Author Archives: Taylor Mak

Google Logo Debuted Sans Serif

A “shot heard round the world” is most commonly associated with the opening of the American Revolutionary War, but this week a different “shot” was heard round the world––and you guessed it, I’m talking about the unveiling of Google’s new logo, serifs not included.

Google announced the updated logo on their blog stating:

“So why are we doing this now? Once upon a time, Google was one destination that you reached from one device: a desktop PC. These days, people interact with Google products across many different platforms, apps and devices—sometimes all in a single day. You expect Google to help you whenever and wherever you need it, whether it’s on your mobile phone, TV, watch, the dashboard in your car, and yes, even a desktop!

Today we’re introducing a new logo and identity family that reflects this reality and shows you when the Google magic is working for you, even on the tiniest screens. As you’ll see, we’ve taken the Google logo and branding, which were originally built for a single desktop browser page, and updated them for a world of seamless computing across an endless number of devices and different kinds of inputs (such as tap, type and talk).”

Being the company’s first “real” logo change since 1999, Google claims that the new look actually has a lot more to do with functionality rather than aesthetics––and apparently, it has everything to do with those damn serifs.

What’s a serif?

The small line attached to the end of a stroke in a letter or symbol. See the serifs disappear below?



Form follows function

Here are a few facts about serifs and why Google decided to part ways:

  1. First and foremost, scalability. Serifs don’t scale, meaning that the font becomes less readable the smaller it gets. How often have you mistaken the lowercase “g” found in Google’s previous logo with an “8”? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one.
  2. Serifs suck up bandwidth. For years, Google knew that their logo degraded when viewed at low resolutions. Users with low-bandwidth connections were shown a “close” text approximation, not even the image version of the logo!

Check out the difference below, did they think we weren’t going to notice?

1414228815582027849Image courtesy of Gizmodo.

To accommodate Google’s low-bandwidth users, the company chose to not only redesign the logo but generate a new logo using a Scalable Vector Graphic (SVG), a vector-based file type.

In terms of logos, SVG is the way to go––and will soon be the way all logos appear, which is good news for our low-bandwidth friends.

1414228815606889545Image courtesy of Gizmodo.

So, what’s the verdict?

Naturally, the Internet is booming with mixed reviews of the tech giant’s new logo. I get it though––change can be uncomfortable and after 16-years with the Google logo we know and love, this news has come off as a bit of a shock. And rightly so. For some of us, our relationship with Google’s logo is the longest relationship we’ve ever had, so this silent, unbeknownst reveal has left the Internet feeling some type of way.

Tobias Frere-Jones, type designer at Frere-Jones Type was quoted on The Verge saying, “I don’t think this redesign speaks to any larger trend, because clean simplicity will always succeed, even if it doesn’t excite.” and he’s not the only one who thinks Google’s new image is a bit lackluster.

Seth Ellis, assistant professor at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, University of Michigan told Think Progress, “I’m not impressed, I’m just bored. It’s not a very interesting redesign. It looks like pretty much any corporate logo. It’s the average of every corporate logo from the past 50 years.”

But don’t worry, a number of graphic designers were willing to backup the brand stating “Just because Google is a #brand doesn’t mean it can’t give you feelings. The new logo “brings a smile and delight to my face, which I think is important, because their challenge is digital interfaces are scary to the majority of people,” said Jill Spaeth, president and director of design at Citizen Creative and member of the national board of directors for AIGA, the professional association for design.

Honestly, it makes sense

Considering the brand’s recent restructure from a parent company to subsidiary of Alphabet, most of us could have probably predicted that Google’s executives wouldn’t dare avoid rephrasing their central ethos and refining their core business vision.

This logo change is a small piece of a constantly evolving pie, and to think that Google doesn’t have a number of tricks up their sleeves would be naive. Much has happened since the search engine appeared 16 years ago, the company has immersed themselves in everything from car design and global mapping to net neutrality and advertising sales.

Not only did a logo change need to happen, it HAD to happen. Google is aware more than anyone of the importance of branding and this logo change is just the start.


Sociopolitical Issues: Brands Behind A Cause

As we make strides through the halfway mark of 2015, it can go without saying that this year has proven to be the year of the pro-social brand. What does this mean exactly? Instead of boasting their own sustainability, brands have started to publicly back sociopolitical issues like gender equality, racial justice, climate change, medical ethics, foreign aid and more.

Consumers are no longer impressed or affected by a company who anticipates customer approval through charitable giving and progressive actions towards key environmental issues––in fact, they’ve come to expect it. But, can you blame them (us)? We are constantly surrounded by brands who have been founded on the basis of charity and corporate social responsibility. Take TOMS and Warby Parker’s “buy-one, give-one” business model for example, or Charity Water and People Water, who provide clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations.

warbyImage courtesy of Warby Parker.

So, when it comes to what YOU as a brand can do to “impress” customers and show your social respect and responsibility, they’re most likely thinking “been there, done that”.

Brands taking strong stands on social issues didn’t start gaining momentum until 2014. Last year, the Huffington Post reported on 27 major companies that boldly came out in support of marriage equality. And if 2015 has proven anything, it’s that consumers are no longer interested in brands who shy away from pivotal social issues, leaving their stance on these topics to our discretion. Instead, consumers believe companies should make it clear where they stand on the sociopolitical debates of the day.

Having a brand confidently rally behind a controversial topic, strikes the public that the issue has reached a tipping point of acceptance––and, in so doing, increases the rate of change. However, this type of heroic behavior doesn’t come without it’s fair share of criticism and condemnation.


Let us think for ourselves

Notable brands like Bud Light and Martha Stewart Living have taken quite a bit of backlash for making their stance on sociopolitical issues known, particularly marriage equality; even risking their conservative consumer base in the process. This type of advocacy has left many unruly consumers questioning if corporations belong in the political process or if they should leave their opinions to themselves and let consumers form their own viewpoint.


Bud Light’s Facebook ad which promoted equality.


Martha Stewart Living’s post supporting marriage equality.

While this way of thinking may have been the “norm” in the past, pro-social branding’s MO is not about maliciously interfering with politics; rather, it’s about embracing today’s cultures and diversities, encouraging citizens and consumers alike to raise their voices against the oppression of the modern day.


Pro-social branding has transformed ethics

The pro-social trend has accelerated the urgency for ethical behavior. By being more politically disruptive and inspiring than your everyday sustainable brands, pro-social brands focus on outwardly taking a stance on key sociopolitical issues––rather than focusing on what a brand has accomplished internally to drive a better world.

At Creative Haus, we applaud the brands who have so valiantly taken a stand against today’s largest moral issues. Below we dig a bit deeper into a few companies and corporations who have helped pave the way to not only becoming a sustainable brand––but a more involved and committed one.


Gender Equality

In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of gay marriage nationwide, many brands have taken this opportunity to show their support for marriage equality and gender equality in general.



Rayo Vallecano announced that the sale of their new 2015-16 away kit will be split between seven causes that aim to tackle discrimination. Each color of the team’s sash represents the support of a particular movement, while all six of the colors combined represents the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Most of us are familiar with Always’ “Like A Girl” campaign, which debuted in June of 2014 and then again as a 60-second national ad for Super Bowl XLIX. Applauded for changing the perception of the phrase ‘like a girl’, the Procter & Gamble feminine products brand aimed to do more than just bridge the gap between gender equality. With more than 80 million views worldwide, the Internet has been overwhelmed by the support, encouragement and positive impact the video has made.

If you haven’t, watch the ad below and see how you feel the next time someone utters the phrase #LikeAGirl.


As the first company in the U.S. to be certified with the EDGE (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality) global standard for workplace gender equality, L’Oréal USA was recognized for their commitment to support gender equality throughout the workplace in August of 2014. The EDGE assessment is currently the only business certification for gender equality in the workplace that is universally accepted across industries and countries.


Climate Change

Everyone’s favorite ice cream connoisseurs, Ben and Jerry’s caused quite a swirl, if you will, when they announced their “Save Our Swirled” tour in March. With an updated ice cream truck (an outfitted Tesla which stored ice cream and had an e-mail sign-up station), the team set out to help build the movement to fight climate change.

By simply tweeting at the tour’s Twitter handles, the Ben and Jerry’s team made their way around neighborhoods and offices, delivering free scoops for climate change. The Creative Haus team was lucky enough to help them with their cause. The free ice cream wasn’t half bad either!


Would you believe us if we told you that IKEA, the Swedish furniture giant, is also a leader in climate mitigation and renewable energy? In June, the company known for its ready-to-assemble furniture announced a $1.13 billion commitment to address the effects of global warming in developing countries.

“Climate change is one of the world’s biggest challenges and we need bold commitments and action to find a solution,” said Peter Agnefjäll, IKEA Group president and CEO. “That’s why we are going all in to transform our business, to ensure that it is fit for the future and we can have a positive impact. This includes going 100 percent for renewable energy, by investing in wind and solar, and converting all our lighting products to affordable LED bulbs, helping many millions of households to live a more sustainable life at home.”


Racial Justice

In light of the recent events surrounding Charleston, South Carolina the long-running controversy over the appropriateness of the Confederate flag has fallen into the spotlight. The flag, a reminder and symbol of the slaveholding South, has become the center of a national debate. So much so, that Walmart, Sears, eBay and Amazon all announced bans on the sale of Confederate flag merchandise.

In hopes to not offend consumers with the products they sell, the retailers removal of all items promoting the Confederate flag from their assortment is a step in the right direction towards racial justice.


What have we learned?

If there’s anything the pro-social brand can teach us, it’s that company’s motives are becoming more and more genuine. But this doesn’t mean that consumers won’t run into a few cases of “Causewashing” every now and then. While we would like to believe that every brand is looking out for the greater good and making a stance for/against the social issues of 2015, a business is a business (after all) and profits are generally at the forefront of every investor’s minds.

90% of Americans say that they are more likely to trust brands that back social causes. So if your brand isn’t taking part in the sociopolitical conversation, you might want to think about it.


10 Things People Hate About Your Website

We hate to break it to you but people hate your website. Okay, that may not be 100 percent true, but there are probably a few features you haven’t thought out completely, or maybe just forgot about in general. Think about it, you go and visit a website, and it isn’t mobile friendly, or it’s asking if it can login to your Facebook – we know what you’re thinking “I don’t even let my girlfriend into my Facebook, let alone some shady a** website” and you’re right, it sucks!

Leave the rookie mistakes to the amateurs and give your customers the same type of user experience you hope to receive when visiting a website. So, learn from your mistakes, find resolutions and increase your conversion rate by getting rid of the 10 reasons people hate checking you out – online that is.


1. Automatically Playing Multimedia Content When a Page Loads

We all know the feeling: You’re browsing the web and all of the sudden you’re viciously sorting through multiple tabs, trying to find the mysterious noise pouring through your headphones. There’s nothing more annoying than an autoplay ad ruining the chorus of your favorite Beyonce song, amirite?

Sure, it might seem like a good idea in theory, but 9 times out of 10 it’s probably going to frustrate users rather than engage them. Take a hint from Facebook and make your multimedia content silent until your audience decides they want to engage with it. That way, the content is still attention-grabbing, but doesn’t catch the customer off-guard.

2. Sketchy Contact Links

If your call-to-action requires people to give up a bit of their personal information, make sure your personal (contact) information is 100 percent legit. What exactly do we mean? Get rid of the ‘Contact Us’ form in lieu of contact information. While it may seem like a sure fire way to generate an opt-in email list, it’s actually one of the least valuable forms of lead generation.

If you’re dead set on incorporating a “Contact Us’ module on your site, make sure to have your telephone, fax, email, address, etc. readily available, so your customers don’t have to go on a scavenger hunt just to get ahold of you.

3. Not Including Social Buttons

Our Social Media Managers can probably attest to the fact that there is nothing more annoying than heading to someone’s site and having to hunt for links to their social profiles. Come on people! It’s 2015 and we want to stalk you on EVERY.SINGLE.PLATFORM we can get our hands on. But seriously, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are one of the best ways to establish trust and credibility with your audience. Don’t act like you’ve never visited someone’s Facebook page and weren’t impressed by thousands of likes.

4. Forced Social Logins

We said it earlier and we’ll say it again, please don’t ask us to connect with our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. And if you’re absolutely forcing us to, please don’t post every single thing we do via your website, app, what have you, on our behalf. I don’t want my mom seeing who I “connected” with on Tinder. There I said it.

5. No Mobile Version of Your Website


Image courtesy of Social Fresh.

Let’s state the obvious and say that websites that don’t translate well across all mediums are seriously annoying. Since most of the time spent on the Internet is on mobile devices, it’s no wonder users abandon your site if they can’t read anything on their tablet or smartphone. This is especially true for e-commerce sites, the likelihood of a customer completing the check-out process with a sketchy looking site on their mobile device is next to none. Optimize your site for all screens and design it with your users in mind.

6. Insane Password Requirements


Image courtesy of Meme Binge.

Strong security measures on the Internet are a good thing, don’t get us wrong. But having to include symbols, numbers, mixed cases, an emoji and the blood of our first born isn’t exactly what most of us have in mind when it comes to password restrictions. But at least that variety of characters keeps us safe, right? Wrong. Studies show that these insane password complexities may not be protecting us as much as we thought they were. Yeah, we’re looking at you LastPass.

7. SEO Driven Copy

There’s no one who knows the importance of SEO driven copy more than us. Check out our umbrella company, BrightHaus if you’re looking for a little (or a lot) of help in the search engine optimization department. When it comes to copy for your website, say no to keyword-dense content made for crawlers, not humans. Google knows what you’re up to and will penalize you for these types of activities. There’s a difference between search engine optimized content and over-optimized content. Don’t write for bots, write for humans.

8. Chat Pop-Ups

Good intentions don’t always succeed. Good business intentions definitely don’t always succeed. Interactive assistance is one of those intentions. If you’re one of those people who hates being approached by a salesperson the second you walk into a store, don’t implement a pop-up chat box on your website. The last thing you want to do is annoy a potential customer by having a chat box show up in the first 15 seconds of visiting your site. Instead, wait at least 30 seconds so that the user has enough time to take in the layout and offerings of the page before the message appears.

9. Cheesy Stock Photos

Ready to start my work for the day


Cheesy stock photos. They’re so bad, they’re good. But not for your website. Here’s what they have us asking ourselves:

Are we really supposed to believe these people work for you?

Why is everyone smiling?

Why is everyone attractive?

Why don’t I look that happy when I’m staring at my computer screen?

Am I supposed to get along with my colleagues that well?

Who knew a group presentation could be so thrilling?


These are legitimate questions that we need the answers to.

10. WTF Am I Doing Here?

The worst offender on this list is leaving people scratching their heads, questioning how they even ended up on your site and wondering what you actually offer. Most people will be able to overlook numbers 1-9 if they’re provided with clear, concise information on what your website does and what they need to do next. Include clear headline copy, easy to read page content and one clear primary call-to-action that specifically leads visitors to their next steps.

Is there anything we missed that really gets under your skin when it comes to websites? Let us know in the comment section!

Check Out My Package- Tomorrow Machine

Well-designed packaging can take a simple product and make it immaculate, awesome, and inspiring. We love design, when something is beautiful and also functional, it creates a super engaged user experience that is timeless and can often become iconic.

With our column, Check Out My Package, we highlight intelligent and inspired branding and packaging from some of our favorite designers and brands. So find inspiration, seek individuality, and most of all, don’t be boring.

smoothie_package2Images courtesy of Tomorrow Morning via Design Milk.

Based in Stockholm and Paris, we take a look at Tomorrow Machine, the Swedish design studio who devotes their talents to package, product, and food concepts. With a vision  “to build a better world through research, new technologies & intelligent material” Tomorrow Machine believes in “looking at science from a creative point of view to shape the innovations of tomorrow”.

On this weeks installment of “Check Out My Package” we’re highlighting two of our favorite projects from the Swedish design studio, “This too shall pass” and the “Sustainable expanding bowl”.

Creative designers, Hanna Billqvist and Anna Glansén, asked themselves if it was reasonable for food packing to take years to decompose naturally, when the food itself takes only weeks (most of the time). “This too shall pass” is a series of food packaging which has the same short lifespan of the foods that they contain. Designed to follow the ways of nature, the package and its contents work in symbiosis, meaning the two parts work in a mutually beneficial relationship.


Smoothie Package

Made from the gel of agar-agar seaweed and water, the smoothie package decomposes at the same rate as its contents. Created specifically for liquids that have a short lifespan and need to be refrigerated, which makes it perfect for fresh juices and smoothies. Simply pick the top, insert the straw, and get to sipping!

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Rice Package

With packing made from biodegradable beeswax, the rice package has us wondering why we haven’t utilized this method of food storage before. Open the package by peeling it like a fruit, but don’t get confused, the package is made specifically for dry goods like grains and rice.

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Oil Package

What do you get when you caramelize sugar and coat it with wax? Apparently the perfect little vessel for storing oil-based food. Not sure how to open it? Crack the package like an egg and empty out the contents. Once the material is cracked, the wax no longer protects the sugar and the package melts. How cool is that?

Tomorrow-Machine-2 Tomorrow-Machine-3


The “Sustainable Expanding Bowl” project collaboration with Innventia is a self-expanding instant food package combining different aspects of sustainability.

Not only does it save space by being compressed, the bowl is also made of a 100% biobased and biodegradable material, invented by Innventia.

Pour hot water into the package and watch the mechano-active material react to the heat and transform from a compressed package to a serving bowl.

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Handcrafted-Flight of Fancy

Handcrafted is our new series that will highlight some of the most inspiring craftsmen and women in the nation. As a creative team we draw inspiration from everywhere including our peers, and sometimes they deserve some shine.

It’s no easy feat to develop a brand that doesn’t utilize mass manufacturing as it’s faster and more cost efficient, but often sacrifices quality. These are brands that have stayed true to their ethos of developing limited edition high quality products that are made from hand and come from the heart. Welcome to Handcrafted.


This week we welcome fellow San Diego native and jewelry brand, Flight of Fancy. A design collective devoted to conscious crafting and sustainability. Gaining its humble start at local farmer’s markets, the creative duo of Damien Ducommun and Kate Connor started the brand as a means to travel.

With Ducommun’s background in leather work and Connor’s love of accessories, the collaboration they now call “Flight of Fancy” was born. Each piece of jewelry is curated using the finest sustainable materials around: hand picked gems from sustainable mines, reclaimed leather, discarded scrap metal and animal products that are 100% cruelty free.


With hopes to change and support the sustainable lifestyle movement, it is easy to see that the duo aims to create from the heart and we couldn’t be more honored to share our home turf with them.

Wondering where to find these down to earth (literally) one of a kind pieces? Say hi to the Flight of Fancy team every week at the Ocean Beach Farmers Market or head over to big name brands, Free People and Child of Wild.


To take a look at their story and most recent lookbook, visit


5 Best Apps for Channeling Your Inner Creativity

Mobile devices and tablets like the iPad and iPhone have transformed the way we overcome creative blocks. With over 1.2 million available apps there are no acceptable excuses for running out of inspiration. While it’s definitely safe to say that being a creative type can come with its challenges, we have to admit that we’re a tad bit spoiled compared to those artsy-types who came before us. Thanks to the Digital Revolution we can now immerse ourselves in entire libraries of art and culture-related distractions, all from the convenience of our smart phones.

Most of us are steadily on the hunt to find new outlets for inspiration and ways to spark creativity in our everyday life. In our obsession with doing just that, we’ve compiled the 5 best apps everyone should download for channeling your inner artist and sparking creativity.

There are so many opportunities for us to stare at our screens! Let’s take advantage of them.




1. IDEO Method Card

Free? No, $4.99

IDEO Method Cards were first released in 2003 as a printed deck of cards intended for inspiring creativity. With more than 10,000 decks in distribution, IDEO decided it was time to evolve its form and the IDEO Method Card app was born.

Use the Method Card app to connect with your team, turn a corner in your thinking and most importantly, spark your creativity!
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2. TED

Free? You bet!

Is there anything more inspiring than intriguing discussions by experts, academics and celebrities? The TED app is one of the best resources for learners of all ages. The option for offline viewing and a wealth of topics makes this app extremely user friendly. If the talks on TED don’t inspire you to go out and try something new or different, we don’t know what will.


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Free? FREE. (for 30 days) was created as a “Visual Collaboration for Creative People”. It was designed to speed up your creative process with online brainstorming and synthesis. The app allows you to reach creative solutions by visually organizing your ideas to maintain clarity while giving you the option to collaborate with your team. Think of the app as Google Drive meets Pinterest meets sticky notes.


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4. Brainsparker

Free? Yes.

Brainsparker is a free app for the iPhone and and iPad that helps you trigger new ideas, spark imagination and solve problems in your daily life, at work and with your creative projects. Use it when you’re faced with a challenge or need a boost of inspiration.


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5. Artsy

Free? Yes!

Artsy’s mission is to “make all the worlds art accessible to anyone with an Internet connection”. Bold, we know. The app features the world’s leading galleries, museum collections, artist estates, art fairs, and benefit auctions, all in one place. Similar to music sharing programs, you can search the app by artist or keywords, making it a great resource for finding new art and inspiration.


Honorable Mention:

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Free? Free. Free. Free.

While we didn’t add Instagram to the list, we did think the app deserved an honorable mention. Since it’s conception, Instagram has revolutionized the way we look at the world and share photos. We are the generation who will tell our grandchildren about a time when pictures of our food were uploaded without a filter! Thanks to Instagram we can now connect virtually with some of the world’s greatest creatives. Not only can you draw inspiration from some of the most influential figures in the industry, you can create your own following too.

5 Graphic Designers You Should Follow on Instagram

Between your friends’ minute-by minute posts and filtering through a newsfeed of selfies, cat pics and “food porn” it’s easy to get lost in the social sensation that is Instagram. Turns out, you may not have noticed some pretty interesting, funny and just down-right cool creatives who deserve a follow.

If you can’t tell, Instagram has become one of the most popular social media networks to date. With over 200 million monthly active users, the image-based platform lets users share their lives visually while simultaneously getting a sneak peek into what others are doing as well, including some of our favorite graphic designers. So, if you enjoy being inspired on the daily by awesome graphics and stunning photography, we suggest you give these leading creatives a follow. You won’t be disappointed.

1. John Contino

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Artist and designer, John Contino has nearly 31,000 followers, and it’s easy to see why. The “Real” New Yorker shares snapshots of his illustrations, collaborations, and product designs. Bonus: super cute pics of his adorable daughter.


2. Mike Kus

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With over 910,000 followers, Mike Kus is easily one of the most followed graphic designers on Instagram. The U.K. based designer and illustrator beautifully captures shots of British beaches and countryside. If you love dramatic photography, artistic shapes and geometric lines, Mike’s Instagram was made for you.


3. Brenton Clarke Little

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Self described as a “human, believer and professional daydreamer”, Brenton Clarke Little uses his Instagram to showcase dramatic shots of the outdoors. The former Visual Designer for Verizon Wireless is a must follow for photography enthusiasts.


4. Mike Perry

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A man of many talents, Mike Perry is a designer and artist working in numerous media: books, magazines, films, and newspapers. His Instagram is filled with snapshots of his work, inspirations and life in the city. Visit his website for a deeper look into the creative genius that is Mike Perry, as well as some serious graphic eye candy.


5. Hey Studio

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Based in Barcelona, Hey is a graphic design studio specializing in editorial design, brand identity and illustration. With a love for geometry, color and direct typography the brand aims to play with new ideas, push creative boundaries and develop a passion that is then injected into client’s work. Hey’s roster of big name clients includes Apple, General Electric, and The Wall Street Journal.