Branding & Design
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Design the User Experience

Our favorite projects are the ones that go through revisions. That may sound strange, but we love feedback and looking back through iterations, changes, and improvements. It’s the process of design—working with the client to ensure that everything is on-brand, on-message and focused on the user experience—that inspires great work. We can dream up so many options!

Through design, we learn about many different industries and subjects. From asphalt to interior design to the science of learning, design is everywhere. Working on different projects in a branding agency, designers encounter obscure knowledge that never would have come across our newsfeeds. It’s what makes working in an agency so interesting.

The breadth of work is impressive, spanning both physical and digital mediums. Projects have included website design elements, branded event packages—flyers, nametags, business cards, pop-up signs, social media posts, billboards—you name it. We recently created an animated video for a school marketing campaign, which was a unique challenge and so much easier with modern tech tools than a decade ago. We have so much more to offer clients. Of course there are also old stand-bys: catering van logos and t-shirt logos. 


At CEL, we pride ourselves on being strong interpreters and consummate problem-solvers. “I’m always impressed by our ability to problem-solve for clients,” said Kelly May, CEL Design Director. “Every project will inevitably have some sort of roadblock as we work through the process, and we’re always able to find creative, functional solutions.”

Striving to be a good interpreter means understanding what a client needs and what they’re asking. Sometimes there’s a gap between designers and clients; we may use different terminology or want to prioritize different things.  We believe it important to listen carefully and anticipate questions or challenges throughout the entire design and branding process. Problems might be small, like a lack of compelling photos or having too much copy, to a larger problem, like a single graphic being asked to meet the needs of too many audiences at once. We can work through any problem with creative solutions by keeping goals in mind. Does the design meet the needs of the audience and the goals of the client? Does it work within the brand? There’s always a solution.

Building client trust is also important to everyone at CEL. It’s easy to take an existing brand and create items that work. Once we get to know each other, understand the brand and develop goals together, that’s when we can break out of the box. When we get permission to stretch or enhance brands, that’s an indication we have a good trust level with a client. We understand what clients want, and they know we have their brand’s best interest at heart.

Design Challenge: 5K Hand-drawn custom design

Cultivating trust is vital to expanding or refreshing a brand. Working with a client like Christy McGee (Director of Communications, Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8), we’ve built a level of mutual respect and trust. We’re able to use their brand elements in creative ways, expanding color palettes and graphic assets for new uses. Most importantly, we know Christy will share honest, thoughtful feedback — and feedback is critical to the process.

Trust allowed us to create a hand-drawn, custom design for an annual community 5k run/walk, which incorporated school district colors and incorporated the mountain range from within the district logo.

Keeping the user experience in mind is always a primary goal. Designing for the community 5k was a great experience. They wanted something fresh and new, that would build excitement over the event but also communicate that it’s a part of Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8. We ended up with a design that is both functional and fun, and can be used for years to come.


People often imagine graphic design as abstract creativity and non-stop out-of-the-box thinking, but there is also a place for organization and hierarchy. In document design, useability and user experience need hierarchy. On a small scale, it’s how people move through a document to understand and interact with the content. On a larger scale, it’s how users experience a website or an event.

Even with constraints, we like to flex our creative muscles—including developing unique, hand-drawn art. Sometimes, we need cutting-edge technology, and sometimes, we start by sketching on paper. There are times when something needs the extra touch—and the extra time. Hand-drawn and unique is not easily replicable or edited. It’s better for single-use or single-purpose projects. And we love the chance to break out and create eye-catching work and push the boundaries.

Our CEL design team brings different perspectives to a project. Anna helps push us toward more abstract thinking when I need support. She excels at brainstorming and seeing things in a completely new way. Kelly knows every brand inside and out. She can pick up on small details and see how things fit into the larger body of work. She has the ability to see a brand from the thousand-foot view and then narrow in on details to ensure everything aligns with the brand. Together, different perspectives strengthen our work.

Published on: March 20, 2023