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Our People

Our original crew punches above weight with multiple specialties each.

(For everything else, we know a guy. Or a gal.)

Our core team is our heart and soul—three of us are original-crew, 10-year-plus lifers of Classic Ink. All of us come from a design background (although Mandy’s is architecture). We switch hats fast, finish each other’s sentences, and get shit done.

When we need someone niche-y, we rope them in—we’re known for our bead on independent professionals. Many of our favorite special agents have worked with us for years, slipping effortlessly into the team. That includes copywriters, videographers, social media mavens, SEO experts, brand strategists, trademark lawyers, user experience specialists, market researchers, grizzly befrienders, content strategists, marketing strategists, back-end developers, photographers, illustrators, and just about every other marketing nerdery out there.

We like working with good ones. That goes for our clients, our vendors, our employees, and our special agents.

Kietra Nelson
Principal + Founder

“All of our clients are taking risks somewhere. Our job is to take our clients’ ideas and streamline them into something cohesive and encapsulated—always with good design. (Damn, I love good design.) We get to see the difference it makes, the change that happens, and the relief and excitement when they watch it come together.”

“I love connecting people—it’s obsessive. I get energized when I’m talking to people about their business and I can see what we can do for them. That goes for clients, vendors, the experts we work with. Our relationships don’t end when the project does. Risk takers are the ones you keep rooting for. And we get to work with them, every day.”

Molly Bethune
Art Director + Web Designer

“I truly love what I do and I realize that many people don’t get to honestly say that. I feel lucky that I get to be creative and wear lots of hats every single day. I love that… I live for it. I can’t imagine working in a job where it’s not constantly changing. I like meeting different clients, I like taking on new projects and coming up with creative solutions, I like multitasking…I love the fast pace environment; it keeps me buzzing (although the coffee helps, too).”

“My best moments at work are when a client trusts our expertise. They hand over their baby, and it becomes OUR baby. It’s no longer just theirs, it’s a part of both of us, we both want it to succeed—and when we show them our creative vision, articulated through design work or strategy, they know they’ve been heard. That’s the best part.”

Mandy Messman
Account Manager + Project Manager

“I love the the analytical stuff; I like science and math, and it doesn’t break my heart to bust out the Pythagorean theorem if need be. But I get to be creative, too, and I dig the collaboration. One person has an idea, it sparks, bounces off someone else, and goes around the room, getting bigger and better.”

“I enjoy just listening to a client talk about their passion, distilling that down for the designer, and then watching them bring it to life. Our clients sometimes feel a little overwhelmed by their own ideas, but by the time it circulates through three or four of us and we deliver, they’re saying, “you built exactly what we had in mind; you guys just get me.”

Eric Carlson
Lead Designer

“My favorite projects are large branding projects where we get to concept a big idea, and then apply it to anything and everything we can. I love seeing how the brand morphs and changes across these different applications, creating one powerful marketing force that all works together.”

“I also like when our team is throwing ideas and concepts around in the early stages, when anything goes and everyone’s creativity is all-out, before the heads-down nitty gritty. When it is time to knuckle down, I like to zen out on extreme details—like creating perfect Bezier curves for custom typography.”