I love making sense of businesses, brands & websites.
I’m Sarah Johnson. Through creative partnerships with my clients, I help businesses 1) show authentic personality and soul and 2) get measurable results by developing strategic branding and websites.
What do I mean by creative partnerships?
I love design. It has the power to create a feeling or mood, to clearly communicate an idea, and a lot of other amazing things. When done strategically, in partnership with one another, it can do some heavy lifting for your business. I also love synergy. The creative energy that happens when passionate people (you loving what you do, and me loving what I do) come together to solve problems and uncover the way to inspire your clients (and you too).
Overwhelm, be gone!
It’s impossible to do everything—and that’s okay. What are your specific goals? I’ll help you figure out what we can do to make the most impact. The best way to tackle overwhelm is to create a plan…and that’s one of my specialties! Let me dig in with you, we’ll find a solution that works.
What I bring to the table
- 15+ years’ experience as a designer, art director and interactive/web designer (for tech start-up, advertising, large retail, small-medium businesses), and freelance business owner. View my resume (PDF).
- Tech-savviness. I use CSS, HTML basics, web standards/best practices, content management systems. I’ve worked seamlessly with production teams, and now I work with a front-end developer to set up and manage custom WordPress websites.
- BFA in Graphic Design from Brigham Young University
Why small to medium-sized businesses?
It has been exciting to work with global brands. But, I love the deeper involvement through the whole process that is possible with small to medium size businesses. The challenge of creating something that will help a client is energizing and meaningful to me. To sum it up, I love great design and working with great people.
Craft: an art and a science
Recently I visited the Faribault Woolen Mill, located in southern Minnesota, just an hour from the Twin Cities where I live. It’s the last mill in the U.S. that does beginning-to-end production. With 21 steps to make a wool blanket, every meticulously-crafted step includes passion, detail and quality control. At the end, they promise a blanket that will last generations. The blankets really do last forever, they are beautiful. The experience of being there was inspiring—witnessing 150 years of product history, and the obvious care that went into everything they did. It was the perfect melding of art, science, and handcraft—and it really resonated with me.
In my work, I care about all the details of a project, and strive to craft something that will highlight what you do in the best possible way.
If you know your business—and the direction you want to go— I can help you get there. We’d be a good fit if:
- You’re ready to invest in your business, and excited to wave goodbye to the mindset of “just getting by”
- You care about being authentic and conveying quality
- You have an idea about what your clients really want/need
- You’re open to putting some time into discovering or re-imagining your brand
- Since your brand and website are how people will experience your business, you want to make that experience a really good one
- You need a creative partner who can help you elevate and clarify your brand
I love my work, but I love my family the most. Since my children are young, I spend afternoons with them and schedule meetings during designated weekday times. I work on projects in the evenings, and take on just a few at a time. Generally I don’t do “rush work”; I work on thoughtful timelines that allow for the best outcomes.
I‘m into researching. When I’m working on a project, I dig-for-details like mad until a clear solution emerges. They say the fodder for all good ideas starts with research—and I’m happy doing that work for you. Tell me your goals, your insights—then turn over the exploration to me.
Openness & collaboration
To me, honesty, thoughtfulness and respect are the foundation of a good working relationship. I value a space where we can both express our thoughts and opinions openly. I’m for partnerships, not hierarchies. Authentic brands have heart and soul, they create connections and move people. Uncovering this place-of-connection requires candidness. Did you ever go to a sleepover as a kid? It’s like once the pajamas go on & the retainers go in, things get real. I want to know the real you, and your real business.
I’m not a decorative designer. In fact, I have to know why I’m doing something (the answer is almost never, “just make it pretty.”) I love to gather ideas, consider many perspectives and make a plan. All of this leads to something better in the end.
I crave simplicity. I’m happy when I’m in simple spaces—physical or digital. Simplicity can be the ultimate in sophistication—because while it may look easy, it comes from a process of distilling to make it impactful. I help you focus your ideas and goals to make something that’s clean, understandable and connective.
I like working with people, and I genuinely care about helping. Being present in the moment and having a thankful heart makes a big difference in how I feel. Whether I’m making pancakes with my kids or doing a project for a client, I want to be all in, and focusing on the good stuff.
Coach for creatives
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