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Tennessee Governor Haslam's New Website


Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s campaign team returned to Designsensory for help creating a new site for his re-election campaign. The site uses bold colors and a crisp, clean design to showcase achievements and invite others to support the campaign.

Current news and the Governor’s Facebook and Twitter feeds are prominently featured on the main page, with a backdrop of state images. The Accomplishments section uses a simple grid of tiles to lay out the topics for Haslam’s accomplishments, with images that take the user on a trip across the state. 

Additional features allow the user to sign up for different volunteer options, request information, order campaign items or make donations.

Comments (0)|Posted by: Joseph Nother, 28 June 2014 at 10:45am

The Legacy Centre Sponsors Leadercast


It's a spring awakening of mammoth proportions, when Leadercast, a business leadership development and networking event, is simulcast live to hundreds of locations around the world. Cindy and Ed Seaver, founders of the Legacy Centre for Family Business & Entrepreneurship, plan and dedicate countless hours and resources to annually host the Knoxville area's day-long Leadercast program.

During the 2014 Leadercast, we learned about "Beyond You" leaders, who fearlessly empower current and potential leaders around them. Tenets with backbone were key takeaways, such as Andy Stanley's advice: "The value of a life is measured in terms of how much of it was given away" and "Learn to expand your celebration of generosity and selflessness." The resounding question is and should be, how can I help others?

During a session, it was stated, "As your organizational authority increases, your organizational IQ decreases," meaning, that those with authority exercise wisdom by hiring employees with competencies that lie outside the expertise of those with authority. 

When you attend Leadercast, you might expect to hear legions of business leaders regaling you with success stories. It's quite the contrary. The sessions prove to be an inspiration to attendees. The "I" is left behind, and the "You" is accented. 

Dr. Henry Cloud remarked, "We understand people when they understand that you understand," meaning, having a trustworthy connection with people will build more and more trust. Archbishop Desmond Tutu reminded us of something on which true leaders should reflect: "I am a person because of other persons. We are all in the world together. Being a leader doesn't prove us better. It means we are where we are because of other people, and for other people." Archbishop Tutu mandated that "Good leaders listen and are accountable. They truly lead and know when to retire." 

The overarching theme of Leadercast 2014 was this: Go beyond you. Focus on the needs of others.

The Legacy Centre provides educational programs, professional resources and peer networks for family-owned businesses and entrepreneurs in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Designsensory is a sponsor of The Legacy Centre's Leadercast event.

The excitement is far from over at the end of Leadercast 2014. From the Leadercast stage, Cindy Seaver revealed that The Legacy Centre has launched its signature event for entrepreneurs, EntreVision, and premiered its new logo, created by partnering with Designsensory.

Cindy challenged Leadercast attendees, "We encourage you with a new idea for a business, for-profit or nonprofit! Tell your friends and colleagues. If your idea stands out, you will have the opportunity to connect with some of greater Knoxville's best entrepreneurial minds. We are giving away an awesome awards package to the finalists in what we are calling a "business plan competition with a difference," designed to be practical, useful and life-changing. The event series will culminate with an inspiring evening in the heart of Knoxville on September 6 to spur on love and hope for the future of our city. People from all walks of life—businesses, churches, schools, etc.—are invited to join us. It's a celebration and convergence of minds to launch ideas for a better Knoxville."

Learn more about EntreVision!



Comments (0)|Posted by: Joseph Nother, 28 June 2014 at 8:04am

Taking a Shine to Creativity and Community


When Concept Developer Brent Thompson spoke about Sugarlands Distilling Company at the June luncheon for Knoxville American Marketing Association, he detailed the inspiration and authenticity behind the distilling company's name. Borrowed from the Sugarlands mountains-valley region in north-central Great Smoky Mountains, the name was formerly known as "Blockaders' Glory," or "Moonshiners' Paradise."

What would a luncheon about moonshine be without a tasting? Luncheon participants were able to sample all the delectable Shine flavors: Appalachian Apple Pie, Blockader's Blackberry, Butterscotch Gold, Jim Tom Hedrick's Unaged Rye, Old Fashioned Lemonade, Southern Sweet Tea and, of course, Silver Cloud. Recipe cards were available at the tasting table for such scrumptious treats as Shiny Benton's Bacon + Brown Sugar Ice Cream, Summer Moon over the Mountains, Southern Buttermilk Pie with Roasted Strawberries & Apple Pie Moonshine Glaze, and Elderflower + Moonshine Mint Sorbet. 

To give visual heft to a superb presentation, Brent displayed original images of the old Sugarlands region around the large room in the Foundry. Attendees at the Knoxville American Marketing Association (KAMA) luncheon were treated to this wealth of images, procured from Thompson Photo, en route to be showcased in the distillery.

Sugarlands Distilling Company's mantra is a perfect marriage with its delicious products and those nostalgia-evoking images: "One foot firmly planted in the past and the other in these modern times." Touting a cornerstone of the brand, Brent talked about Silver Cloud as "Prohibition-era Tennessee sour mash moonshine, made in the tradition of Southern Appalachia. The whiskey drinker's moonshine, Silver Cloud pays homage to those moonshiners with a distinctly smooth-tasting white whiskey that delivers the perfect punch." Even the name, "Silver Cloud," is a throwback to glimmering stills that shone against the sky, deep within Appalachian forests.

Sugarlands Distilling Company partners with Smoky Mountain Guides to bring full context to its moonshine experience, sending visitors on adventures to the "breathtaking wilderness of the Great Smoky Mountains." And, as firm practitioners of giving back to the community, the distillery is a proud supporter of East Tennessee's WDVX and its pursuit of arts and storytelling. 

Sugarlands Distilling Company officially opened to grand fanfare on March 21 amid music, moonshine and folklore. About the opening, Brent Thompson, director of strategy for Sugarlands Distilling Co., remarked, "The grand opening is truly a celebration of everyone’s sweat equity to make this distillery come to life."

Ideally located on the Parkway in Gatlinburg, Sugarlands Distilling Co. performs the age-old craft of distilling fine Sugarlands Shine, while preserving the cultural heritage and traditions of Southern Appalachia. Situated in a barn-house constructed from the salvaged wood of four East Tennessee barns and houses, Sugarlands Distilling invites visitors to sample the Shine, go on a behind-the-scenes tour of the production, and purchase a variety of moonshine flavors, mountain merchandise and apparel.

Sugarlands encourages visitors to "rest your feet and set a spell" on the relaxed back porch. Hear pickin' by regional musicians and tall tales spun by members of the Smoky Mountains Storytellers Association.

See the Photo Album!

Comments (0)|Posted by: Joseph Nother, 28 June 2014 at 8:03am

Designsensory Welcomes Summer 2014 Interns

Designsensory is thrilled to welcome three interns this summer. We love making educational opportunities available. As an organization, we are deeply committed to continuous learning, and growing inside and outside our walls. Our new interns are are sure to contribute to our growth: Shaun Carter is part of the tech team, while Kelsey Greer and Bryan Huddleston are lending their skills to the design team. Learn a little more about them:

Bryan Huddleston

Bryan, a Knoxville native, recently graduated with a degree in Graphic Communications from Pellissippi State Community College, where he was on the dean's list. Bryan will be working in the design department at Designsensory.

“I’m very excited to be a part of such an awesome team at DS. I’m looking forward to learning more about how to communicate in an effective and creative way through design from some really great designers. Everyone I’ve met so far at DS has been extremely warm and welcoming, making the experience here that much better.”

Bryan has also interned at AC Entertainment, where he was able to hone his problem-solving and creative skills in a fast-paced environment. He’s also designed t-shirts for Nothing Too Fancy, a retail store located in downtown Knoxville.

Whenever Bryan isn’t working, you can catch him spending time with his wife Ryan (yes, their names rhyme!), playing and listening to a variety of music, and being a hockey fanatic.

Kelsey Greer

A design nerd to the core, Kelsey Greer loves communicating collaboratively through creative design.

Kelsey is a native Knoxvillian who moved to Middle Tennessee to pursue music business. Initially, Kelsey was drawn to graphic design by the prospect of visually representing sound. Soon, she discovered that she was more interested in creating album artwork than managing the music business. From that first album cover grew a portfolio ranging from weddings to websites. Minoring in interactive design, Kelsey will graduate from Middle Tennessee State University with her B.A. in graphic design this August.

She’s excited to be back in Knoxville, interning with the  talented, fun group at Designsensory. When she’s not behind her computer, she enjoys swing dancing, singing karaoke and looking for treasure.

Shaun Carter

As part of the tech department, Shaun is also our spotlight employee this month. Click to learn more about him.

Comments (0)|Posted by: Joseph Nother, 28 June 2014 at 7:58am

Utilize: Transmedia Storytelling

Is your brand taking advantage of the benefits of transmedia storytelling? First, let’s talk about how transmedia storytelling is different from multimedia storytelling.

In multimedia storytelling, brands use the same story (same commercial, same print ad, same creative story) with no extension. Transmedia, on the other hand, isn’t about crafting an ongoing story for all media. It’s about making sure the story connects with the right people, at the right moment.

JWT Intelligence, a group that studies cultural shifts and how they effect marketing strategies, had this to say about transmedia storytelling, “For marketers, this is an evolution of the integrated marketing model: Rather than a consistency across multiple touchpoints, the goal is for different channels to communicate different things (within the overarching strategy), with an emphasis on putting the brand community at the center.”

This video created by Draft FCB shares more about how transmedia can impact your brand.

“Consumers now have much more control over where they will focus their attention, so companies need to craft a compelling customer experience in which all interactions are expressly tailored to a customer’s stage in his or her decision journey,” according to a recent article by McKinsey & Co.

Take a look at this Getty Images infographic that shares the difference between traditional integrated campaigns and transmedia campaigns:


Comments (0)|Posted by: Joseph Nother, 28 June 2014 at 7:47am

Tennessee's Subregional Short Films


Integral to the redesign of, a fresh content initiative reveals the soul and sounds of Tennessee's subregions, presented via rich media and engaging content, and providing a heightened experience for potential Tennessee guests. Videos shot on location reveal experiences uniquely enjoyed in the nine Tennessee subregions: Knoxville & Middle East, Smoky Mountains, Chattanooga & Southeast, Northeast, Nashville & Surrounding, Upper Cumberland, Memphis & Surrounding, Northwest and Southwest.

Scriptwriting, preplanning and preproduction, talent acquisition and setting up scenes were common elements in the making of the videos. Among the scenes filmed in Tennessee's east region were newlyweds joyfully feasting on divine local cuisine and engaged in a wealth of activities in the Knoxville & Middle East subregional video. Area highlights include the Museum of Appalachia, Knox Mason, Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, Market Square, a University of Tennessee football game and Oak Ridge's American Museum of Science & Energy.

As one of two Middle Tennessee subregional videos, Nashville's magnetism was shown through its music mecca status, the rolling hills that go on forever and doing what you love in the fabulousness of Music City. A key emphasis was Nashville's openness to individual self-expression, and the joy and freedom found within Nashville's deep respect for individuality and creativity. The subregional video's voice-over navigates the viewer through scenes such as the Country Music Hall of Fame, Tennessee River nightlife, music concerts, edgy Southern style and culinary creations.

Quintessential blues and barbecue of West Tennessee's Memphis are woven into the larger message that Bluff City is an urban metropolis with charming attractions that speak the international language of music and food. From the Civil War to civil rights, Sun Studio to Beale Street to the Museum of Rock 'n' Soul, along fertile delta countryside to crazy-delicious ribs at Charles Vergos' Rendezvous—the Memphis subregional video captures iconic American heritage.

With the brand-new, Tennessee's travel message is even more accessible across all platforms, providing a consumer-centric, content-rich digital experience. 

Comments (0)|Posted by: Joseph Nother, 27 May 2014 at 8:26am

Utilize: Embracing Imperfection

Following up on last month’s article about human connections, this "Utilize" writeup shares how and why imperfection elevates design and builds connections.

To embrace imperfection in your brand means to embrace humanity.  We admit we’re not perfect here at Designsensory, and we like it that way. Imperfection is, in many ways, part of our daily culture and craft. This isn’t to say that our goal is to provide an inferior solution; actually, quite the opposite. Design thinking incorporates rapid prototyping, discovering and working through many moments of imperfection along the way to move the design process forward.

Our philosophy of human-centered design also underscores the value of a brand in context with people—in their lives, however chaotic or sublime, experienced among all their senses. We believe embracing imperfection moves discussion from simply the brand as an objet d'art to the brand within each customer’s journey, each customer's life and, most importantly, the brand positioning within each customer's mind.

Embracing imperfection can move beyond the process of design to the design itself. Hand lettering and illustration is an art form now embraced by major brands and one that we utilize within some of our most compelling and connective visual design solutions. We realize that certain businesses can incorporate this with success, but it’s not for everyone.

Jon Contino, self-proclaimed Alphastructaesthetitologist, is a leading artist within the genre of hand lettering and has provided design for Nike, Ford and Jack Daniel's. We’ve had the good fortune to work with him on and our new, upcoming television show for the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency. Here’s a video spotlighting his interest and growth in design and hand lettering.

In a recent issue of Creative Characters magazine, designer Charles Borges shares, “Today, hand lettering is starting to see a revival. More people are interested in it than ever before. A font is always a font, and everyone can buy it. When it is used in a caption or a logo, someone else’s design could have the same letters, but hand lettering is all unique, custom design. That is why companies that value hand lettering still insist on it as opposed to using a font.”

This video from PSFK shares how one group of anonymous artists creates its inspirational hand-lettered chalk art.

One of JWT Intelligence's top trends for 2014 is imperfection. According to its report, imperfection is taking on new appeal in a world that’s become neatly polished and curated. We couldn’t agree more. 

Comments (0)|Posted by: Joseph Nother, 27 May 2014 at 7:45am

Knoxville American Marketing Association's Annual Honors Celebration

With an African crested porcupine as a greeter at the Knoxville Zoo venue and the precocious parrot Einstein going through her 200+ paces, the Knoxville American Marketing Association's Honors Awards celebration raised the bar for fun and adventure—and for recognizing the standouts among us. The annual KAMA Honors event pays tribute to an outstanding professional and recognizes KAMA's chapter leaders while raising funds to provide scholarships for exceptional students majoring in marketing at the University of Tennessee.

For his leadership role in our regional community and for his diligent work and tireless commitment to Governor Haslam's Drive to 55 initiative, Radio Systems Corporation Chairman and CEO Randy Boyd was awarded Outstanding Marketing Professional.

Through his acceptance speech, Randy encouraged those gathered for the Honors event to visualize the plight of Tennessee's undereducated and to become familiar with Drive to 55's critical higher education mission. Randy described his thoughts and emotions at being appointed Special Advisor to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, expressing humility in the face of the enormous "Workforce Ready" challenge and revealing rugged determination as he spoke passionately about the bold action of the Tennessee Promise.

The Tennessee Promise is part of Governor Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative aimed at increasing the number of Tennesseans with a certificate or degree beyond high school. By the year 2025, 55 percent of Tennesseans will need a certificate or degree to get a job; today, only 32 percent of Tennesseans qualify.

For the Boyds, KAMA Honors was a family affair. Jenny, Randy's wife, and her musical group, Good Thymes Ceilidh Band, shared their love of music, infusing Knoxville Zoo's gorgeous outdoor space with spirited Celtic tunes. Check out some pictures from the event!

Other KAMA Honors awards: 

• Locander Award: Lisa Rupchak, President Elect, U.S. Cellular
• President's Award for Volunteer of the Year: Daniel Monday, Vice President Technology, Slamdot
• Star Award: Erica Beck, Vice President Brand Design, Moxley Carmichael
• Randy Boyd Marketing Scholarship: Shelby Ellis
• Townes Lavidge Osborn Marketing Scholarship: Carolyn Joseph
• Circle of Eagle awards: The University of Tennessee Medical Center, Schaad Companies, Laura Spica, Deanene and Tom Catani, Frank Nystrom, Kate Vitasek

Sponsors for KAMA Honors were the University of Tennessee Medical Center, the Knoxville News Sentinel, High Resolutions and Designsensory. 

Comments (0)|Posted by: Joseph Nother, 27 May 2014 at 7:33am

All in for AIGA Knoxville Design Week 2014

We design something new every day, all year long, here at Designsensory. For one week, we’re able to join the larger creative class of students and professionals to celebrate design on a collective level. The AIGA Knoxville Design Week gives our team an opportunity to broaden conversations, share inspirations, educate students and recognize design leaders in our community.

Here are some highlights of the week that celebrated 100 years of AIGA and design, with workshops, studio tours, awards and parties. 

"AIGA Knoxville Gives Back" Art Opening

AIGA Knoxville collected art from local elementary school students and displayed it within Remedy Coffee, marking each piece for sale. Money raised went to a local underprivileged school for art supplies. A website dedicated to raising funds was also developed.

President’s Award Ceremony

The AIGA President’s Award was given to legendary Knoxville designer David Gilbert, program coordinator for communication graphics technology at Pellissippi State Community College.

Trivia Night

Quiz Night—open to design students from all Knoxville colleges and universities, Maryville College and Carson Newman—was insightful and entertaining.

Studio Tours

Studio tours gave graphic design students a firsthand look at day-to-day operations of design studios, agencies and printers.

Meredith Bullock Hand Lettering Workshop

Meredith Bullock, renowned artist from Nashville, shared instruction on hand lettering and the transformation of analog art skills into digital art. 

Views Of Creating: Powered by PechaKucha 20x20

A multitude of speakers shared creative endeavors, using the PechaKucha format of 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide. Speakers included Holly Hambright, Nick Hollensbe, 47 Media, William Mahaffey, Bruce Cole, Paul Seylor, Sara Pattison, Studio 4, and more.

Celebrating 25 Years of Robin Easter Design

The AIGA Knoxville Design Week concluded by celebrating 25 years of Robin Easter Design with a street party. 

Comments (0)|Posted by: Joseph Nother, 27 May 2014 at 7:26am

Joseph is a Young Entrepreneur Finalist

In early April, the Knoxville Chamber announced 24 finalists for its 2014 Pinnacle Business Awards, which recognizes and celebrates outstanding businesses and businesspeople in the East Tennessee area. Our very own Joseph Nother was nominated for the Young Entrepreneur Award. This award recognizes young professionals, 40 years of age or younger, who started a non-franchise business in East Tennessee and have taken their business from early growth to some maturity.

This is his fourth year being anonymously nominated for the award; he was a finalist in 2011 and, again, this year. About the nomination, Joseph said, “It's inspiring to think about Designsensory's growth from 2011 to 2014, both in terms of revenue and headcount. We were essentially a quarter the size then.“

The finalists for 2014 were Devin Driscoll of Next Level Training, John Sharpe of StaffSource, and Joseph Nother. The awards gala was held in early May, with several DSers in attendance. Although Joseph didn’t win the award, he said: “Success in anything is never a solo affair. Glad to have been joined by my betters. Team DS tirelessly makes the magic happen every day. For them, my family and my lovely wife Elizabeth Nother, I am always grateful. Congratulations to the other finalists, and especially John Sharpe, who won the Young Entrepreneur Award this year.”

Joseph extends a special congratulations to Randy Boyd who won the Haslam Leadership Award. Designsensory has the privilege of working with him on multiple campaigns and projects, including the Drive to 55 campaign.

Comments (0)|Posted by: Joseph Nother, 27 May 2014 at 7:24am


Alison Ashe

Alison Ashe

Alison solves visual communication problems through a process of research, concept exploration, and original thinking.

Matt Honkonen

Matt Honkonen

Matt came to Knoxville from Chattanooga, where he worked as the senior strategist with the marketing and public relations department of a large digital agency. He has worked with a wide variety of brands, helping to solidify digital presence and develop a

Sarah Loebner

Sarah Loebner

Sarah worked for agencies in Ohio and Boston before coming to Knoxville seven years ago and burnishing her reputation as an innovative designer and fresh thinker. While inspiring design is her form of communication her passion lies in client partnerships,

Josh Loebner

Josh Loebner

Josh combines research and strategic thinking as the foundation for powerful, goal-oriented marketing experiences.

Lindsay Miller

Lindsay Miller

Lindsay is dedicated to the unrelenting pursuit of delivering unique, effective media solutions that bring a company's message to life.

Joseph Nother

Joseph Nother

As co-founder and creative director for Designsensory, Joseph oversees teams that deliver award-winning and compelling design.

Brandon Rochelle

Brandon Rochelle

Brandon, co-founder and technical director, oversees technology development spanning interactive work through online marketing.

Susan Sewell

Susan Sewell

Susan brings a background as a writer, senior editor, promotion specialist and project manager.

Ben Smith

Ben Smith

Ben is a designer, illustrator, cook, banjo player, guitarist, cyclist, rock climber and backpacker, who also happens to be exceptionally humble.  As a former intern (Bentern), who joined the team full-time (Benployee) in June 2013 after earning a B.F.A

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