If you seek a great creative, look about you

Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice is Michigan's official state motto: "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you."

It wouldn't be much of a stretch to repurpose Michigan's motto into something similar for West Michigan: "If you seek a great creative, look about you."

West Michigan is loaded with design and creative talent. One good example is Hyde Creative, a one-person juggernaut owned and operated by Rachel Hyde. Hyde has almost 20 years of  design, marketing, communication and branding experience, and she has been building her own business through her firm for the last five years.

Her specialties are branding and brand development for B2B and consumer products. She says her personal goal is to help businesses to "rip off the bandaids" when it comes to their strategic branding efforts. Often times, she says these smaller firms have no goals or strategies and are caught up in the busyness of the daily workflow. "Small to medium-size businesses realize they should not be doing what they are doing any longer but they don't have the tools they need," Hyde says.  

She cites quickly designed (and often outdated) websites, logos, email marketing campaigns, packaging and collateral marketing material as examples of "bandaids" that are often cobbled together on short notice without thinking about a longer-term cohesive message.

Hyde says her process always begins with making sure the client has a clear brand position. From there, she spends the time to ensure that all marketing materials are integrated, cohesive and contributing to the firm's goals and strategies. Equally important, she says, is the education process that is part of her work, so that the client can have a process in place to make sure that future updates remain aligned with goals and the client does not fall back into a reactionary mode.  

"Some business need more education about marketing," says Hyde. "They know that there is a marketing need and I have to help them understand the value of investing (in marketing) and how design can produce amazing returns." She says a typical client engagement is 3-6 months.

Hyde Creative represents one of many small design and branding firms that provide an alternative for businesses who do not have the staff in-house or aren't ready to work with a large agency. Hyde says one advantage of being a small firm is that she can customize the experience for each client: "I hand-pick my team and the size of team varies based on project. Everyone I work with is an independent contractor with specialized skills."

Hyde says that despite the wealth of talent in West Michigan, both through agencies and freelance, the creative community remains more collaborative than competitive. "There is plenty of work to go around. Through the efforts of Local First and A.I.G.A. West Michigan there is more respect for independent designers and firms like mine," she says.

She says that her business is growing and she is looking to add to her team, specifically another designer and production artist.  

To learn more about Hyde Creative, including contact information, you can visit her site here.

Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.