Noteworthy News

Endless Possibilites

When I first interviewed for the internship at Creative Mellen, Kevin asked me what I liked about design, and I said everything. Then he asked me where I wanted to focus in design, and I said anywhere. It was two days after graduation when I began my internship, and since then I still have the same answers to Kevin's questions.

More than ever I am confused about where I want to be, or what I want to be doing with graphic design. And although this confusion sometimes has me spinning, my internship here has helped me to improve my skill set. I now feel more confident so that I can work on many different projects, and think about solutions to design problems in multiple ways. Because of this internship I have gone from an undergrad with little to no design experience, to a designer who is working for a successful studio, and who has multiple freelance clients of my own.

My jump from undergrad, to intern, to designer is all due to the trust, encouragement, and respect I have received during my time at Creative Mellen. Truly, I've never felt like an intern, but a peer, working closely with my colleagues in order to solve problems and to get our job done. After three months here, I may still be as open to possibilities as I was when I left the university, but with what I've learned I have grown in confidence, and I know that with whatever comes, I'll be able to meet any challenge.

One Month In

To understand the momentousness of my time at Creative Mellen requires a bit of a regression. My name is Matthew Mesaros, and two years ago I presumed to be a designer. My presumption couldn’t have been more hilariously wrong.

I was struggling to cobble together freelance web design work here and there. Some projects I undertook met with a insignificant measure of success, while others, then and in the recent past, are laughably bad. This wasn’t a result of unfamiliarity with software or code, or even poor technique or workflow (though this is certainly true to some extent). The problem was much more intransigent: I didn’t understand or appreciate what design ought to be.

More than any single event in the whole of my twenty-eight years, I must credit the decision to enroll at the University of Iowa (and a woman named Johanna for encouraging it) as principally responsible for my development as a coder, entrepreneur, organizer and, yes, a problem-solver. This isn’t mere approbation for this particular university or a call to action for college generally. You can potentially spare yourself a great deal of debt without heeding my recommendation. I can only speak for my own experience that this place worked for me because I allowed it to.

I had attended more than one college before years earlier and never once enjoyed it, but here I began to appreciate academia as an end in itself. Some classes were immensely fun. My skills improved dramatically. I developed a process for handling print and web. I met some very talented young people who emboldened me to take on various projects that in the past I would have been woefully unqualified to tackle.

So wherein does Creative Mellen fit? I feel it is important to chart my trajectory through university to the present in order to put this job in perspective. I call it a ‘job’ purposefully. It has never felt like an internship and I have never felt like an ‘intern’. My input, experience and skills are respected, but also questioned. I’ve worked on nearly a dozen client projects in some respect, and with some I’ve been given enormous creative license. But I’m also restricted in just the right way. Since I’ve by and large worked alone in the past I’ve had to learn to be collaborative, receptive and impartial. This place and these people make it easy. I can assuredly say that I’ve done some of my best work here and it is precisely because Creative Mellen encourages me to.

Now I have process. I’ve learned to fail faster. I sketch ideas until something makes sense for the project at hand, and I discard it as soon as it doesn’t. I’ve become more pliable: I have my own established system, but I can work with other software or methodology when the project (or Kevin) demands it. I’m still not a great designer, developer, presenter, organizer or entrepreneur, but I’m getting closer.

The Anatomy of a 3D Website.

Cyber-Anatomy, in partnership with the #1 human anatomy atlas of drawings by F. Netter, created powerful 3D software using advanced gaming technology to identify, study, and teach anatomy. To promote this new advanced 3D software Creative Mellen concepted and designed a one-page site featuring the rich 3D digital illustrations of Netter and Cyber-Anatomy.

To demonstrate the 3D aspect of the software we developed a short animation event when the page loads and a scrolling effect that rotates the 3D skull as you move through the information. This simple yet effective treatment allows users to imagine the advanced nature of the software and sign up for a free trial.

A festival worthy of a rebrand.

EntreFEST is Iowa's largest gathering of entrepreneurs, business owners, corporate innovators and community builders. This years event in Iowa City included more than 70 speakers to talk about various areas of business. In partnership with UNI and Seed Here Studios, Creative Mellen was asked to rebrand EntreFEST to better reflect the mindset of not only today's entrepreneurs, but the meaning behind the FEST. The new identity focuses on the coming together of Iowa entrepreneurs in the exchange of ideas, networking, and education. Specific colors represent different audiences and tracks, which when separated, double as map pins to help identify specific venue locations — creating a unified brand experience.

“Creative Mellen's branding work with EntreFEST took the event to a whole new level of professionalism and polish, not to mention they were incredibly easy to work with, brought amazing perspective and design chops to the table, and dealt with are numerous demands and needs with grace and skill,” said Andy Stoll of Seed Here Studios.