Greeted with an explosion of color when entering their website, creating cool stuff is what Mimo.design does. Based out of Canada, this marketing and design firm has a strong expertise in branding (including corporate identity, product packaging, website and app design, and marketing materials), content creation, and digital marketing.
Mimo’s mission? To help clients create strong brands and products that are creative, engaging, and fun.
Having worked with high-exposure brands like Walmart, Volkswagen, and Coca-Cola, it comes as no surprise that Mimo has been in business for over 15 years. Their attention to detail, quality, and craft brings a bold and unique offering to their clients, which keeps them coming back for more.
“One of the hardest parts of starting a creative business is building new and consistent relationships with clients,” said Michael Kirlew, owner and founder of Mimo. “From getting your first customer, to keeping them coming back, is something that takes time. Our key to success has been quality. Both in the service we provide and the work we produce, quality is always at the top of the list. It impresses your clients. It keeps them coming back. And more importantly, it generates organics referrals. As you grow your business, you start to create a reputation, and that reputation is what starts a snowball effect of new business.”
As the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and Mimo.design has experienced those growing pains alongside the ebbs and flows of global economic struggles throughout the course of their business.
“After operating our business for almost 15 years, the most challenging part in our journey has been the most recent Covid Pandemic. We initially saw a huge drop-off in business as most of our clients pressed paused on their own companies.
“As doors began to open back up and companies started to re-engage with the world, we questioned if our business would ever go back to the heights of success we achieved prior. Will our clients still be around? If so, would they continue to see value in what we do? Do we have to start all over again and rebuild a new client base? Those questions were constantly in our minds.
“But believing in the quality of work we produce and the reputation we have created, we did see our clients come back. And surprisingly, they also brought their friends. Knowing that our clients continued to return and even referred other companies to do so as well, showed just how valuable we were and validated to us that “yeah, we’ve got this”.”
Having run such a successful design company for so long, we had to know Mimo’s secret. Their advice? Don’t skimp on quality.
“People pay for quality. Don’t undervalue what you do, but don’t overvalue it either. Find that balance and always produce the best work you can. Your talent will attract clients. The relationships you build will keep them.”
Our fascination with Mimo.design’s website starts before you even enter the page; with their long-term success and high-exposure clients, what attracts individuals to go to their website to begin with starts with their unique domain name. So we had to know – why .design?
“.COM domains are hard to come by these days and usually the only want to get one is to make some long elaborate domain name. Most companies are starting to use different domains which are more personable, and also explain your business – that’s one of the best reasons we transitioned over to a .design domain. Ditch the long complicated .coms and go for a more purpose-driven domain like .design.
“MiMo.design is a domain we love. It represents everything we are. It’s purposeful, creative, simple, and easy to understand. Choosing to use .design rather than more traditional methods makes us standout, hints at our ability to creatively think outside the box, and shows a bit of fun while we’re at. I wouldn’t change it for anything else!”
A jack-of-all-industries, master of design: Becca Smith showcases her talent on her personal portfolio and freelance design website, Becca Smith Design Co (BeccaSmith.design). With experience working in politics, fashion, non-profits, and more, Becca Smith brings a fresh breath of talent to her website with a unique layout and extraordinary use cases.
“My mission is to create strong and immersive brand experiences for new companies and their clients alike,” says Becca. “I love to look at design as an opportunity to build another world and explore what that means for each unique client of mine.”
Alongside showcasing her work, Becca uses her website to gain more business opportunities by offering branding packages. By evaluating a client’s challenges, growth goals, community, and unique solutions, Becca will cultivate a complete brand package with guidelines, launch plan for social and advertising, and ongoing consulting which can include marketing insights and even help naming the brand!
“My proudest moment? I made a client cry during a concept presentation (Tears of joy, of course)! It was such a great full-circle moment where they were able to see their idea come to life and represented in a way that was beyond their expectations. In that moment I immediately knew I was off to a great start.”
Becca brands herself as not just a graphic and brand designer, but also a digital illustrator, consultant, and “great dinner guest.” Based out of Chicago, she’s currently focusing on brand design and packaging, and loves to look at design as an opportunity to explore what it means to create a world through design.
With her wide experience in multiple markets, you’d think that Becca has it made in the design industry. She’s not without her struggles, however. Becca tells us that one of the largest obstacles in her world is being taken seriously as a business owner.
“One of the biggest struggles of being a one woman business is knowing how to represent yourself so others take you seriously and respect your work. This means networking, choosing the right projects (and sometimes saying no), figuring out your rate, and so much more! It’s tough, but fun to explore!”
For designers looking to get their start at becoming a full-time freelance design, Becca says to intuition is the key to success:
“Follow your instincts and advocate for your work! Clients will occasionally forget that *you’re* the expert in design, just as they are with their product, and want to have a bigger input in how something looks than they should. Stick to your guns and come with research on why you believe something will work and push it.”
With such a stunning website and clear success track record, we had to know why Becca chose a dot-design domain for her website.
“My name is pretty common; I love that the .design tells you more about me and what you’re about to experience. It’s unique, like my work and take on design, and also feels futuristic and modern! In my line of work, it’s important to stay on top of trends, and this definitely feels like the direction in which the internet is moving!”
“For others looking to set up their website, join the dot-design club! It’s a fun community and feels forward thinking. It gives your portfolio or website a bit of an edge and a unique quality, especially when there’s more options than ever on the web. Plus – it’s more memorable!”
Your project: their passion. 9Lives.design is an award-winning agency specializing in web design and branding based out of Northern Canada, and they’re making a big impact on the way small businesses present themselves online.
Founded in 2015 by Dave Nighborn, 9 Lives Design won the award for Northern Ontario Company of the Year in 2018.
“Our mission is to design memorable websites and corporate brands that are beautiful and a joy to use.”
Since their inception, 9 Lives has done just that. Having developed websites for key clients like the North Bay Police and Remedy Developments, each website is unique, exciting, and user-friendly, truly showing that 9 Lives practices what they preach.
“Our biggest obstacle was building trust in our community,” said Dave. “Companies want to work with established agencies so it took time to produce enough design for prospective clients to feel comfortable investing in our work.”
9 Lives Design does more than just web development; they are also masters in logo design and corporate branding, as well as creating branded assets and digital art.
“We won Northern Ontario Business of the Year in 2018 for the 1-15 employee category—only 3 years after incorporating. We won this award by having a great balance of doing high profile projects while giving back to the community.”
9 Lives is run and managed by Dave, founder and Creative Director, and his wife Jade. The small-but-mighty team pours their efforts into both educating their clients on marketing technology, as well as making their community a better – and easier – place to live.
“Doing high-quality work and keeping your promise to clients is all that matters to continue getting more projects. Word of mouth is better than any advertising money can buy.”
As someone who makes their living off of creating websites for others, it comes as no surprise that 9 Lives needed to make sure their website made a lasting impression. Enter: the dot-design domain.
“The .design domain is unique, and you’ll stand out from everyone else,” Dave comments. “9 Lives Design is the company name so it’s the shortest possible domain. It is a descriptive and explicit TLD compared to the ambiguous .com or .net.”
For more information on Dave and 9 Lives Design, check out their website at 9Lives.Design.
If you’re looking for a fun and fresh approach to building your ePortfolio, look no further than JamieSterner.Design.
Jamie Sterner, a recent Communication Design grad from Kutztown University, works as an in-house Graphic Designer for a ballet company – and has worked on projects like website imagery, ads, and merchandise. Jamie also has experience making digital ads, out-of-home ads like billboards and posters, and experience in product and packaging design, as well as logo creation.
“When I got my first job out of college, the one I have now, everyone remembered my logo and would bring it up sometimes because they loved it. I’m only deciding to change it because it sometimes adds confusion to what I actually do.”
While Jamie is new to the design world, she’s not without her obstacles and challenges. Graduating in the middle of the pandemic, alongside learning how to build websites, have been some of her biggest challenges.
“I use JamieSterner.Design as my portfolio website, so it’s to help me show people my work and then eventually get my dream job someday,” said Jamie. “I made this website in my portfolio class in college and I coded it from scratch. Since coding wasn’t my main focus it was difficult for a while, but one night it all just clicked and I finished it. I’m planning on rebranding so I’ll have to do most of those things all over again. We’ll just see how it goes.”
Jamie’s portfolio is creatively categorized by a description of herself: “She’s Educated” focuses on her work while in school, “She’s Professional” shows off her real-work experience, and “She’s Passionate” covers her life outside of design – like acrylic painting and crochet.
Jamie also made a unique ‘visual portfolio’ which she labeled “Designer Pancakes:” a recipe to what Jamie believes are the most important elements she incorporates into her designs.
“Coding your website yourself may be a pain sometimes, but it’s better in the end,” said Jamie. “You’ll know every little detail about your website, it’ll be organized in a way that you understand, and it will be easier to edit in the future. If you do it yourself, it just adds that much more personality to your space.”
What brings Jamie’s ePortfolio all together is her great URL, which is short, memorable, and easy-to-spell; all important elements that can be hard to find with a traditional dot-com, but are widely available with dot-design.
“I am a graphic designer and the dot-design domain was suggested in class. It sounded so much better than just a .com website. It just really puts it out there that I am a designer before anyone even goes to my website. A website that ends in .com could really be anything; there are less surprises with the .design domain.”
As a final piece of advice for other young designers looking to make their mark, Jamie says, “If it makes sense to you and for you, then do it!”
Based in Venice, Italy, Paolo Fontana has developed product designs for companies all over the world.
Paolo Fontana, owner of PaoloFontana.Design, works within the fields of visual identity, product design, and environmental graphics. Paolo’s impressive portfolio ranges from designing hydroponic structures to wine and spirits product design to branding and exhibition design for museums. Holding titles like Creative Director and Art Director, it comes as no surprise that Paolo’s work is clean, crisp, and extremely professional.
“My job is to deal with the aesthetics of things related to their functionality,” said Paolo, when asked about his brand mission. In turn, Paolo’s brand mission has helped him achieve his proudest moments – of which he says that his proudest moment as a designer has been the various projects he’s worked on.
“Designing something few people are lucky enough to work on, like the interior of an airliner, or the recent launch of an item that didn’t exist, like a coffee cup that replaces paper cups!”
Paolo said his work on the ATR 72-500 Airplane included developing functional style and design concepts for the airplane’s cabin. This involved intensive creative research, style design, renderings, and mock-ups, which ultimately led to the finished product which currently retails for over $14.4M USD.
Other work of Paolo’s, like the hydroponic structure, included product design, prototyping, and final digital drawings. Paolo has also worked for companies like Piandimare wines, where he developed the visual identity and label design for their Montepulciano d’Abruzzo lineup.
“My biggest obstacle has been to build a rich and explicative portfolio of my style in order to intercept the right client with whom to build interesting projects.”
While actually building his portfolio may have been a challenge, the completed product is worth exploring: with over 50 different projects showcasing Paolo’s work, all on a dot-design domain.
“Dot Design is more than a .com, it goes beyond a country,” says Paolo. “Today it’s necessary to be very specific in communicating immediately what you love to do – that’s why I chose a .design domain.”
For those designers who are looking to find motivation and inspiration to start their own online design business, or even showcase their work online like PaoloFontana.design, Paolo says that having fun is the most important thing to do.
“Having fun while working is without a doubt the mantra I’ve always repeated to myself, I guess sometimes I should have had just a little less fun so as not to waste some of the effort put in.”
For more information on Paolo Fontana and his work, check out any of the medias below:
Historically, racial representation in the design vocation – and in representation of the designs themselves – has been largely homogenous. And while larger corporations like LinkedIn and Google have recently started working to fix the narrative by showcasing a diverse range of individuals in their designs, More can be done to truly showcase the melting pot that makes up design. Enter: DXD.design.
Diversify by Design, or DxD, is a coalition that was launched in New York City in 2021 by stakeholders spanning the corporate, agency, nonprofit, education, and design sectors to catalyze racial equity and justice in the design profession. DxD identifies and scales best practices for cross-sector collaboration for widespread adoption. By diversifying the design ecosystem from the ground up, the resulting impact on the way systems, products, services, experiences, and communications are designed has the potential to change the world. Today, DXD has sixteen individuals on their advisory board and has large partners such as Amazon, Delta Dental, and the Creative Reaction Lab.
DXD works to bring racial equality in design across the board, however the majority of their initiatives focuses on youth initiatives, where they have developed five inter-connected priorities: Youth Exposure, Education, Experience, Employment, and Empowerment. DXD also launched “DXD Intensives,” which connects historically excluded students with industry mentors through a pilot with San Francisco State University (SFSU) and Delta Dental. Future plans for the SFSU x Delta Dental collaboration will include expansion to other industry/education partnerships.
While DXD is young, they are mighty. We asked Andrea, DXD representative what some of their proudest moments have been since inception, and the moments are too many to count:
“There are many – establishing an Advisory Council comprised of 16 subject matter and community experts to set priorities for the coalition; activating working groups with focused efforts across those critical, interconnected priorities; engaging 17 partner organizations in the nonprofit, education, association, agency, and corporate sectors to help the coalition catalyze measurable change are just a few,” commented Andrea. “We also launched Design= with designExplorr and Amazon, which has already delivered workshops introducing design to more than 400 historically excluded middle- and high-school youth since its launch in October 2021 and is expanding this year.”
DXD’s advice to others who are looking to start their own business or nonprofit is “Research, research, research. Talk to the people with the lived experiences or you will never effect measurable social impact. It’s our credo at Impact Collaborative (the managing entity of DxD).”
Starting a coalition in 2021 – at the height of the Covid pandemic – was no easy feat, but the individuals who founded DXD made it work. In order to start their business, they knew they needed a short and savvy URL to help them promote their brand.
“We chose .design for our domain because DXD is entirely focused on equity and justice in the design community and profession.”
Logging in to AndrewAshton.design is like taking a step back in time: complete with retro font, graphics, and black-and-white tones, AndrewAshton.design serves as Andrew Ashton’s personal online portfolio. In one word, Andrew Ashton describes his designs as “funky.”
Located in Texas, Andrew created his online portfolio as part of his senior project at University of North Texas, which Andrew was able to use to turn around and use to help him score his first design job out of college as a Visual Designer.
“I strive to create memorable and impactful experiences through visual communication design,” says Andrew. “Through a curated mix of branding, photography, illustration, animation and user experience design, I am able to assist others in translating their ideas and messages into a visual medium.”
Andrew’s work in design won him the Best Senior Portfolio at the 2021 DSVC National Student Show, as well as having been featured in the 2021 edition of the GRAPHIS New Talent Annual. Andrew considers himself an expert in UX/UI, Motion, and Web design, as well as graphics and photography, which can be seen throughout his portfolio through different rebrand concepts, his Tarot Noir product conception, and throughout the website itself.
“As a college graduate in the age of COVID, I’ve had to rely more on social media and internet based tools to get my name out in lieu of real-life interactions,” Andrew said when asked about his biggest obstacles as a designer who’s trying to get his start.
Andrew says winning the Best Senior Portfolio award has been his proudest moment as a designer so far. “It was a really cool moment because it made me realize how much potential I have as a creator and kickstarted my motivation to build my brand.”
When it came time to put Andrew’s portfolio together, he knew he needed to pick a URL that was memorable and relevant to his industry, and his personal goals. With Andrew’s wide skill set, it came as no surprise that chose dot-design for his domain.
“As a graphic designer by trade, I loved how cleanly “andrewashton.design” rolled off the tongue. Just short, sweet, and straight to the point. If you’re looking for something with a little more flair than .com, go for it!”
For other students looking to get their start, Andrew says to go ahead and ‘take the leap.’
“Nothing bad will come from taking advantage of new opportunities but you can always regret the leaps you don’t take.”
Interested in learning more about Andrew Ashton? Check out his website and social media channels at any of the links below:
Nestled in the Bronx borough of New York City, three partners are making a big impact.
Introducing Arcanhex.Design: owned and operated by Wellington Arcangel (web designer), Alan Arcangel (graphic designer), and Joshua Castro (marketing expert), the three individuals make up a trending digital marketing business geared towards helping small businesses get themselves online.
Arcanhex Design offers custom websites, logo creation, Google and Facebook ads creation and management, content marketing and SEO, and custom Shopify ecommerce solutions, all for an affordable price. Having worked with companies like Mora Corp, Weal Marketing, and Hero Company, Arcanhex increases their client’s online engagement results by an average of 50%, and increases sales leads on average by 45%.
“Our mission is to give small businesses an online platform and bring more exposure and visibility to online and offline brands,” says the trio.
“At first, the biggest struggle was getting clients to trust your expertise and prove you are the right person for the job,” says Wellington, when we asked him about the business. “But when past clients approach me and tell me how I’ve helped their brands reach more people and helped their businesses grow, that for me are some of my proudest moments.”
Creating your own design company can be a scary first step. Wellington’s advice to any designer looking to start their own business is, “to discipline yourself. Just focus on learning one thing and be the best on that one thing.”
As masters of online marketing and design, Arcanhex knew they needed a killer domain name to make themselves memorable and relevant in their industry. It comes as no surprise that Arcanhex used dot-design as their domain name.
“I chose .design because my business name ends with “design,” and it fit so well I couldn’t pass the opportunity. I would anyone that if they want an original and creative domain name, they should pick .design.”
To learn more about Arcanhex Design, check out their website or follow them on social media via the links below:
There’s a lot of decisions to make when it comes to selecting your wedding bands. For some, metal allergies can take a toll. For others, having something environmentally friendly and ethically-sourced is key. If these factors are impacting your wedding ring shopping decision, or if you’re just trying to find something unique, look no further than OddwoodDesign.
Shawn, owner of Oddwood.design, discovered his passion for creating bentwood-style rings while living in Portugal to propose to his then-girlfriend (now wife). Using an old piece of flooring, a knife, sandpaper, a tiny chisel, and tons of elbow grease, Shawn made the engagement ring and fell in love with the process.
Using a wide array of materials, such as Damascus steel, Purpleheart wood, and even crystalized dinosaur bone, Shawn’s designs are anything but odd. Rated as a Star Seller on Etsy, Shawn’s shop includes his-and-her designs, rings inspired by comic books, and even Hawaiian-inspired designs. Now settled in Canada, Shawn ships his rings worldwide.
“All my products are handmade by me,” says Shawn. “From bending the wood, cutting Damascus steel to packaging. I have spent uncountable hours studying, experimenting, and practicing different techniques to make sure I deliver the highest quality, water-resistant and durable products for my customers.”
There’s lots of reasons why an individual would want to opt for a wooden ring, rather than the traditional gold or silver. On top of being environmentally friendly and cruelty-free, Bentwood-style rings are hypoallergenic, are more resistant to scratches or breakage, and are completely one-of-a-kind.
“My big dream would be to be able to continue to create rings of all sorts for people all around the world. I like using super exotic materials and would love to keep creating things unique for every customer, no matter how odd the request.”
Starting your own business can be scary, especially when you’re entering the large industry that is the wedding ring business where there’s lots of big-box players.
“The biggest struggle was definitely to learn the different algorithms to help propel my store all over the internet,” said Shawn. “The more I learned, the more layers I found that needed to be addressed. It’s an ongoing learning process, but a very interesting one.”
Once Shawn was able to overcome his obstacles, he found great success, and says that every moment of running his business makes him proud.
“I started this myself, on my own, and I get to keep learning everyday. I am proud of where my small business has brought me so far, and where it is going. I get to work on my own terms and hours, which allows me to spend more time with my 7-month-old son and wife. To me, that’s success.”
We asked Shawn why he loves his .design domain, and for him, the answer was simple:
“I found that having this as my domain looked cleaner and more professional than “.com” did. The name of my business also has “Design” as a last word, so it worked perfectly for me.”
For other designers who are looking to start their own business or side hustle, Shawn says “Do it! Why do like everybody else when you have sweet options?”
To check out Shawn’s creations, follow OddWoodDesign at any of the medias below:
Beata Csaka loves to look for the beauty in everything. It’s what led her to become the multi-disciplinary artist that she is today.
As a young designer based in Romania, she has created a personal brand that really makes her stand out – online and off. Through both web-based and real-world projects, Beata is building her business everywhere.
Specializing in product, graphic, and interior design, Beata needed a central spot where she could showcase all of her diverse projects in one beautiful place. Enter beatacsaka.design, her online portfolio that is built to let her work shine. “My website is a visual journey through some of my design projects,” she told us. “It aims to be a space for creating and cultivating my design vision through aesthetic appreciation.”
Beata has designed her site to really let her work do the talking. When you first arrive to beatacsaka.design, you are met with a simple white header that features only her logo and a small menu, highlighting her love for minimalism. But just below the fold you are met with a stunning array of her work that beautifully conveys her mission to “explore function through the perspective of aesthetics by building beautiful experiences, products, and visual narratives.”
Using a .design domain name also helps to convey her brand mission and identity before someone even clicks on her website. “It represents what I do,” she told us. “Plus, I think it’s cool! Some of the other choices out there are too mainstream and outdated.”
Since design itself is varied and comes in an array of forms and disciplines, being able to showcase her multiple projects in a visually appealing way is paramount. In particular, she knows that it is key to establishing why she is an expert in her field when approached by new clients. “Living in a country where people really don’t have any idea what a designer is or does, it can be hard to create something outstanding that your client approves of,” she told us. “At the same time, I also need to educate them about my role and aesthetic values.” Being able to show those values through beatacsaka.design makes that education process much easier.
If you’re a young designer looking to get started, get inspired by Beata’s website, which also includes some of her pitch decks to clients.
For Beata, starting her own business has been a journey years in the making. She launched her freelance business after obtaining both her BA and MA degrees in Art and Design but, as she reminds us, it’s not just a business: “I am very proud of launching my own product and brand.”
Indeed, being able to brand yourself is more important than ever. Starting with a beautiful online presence like Beata’s, it is easy to let your work precede you. With all of her bona fides, she was the perfect person to ask for advice on how to build up your personal brand: “Ask questions. Don’t be scared to make mistakes. And don’t forget to keep your creative eyes open – inspiration comes from unexpected places.”
Inspiration might come from unexpected places, but we know where to find it – at beatacsaka.design.