lost in the mail. So we thought it made a lot of sense for us to try and take that part of the problem out of the equation.

Bryan: So your overall participation at WMC fest obviously shows that you value being able to contribute to the design community the way that you are. Why is it important for you to be involved in WMC fest or another event like this, and contribute in this way?

Jay: T-shirts are obviously a big part of what we do. And when we look out on the sort of general marketplace of t-shirts, there’s a lot of beautiful stuff out there, and there’s a lot of crap. And we’ve sort of made it Cotton Bureau’s mission to only contribute to whatever degree we are able to putting beautiful work out in the world. To create an experience we can be proud of, to create a product we can be proud of. And we need the design communities help with that. That’s sort of the selfish part of it.

The other side of it is that without this design community, I don’t know that our company would exist, Cotton Bureau certainly wouldn’t exist, Pixels Pusher, the parent of Cotton Bureau wouldn’t have existed. We might still be working for some crappy agency here in Pittsburgh. I know I can speak for Nate when I say that we’ve met countless friends that have helped us personally, have helped us professionally, and the ability to kind of give back and support a conference like WMC, especially one an hour and half to two hours away from us up the road in Cleveland, it’s the least we can do.

Cotton Bureau’s Wall of Fame t-shirt portfolio

Bryan: So you guys are speaking Sunday at 11:15 AM, what can we expect from you guys?

Jay: This is subject to change, as all of our conference talks usually are, but we are probably going to be talking about what it’s like to sort of be in an accidental business. You know, 6 years ago Nate and I started a web design shop, and here we sit six years later exclusively making t-shirts for a living. And that wasn’t the plan, we can assure you. And who knows what’s going to happen in the future, but I think Nate and I learned a valuable lesson a couple years in with Full Stop, our web design shop, that we started a web design agency because we knew web design and we had a unified idea for what a better web design agency could look like. And a couple years in, we learned that we liked being in business more than we liked being in a web design business. And I think our companies since then, and probably continuing in the future, will continue evolving into the right kind of business for our company. Whether it’s me and Nate and our other partner Matt, or whoever gets added to the organization’s future. We are kind of in a constant state of trying to find the right business for us, and we like where we are at but like I said, it certainly wasn’t part of the plan. So I think that’s primarily what we are going to be talking about at WMC.


Thanks a million to Cotton Bureau for sponsoring this year’s WMC Fest! Check out our full list of sponsors at wmcfest.com and buy tickets for Cleveland Design Conference Weapons of Mass Creation Festival now!

Sunday Tickets to See Jay and Nate

Watch our WMC Fest 6 Hype Video >> “The Road to WMC – Our Host’s Journey”

Behold the Weapons of Mass Creation Fest Hype Video

…a little video inspiration to hold you over ’til we meet in 17 days…

Watch Now >>

Then purchase one of the last remaining tickets to one of the best design conferences in the world, Weapons of Mass Creation Fest. Yes, we are almost completely sold out.





WMC 6: Meet Moonshot Lab from Barkley

Moonshot Lab from Barkley

We are thrilled to introduce our friends from Barkley, a fiercely independent advertising agency in Kansas City, Missouri.

They are sponsors of this year’s Weapons of Mass Creation Fest and an integral part of WMC Fest’s schedule.

The team will be hosting a workshop on Sunday called Prototype as Pitch and will be taking part in Saturday’s portfolio review – definitely not to be missed.

We sat down with some of their team to discuss their involvement in the fest. You can catch our chat over on our design podcast feed or the transcript below. And be sure to meet the whole team live at your favorite design conference, Weapons of Mass Creation Fest, August 7 – 9th at the Allen Theatre!

Tickets to WMC

Mark: Hi, I’m Mark and we are Moonshot, the innovation lab at Barkley Advertising Agency in Kansas City. And we help clients explore the future and design new experiences and products using sort of a combination of human centered design practices, emerging technologies, and just the right amount of weirdness.

Joe: I’m Joe, I’m the programmer kind of guy in the lab. My background is in software development and I do electronics and stuff like that.

Ricky: My name’s Ricky. I am the industrial designer and maker of the lab.

Katy: I’m Katy, I lead our experience design practice. I have an interaction graphic design background, and I also worked in education.

Moonshot Lab staff in a meeting

Bryan: Alright, so it sounds like a wide range of different things that you guys do. Can you tell the WMC community just a little bit about Barkley, the Moonshot lab and the role that design plays there.

Mark: Yeah, for sure. So we started Moonshot about 4 years ago, really with the intent of exploring emerging technologies and accelerating their adoption both within the agency as a whole and throughout our clients work as well. Very quickly we became not only a lab doing experiments with emerging technology, but we became sort of a cultural catalyst as well. We learned it was really important not only to have cool toys and do interesting experiments with them but to really propagate ideas, share awareness of possibilities, both inside the agency and with our clients as well. Pretty early on we started doing things like classes, workshops and other experiential learning events, and that became a real pillar of what we do. So we’re grounded in human centered design and innovation, we tackle problems from an end user perspective, and try to cultivate empathy and the feeling of what the end user is feeling when they encounter a problem, or what we want them to feel when they experience whatever we are designing for them. A design really plays a lot of different roles here at Barkley, not only experience design which is sort of our practice, but of course, graphic design, motion design, there’s really design throughout the entire agency.

Katy: We are excited to get up to Cleveland and check it out, but Kansas City is one of those interesting medium sized American cities that’s really beginning to understand design and innovation as a change agent even at the city leadership level which is really exciting to see. Barkley is situated in the downtown crossroads Arts district, and we are two blocks from Kansas City Center for Architecture and Design. It’s just a real thriving hub, and there are certainly times of the month and times of the year where that energy is really palpable inside this building and inside the city that surrounds us.

Advertising Agency, Barkley, located in Kansas City, Missouri.

Bryan: You talk a lot about the energy that your company has about design as well as these workshops you guys are doing. So overall, this seems to really fit in line with WMC Fest as far as sharing that knowledge you guys have and sharing passion you guys have. Why do you guys value contributing to the design community as you have been so far, as well as joining us here at WMC Fest?

Katy: I think that we are just interested in contributing to the ways design is practiced in Kansas City. It is just increasingly diverse, kind of the traditional modes of practice but all of those disciplines are interesting moments of flux. So there are traditional print broadcast, motion work being done by graphic designers. There’s great industrial design and architectural talent; we are a block from an annual fashion design show that happens every year that’s really fantastic. And we love to occupy a space thats a little more fringe, a little more experimental. We are really interested in the intersection of digital and physical and it’s a bit of a green scape, an unexplored territory here, at least regionally, so we are excited to push those boundaries and lead that charge and introduce those kinds of perspectives to the community at large.

Mark: I’ll add a little bit to that. Katy mentioned the notion of boundaries, I think one of the things we like to do in the industry is break the boundaries of what the agency typically concedes its job to be. So when we introduce the practice of experience design, and the idea of going beyond story telling and creating both tangible products and experiences that people can use to really feel the brands that we work for. That changed the way the agency sees itself and see what it’s capable of doing. And in a similar fashion, we like to break beyond the boundaries of our everyday experience and sort of go out and encounter new communities and bring back new ideas. So for us, participating in Weapons of Mass Creation is an opportunity to break the boundaries as well. Sort of import ideas that we might not normally get here, even when we are a part of a really vibrant community.

Bryan: So you guys are going to be doing a workshop, can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect there?

Ricky: The workshop’s name is called Prototype as Pitch and through the workshop we are going to try and show you the power of making your ideas instead of just talking about your ideas, because we believe making your ideas gets you the most excitement and the biggest possible buy-in.

Learn More about Prototype as Pitch

Moonshot lab prototyping

Joe: Yeah, we came up with this idea for the workshop because we’ve had a lot of luck, or not a lot of luck, we’ve practiced this process of making prototypes and then getting budgets for it. A lot of times people say, “I know it when I see it“, or “I don’t know what you’re making until I see it“, or “I know what I like when I see it“, so what we do is we let them see it. And when they do, they’re like “Yes that’s it! Or they’re like “No… that’s not it.” So yeah the idea for the workshop just came out of our everyday workflow.

Mark: And I would say that for us, this philosophy of prototyping to pitch is different from doing spec work because it’s not our intent to deliver something that might look like the final piece. We are not invested in dazzling potential clients with a logo or design per say, we are trying to give them a feel for what the solution might be and get them excited and inspired. That’s an important distinction to make, between prototype and spec work.

Bryan: So Barkley, overall as a company, you guys were voted one of the best places to work by Ad Age, you’ll also be recruiting at the event, you’ll be apart of our portfolio review on Saturday, so why do you guys love working at Barkley? What’s the best part of your job there?

Mark: For me, I think the best part of my job is that I literally invented it. Four years ago Moonshot didn’t exist, and I went to the senior executives and pitched them the idea of building a lab and to my great surprise they said yes, and said go out there and do this. And I think that kind of speaks to the kind of freedom and flexibility that we enjoy here, which is not common in agencies. And that probably stems, at least in part, from the fact that we are employee owned. So there’s just a different underlying vibe to the culture. I think in terms of the best things about Barkley, for sure, is the people. I love my team and the people I get to work with everyday, and I know other people apart of the agency probably feel similarly, but clearly, not as strong as we do because this is the best team. But as Katy mentioned, we live in this really vibrant cultural hub in Kansas City, the crossroads to Art district. It is the center of Kansas City’s creative community and it’s just a cool place to be. You can walk down the street and get inspiration and encounter people from other creative fields that kind of fuel your thinking and work.

Moonshot Lab Rotation Week

Ricky: Yeah, Barkley as a company really does put a lot of effort into developing great culture. And that goes all that way to obvious things like happy hours to really communicating to us visions of adding good to everything you do and practical things like employing diversity of people and encouraging us to explore outside of what we do and who we are and typical agency life and that’s really great.

Joe: I really enjoy the fact that our team is so diverse, I come from a background where things are more siloed and in your groups are people who think like you, and we have a team where we all think radically different and I think that kind of carries over to the entire agency. So any person you approach, they are going to think a lot differently than you are which is really cool.

Katy: Yeah I want to just echo what Joe said. Silos are not as predominant here, but there is still expertise in the building in a lot of different and necessary categories. There is always somebody to go to and kick around an idea with but the idea really is keen here, so it’s kind of open door policy. If you have a really great idea and some ambition and some passion to run with it, you’ll typically find a yes here at Barkley and a pretty long road to run with it, which is just really refreshing and really energizing as this point in my career personally.

Mark: I’ll throw in one more thing. I’ve been at Barkley for 10 years and I can say that categorically this is a really good time to be a Barkley. There’s just a ton of momentum right now. We’ve had some nice new business wins, picked up a lot of new clients, we are starting to get a lot of national buzz, you mentioned the Ad Age recognition as one of the best places to work. There’s just a sense of energy and momentum right now that makes it a great place to be and a great time to be here.

Buy Tickets to WMC Fest

Cleveland Design Conference WMC Fest is sponsored by our friends at Barkley

Thanks a million to Moonshot Lab and Barkley for sponsoring this year’s WMC Fest! Check out our full list of sponsors at wmcfest.com and buy tickets for Cleveland Design Conference Weapons of Mass Creation Festival now!

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WMC 6: Meet Ian Zeigler from Photonic Studio

Ian Zeigler from Photonic Studio


IZ: My name is Ian Zeigler with Photonic Studio. I went to CIA, and actually all the guys here went to CIA, but I run Photonic Studio with Matt and Tony. We have a little studio in Bratenahl, where we do art and make creative shit. Can I say shit? Stuff, creative stuff. We make animations, interactive content, and renderings and anything people pay us to make, websites, or whatever.

Selected projects from Photonic Studio’s portfolio.

HS: We are going on a little Cleveland design tour, and we’re actually not making it up to your space in Bratenahl this year, but I was able to visit your space maybe a month or two ago and you guys have a really unique space out there. You told me a little about how you actually ended up there and about your space in general, but can you share with our listeners a little bit about your cute little unique spot you have there.

IZ: Yeah, it’s pretty cool. We are in the middle of the woods in a converted greenhouse and it’s just very peaceful, there’s a lot of natural light and it’s a big change from working in a typical cubical with no windows, which I did for many years before we started Photonic. But yeah, it’s on an old estate, an actual old Holden property, just some old greenhouse. We were just lucky, because I was from Cleveland Heights originally, found a rental place kind of by the lake, and it happened to be this old Holden property and it had a greenhouse and we were always peeking in the windows at it, and we thought it be so cool if we could run a design space out of there. You know, we were all working for different companies and we all talked about running a studio together and it just actually all worked out. Eventually, I had to move out of living in Bratenahl but you know, still renting the space, it’s been awesome. We have turkeys, foxes and deer and lots of animals and lots of nature. You forget you’re in Cleveland.

Inside Photonic Studio

BG: So this is going to be your debut at WMC Fest, as well as the debut of what we are trying to do with the maker space and that second level. Can you give us a little taste of what we can expect out of you this year?

IZ: We are always experimenting with technology and visualization, usually for architecture and products and industry type stuff. But from experimenting with all this stuff, we kind of stumbled upon, wow, you can do a video booth or a photo booth with all this augmented reality stuff were doing to visualize architecture and products. So we kind of started experimenting with just making props, masks, beards and just all kinds of funky stuff and just realized we could make a video booth and it could probably be a perfect opportunity for Weapons because we always wanted to be a part of it, so then that’s why we reached out to you guys.

It was just kind of funny that we happened to run into Jordan at the AIGA thing and just tried to network with other creatives and we hit it off with him and just started talking about designing the video booth a little bit. Then we had a meeting and he started sketching ideas, and we started sketching ideas and it was just cool that Matt came up with the idea that Weapons of Mass Creation should be props of giant weapons and have it be a theme kind of thing.

And that’s when Jordan started designing some ideas based off of that, and we started 3D modeling them and integrating that and it’s been a cool workflow, sneaking these little side projects into our normal work flow. It kind of helps change up the pace of the monotonous day to day stuff. So once we realized we could do this augmented reality, we also thought, man this would be cool to do videos to share on instagram and twitter, so we might as well just record little 15 second clips of people wearing these custom props designed for WMC fest this year, and they are all animated props and kind of branded with some creative stuff. We might have some secret stuff sneaked in too, so we will see.

Photonic Studio’s augmented reality presentation book.

HS: Yep. Don’t want to give all of the secrets away. But it’s going to be pretty amazing.

IZ: So if you visit our video booth upstairs at the festival, you can jump in, get a short video of you and your friends with funny hats, oversized art supplies and custom props created specifically for WMC Fest. And we might have nerf guns up there too.

HS: Perfect!

BG: That’ll come in handy. So what’s on the horizon for Photonic?

IZ: For us, we’ve just been moving more and more into the creating interactive communication stuff, so utilizing unity, game engine, our modeling skills, our design skills, some animation stuff to make these 3D apps to help people communicate whatever they need, if it’s architecture, exteriors, interiors, trade show product stuff, I don’t know. We are excited. We just reached out recently to EventWorks 4D in Cleveland and we got caught up with them networking and we might be doing some holographic stuff with them so we are pretty excited about that.

Want to check out Photonic Studio for yourself? You won’t regret it.

Thanks a million to Photonic Studio for sponsoring this year’s WMC Fest! Check out our full list of sponsors at wmcfest.com and buy tickets for Cleveland Design Conference Weapons of Mass Creation Festival now!