R. V.

Brand Designer (Strategy, Identity, Naming)

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AVAILABLE
I'm available for logo design and brand identity design work. Let's talk!
Experience: 15 Years
Location: Washington, DC

Overview

You need to craft a logo for your brand. One that promises quality, accelerates trust and eases adoption. I can design that logo with you.

I'm an award-winning brand designer in the DC area. I can help you capture your unique qualities in a mark that distinguishes you from competitors and keeps your company top of mind for customers.

Let's get started.

Experience

Thinkory (Present)
Brand Strategy and Design
Washington, DC area
Thinkory is a brand consultancy for impact business. As its founder, brand strategist and designer, I have:

- Designed empathetic brand identities that people connect with deeply today.
- Helped refine business models and strategies to capture better brand positions.
- Collaboratively clarified and captured root truths of brands to create more effective, customer-getting brand expressions.
Craft brilliant brands that make hope visible.
National Transportation Safety Board—NTSB (2015-2016)
Senior User Experience Designer
Washington, DC
My objective with the NTSB Portal Redesign Project was to design a portal that would centralize the enterprise with an intuitive user experience backed by a redeveloped architecture of information and a refined strategy for intranet-worthy content. My contributions included:

- Leading the charge to redefine the core purpose of the NTSB Portal.
- Hosting agency-wide UX studies like user surveys and card sorting
- Progressing from pencil-sketched wireframes to hi-fidelity mockups to design a more meaningful user experience and interface.
- Designing a user interface guided by the principles of Google's Material Design.
- Devising the underpinnings of a content strategy that would positively impact employee satisfaction over time.
[you must be logged in to see this link] (2012)
Design & Internal Brand Strategy, Intranet
Atlanta, GA
- Renamed and redesigned the core intranet website in step with the May 2012 launch of the new company, YP.
- Developed the intranet segments of the internal communications system that got employees quick answers to their AT&T/Cerberus Capital acquisition questions.
- Helped define the strategic direction and purpose of internal communications via the intranet.
- Set the tone for pursuing a clear understanding of end user's needs through research and experimentation.
AT&T (2006-2012)
Web Design, Development & Content Strategy - Intranet
Atlanta, GA
- Designed and developed internal websites to engage and inform eight to ten thousand employee users nationwide.
- Produced graphic, interactive and video content daily.
- Defined the company's strategy for web-based employee engagement methods and practices.
- Developed the 'voice' for InterConnections, AT&T Advertising Solutions's core intranet property, as expressed through the site's graphics and written content.

Agencies I've Worked For

Thinkory, Washington, DC Area
The Creative Group, Atlanta & DC
Providence Creative Group, Rhode Island

Education / Qualifications

SkillShare (Ongoing)
Classes taken include:
- Brand Identity: Design Adaptable Branding Systems /with Paula Scher
- Beyond the Logo: Crafting a Brand Identity /with Courtney Eliseo
- Radical Typography: What Do You Have to Say? /with James Victore
- Lettering for Designers: One Drop Cap Letterform at a Time /with Jessica Hische
- By The Book: Create a Style Guide for Your Brand /with Courtney Eliseo
CreativeLive (Ongoing)
Classes taken include:
- Bold and Fearless Poster Design /with James Victore
- Build a Stand-Out Business /with Tara Gentile
- Logo Design: Wordmarks /with Michael Stinson
Favorite Design Books I've Read:
- Designing Brand Identity /by Alina Wheeler
- The Brand Gap /by Marty Neumeier
- Building Better Brands /by Scott Lerman
- Brand Apart /by Joe Duffy
- Logo Design Love /by David Airey
- Change by Design /by Tim Brown
- Zag /by Marty Neumeier
Podcasts I'm Listening To:
- Design Matters with Debbie Millman
- Building a Story Brand with Donald Miller
- Gospel Driven Entrepreneur
- The Social Enterprise Podcast
- Impact Business Leaders Podcast
Gibbs College, Visual Communications, 2001

Skills

Adobe IllustratorAdobe PhotoshopBrand ConsultingBrand ManagementBusiness Coaching
CopywritingGraphic designLogo DesignMarketing strategyPoster Design
TypographyDesign StrategyType DesignBranding

Awards

American Graphic Design Award - Logo Design
December 2013
Identity Design Award issued for the crafting of the "Haven" logo. Nail Spa Haven is an Atlanta business promising peaceful and private pampering experiences for sophisticated woman leading chaotic lives.
American Graphic Design Award - Logo Design
November 2012
2012 American Graphic Design Award in identity design for the design of the Socialicia business cards featuring 18 social media for business tips.
American Graphic Design Award - Logo Design
November 2011
2011 American Graphic Design Award in logo design for design of the Thinkory logotype.

Recommendations (9)

Submit a Recommendation
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Jamillah Rahmaad, MPA

Founder & Epicure at Soukle

Mar 18th 2015
After in-depth conversations, a name, a brand mark, key messaging and a formula for the future was built for my company. R. and Thinkory did an excellent job of guiding me through the brand crafting process and pushing out my brightest ideas. The vision we captured for my brand was cohesively aligned within every brand expression we designed for my company. Everything was perfect and just made sense. I highly recommend working with R. and Thinkory!
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Carlos Preston

1972

Mar 19th 2015
Mr. R. V. was and still remains to be an intricate part of my ministry Soul Athletics, Inc. We are a nonprofit ministry designed to teach and illustrate the Gospel of Jesus Christ through recreational fitness and games for elementary and middle school aged children. The quality that I remember most about Mr. V. was the fact that he took time out to get to know what we were all about. Our mission and vision is important to him and used this valuable information to create our brand identity, which we love and has benefited our ministry tremendously. Through countless meetings we were able to establish a relationship that helped the business side of things seem second nature. He is responsible for the success we have had as a ministry in our community by his philosophy of getting an in depth analysis of exactly of what our ministry is all about. Beyond the initial establishment of our brand identity, we still seek advisement for the advancement of Soul Athletics, Inc. in the future. Needless to say I highly recommend Mr. V. for any company, small business start up, or any people that are needing to establish and advance their brand.
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John Durden

Red One Corporation

Mar 23rd 2015
The job that I hired Thinkory to perform was supposed to be simple. I had an idea for a brand for my business. I didn’t have the technical know-how to create the mark fully, so I consulted Ralston.

He was supposed to not only create the mark, but also define several of my brand’s attributes. So we sat and talked for a bit about my business before he got started. I shared many things – about the company, the product, the target market, the ideal user, what I wanted this tool to accomplish for them. We parted, and he was confident that he understood what I needed.

What he delivered was not what was expected. At all. Before we met, he warned me, “It’s not what we talked about, but I feel that it was the right thing to do.” Admittedly, that comment made me a little nervous. But I hoped for the best.

We met. He began his presentation, which was, in and of itself, a work of art. He carried me through the things that we’d spoken about – the traits, the characteristics that the Clothier Connect brand should embody, as well as a few other details. Then there was the mark. I must say – he gave me so much more than I imagined!

His “understanding” of what I needed and wanted is a serious understatement. What he delivered seemed like it was born of an examination of my subconscious mind. He incorporated things into that mark that I had no idea I wanted. What I requested of him was shallow in comparison to all of the depth, full body, and meaning that he epitomized through my brand. It reflects elements that are core to my heart and soul, to who I am as a person. It was, in a word, perfection.

Every time I now look at the mark that he created, I am invigorated by it. It enlivens passion and excitement for the product that I’m creating and all the good that it will do for my clients. It is, in a sense, a beacon of inspiration for everything that I hope to accomplish.

But isn’t that what a brand is supposed to be?
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Zaina Ajakie

Project Manager ? PMP ? MIT

May 2nd 2015
I have the pleasure of working with R. through Thinkory regularly. R. has been invaluable as a resource, not only for UI/UX design but for the creativity he brings to the table in understanding a client’s needs. While he is an excellent Web designer, his strongest suit is seeing opportunity for improvement or creation of brand strategy and identity management.

R. is a humble, yet confident, designer. He leaves his ego at the door and delves into the work completely from the client’s perspective. It is quite something to watch him work his magic in eliciting what the wants and needs are and presenting a product that is often great from the first go round. He takes feedback well, understanding where the client is coming from and integrates that feedback in a way that best serves their needs and self-identity.

R. sees every challenge as an opportunity and sets about tackling it with thought and care. While he looks to satisfy the client’s desires, he is also expert at guiding the client in best practices and interacts with them in a positive, uncritical manner.

He has a talent for satisfying the most demanding client and yet is able to maintain a cheerful attitude that help build solid relationships and even connections. As such, he is a joy to work with.
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Clayton Curtis

SEO Manager | Content Marketing

Jul 28th 2015
I worked with R. V. at Instawares and can't recommend him highly enough. He was a creative guy with an especially large skill set in regards to design. He helped me with the front-end design/coding of your buying guides and was instrumental in helping us meet our deadline. I wouldn't hesitate for a second to hire R. for design work.
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Matthew Gillette

Community Organizer

Apr 24th 2016
R. has been very professional and easy to work with. Not only did I end up with a great brand, I came away with a lot of knowledge about brand design. I appreciate his thoughtful questions and walked us through the process. I would highly recommend him.
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Andy Pisciotti

Lead Creative

Apr 26th 2016
R. is a pleasure to work with! He is friendly, professional, and most importantly, humble. He listens well and cares about the end product, because after all, it's his product too. I'd definitely recommend him, and look forward to working with him again.
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Vince McDonough

Retired - AT&T Public Relations

Apr 26th 2016
I worked with R. from 2007 to 2012 when we were employed by AT&T Yellow Pages. I wrote articles for our intranet site, Interconnections, and he did all of the related postings and design work. In fact, he worked closely with IT to launch the site itself, which was not an easy task: The site had to serve all of our employees, including many who worked behind different firewalls at companies we had acquired. As the two primary Interconnections managers, we averaged 25 combined stories, briefs, photos and captions per week -- always on tight deadline. The articles and artwork engaged readers with the latest company/industry news, sales success stories, personal achievements and community involvement. The site also invited employee comments, which we addressed promptly.

Today, if I owned a business and wanted to launch or change a brand and/or website, I would welcome Ralston's design ideas from the start. When we'd first meet to discuss the project, I'd know to build in several hours because he would want full details on what I offered, how I was doing it now and what I wanted to achieve, short- and long-term. He'd ask question after question. He'd then take my raw information, give it considerable branding and marketing thought and make sure I had an equal amount of time for him to present his work in full. I know his concepts would address my business needs and include creativity that was completely off my radar of possibilities. The cornerstone of his design recommendations would be the long-term branding crucial for my success. Whether a single logo or a multipage website, it would reflect Ralston's deep passion for his work and his belief that communication and design should always express, not just inform.

When we worked together, Ralston's skills also enabled him to be incredibly fast and efficient to support our deadline-oriented news site. However, despite the frequent "need for speed," especially on our Thursday publication day -- when we also issued a newsletter of links to that week's articles -- R. often went above and beyond with website designs and treatments that drew kudos from our boss and top executives inside and outside of our Yellow Pages department. His work simply stood out and made each Interconnections component pop.

Again, if I were a business owner in need of top branding/website brainstorming, ideas and concepts, I'd make sure my bids/quotes included one from Ralston.

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Jon Rueckner

Self

Apr 27th 2016
I worked along side R. at NTSB.gov and it was a true pleasure. He is excellent at researching and discovering opportunities to make complicated experiences simple. R. has a strong design aesthetic and a good eye for detail. He has a desire to stay current with technology, market trends and patterns. As a team player he is a great addition but also thrives in solo environments. Overall, I am highly impressed by his dedication in all diciplines and communication abilities. I would love another chance to work together with R. in the future.
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