Research Philosophy

Maintaining a professional practice is crucial to staying abreast of the latest trends in the animation and design worlds. I have been a working designer for over twenty years, working in everything from prepress departments at print shops to art directions in agencies to being the creative director on an in-house team to freelancing on the side. In 2019, after leaving my in-house creative director role of eight years, my wife and I formed a small design studio called Ildis. At Ildis, we work with companies locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. Our clients range from small mom-and-pop shops to large multinational corporations. By working in various settings, including being self-employed, I have honed my communications skills and learned how to adapt and communicate with people across the professional spectrum.

Because of the wide variety of professional roles I have held and running my own business, I have had the opportunity to create a broad array of work while building relationships within the industry. I have made complete branding systems, designed marketing materials for use in a variety of industries, created social media campaigns, traditional and digital advertising campaigns, designed and developed websites, animated video components, and explainer videos, designed key art for video games, illustrated icons, and designed executive summaries and annual reports. All while maintaining the client’s budget and adapting to the scope of work that the clients demand.

By working within strict budgets and parameters for the scope of work, I have had to develop creative solutions that meet the clients’ needs without breaking the bank. These opportunities have allowed me to problem-solve creatively and think critically within constraints. Each client and project comes with its own specific set of challenges. By communicating and planning with the client, we can create a successful partnership that lets to work that effectively communicates the client’s needs.

Like any successful creative business, I have to develop relationships with new and potential clients while maintaining and growing my relationships with existing clients. By establishing open communication plans with both new and existing clients, we can grow Ildis, and through that growth, we can create new business opportunities from word of mouth. As a business, Ildis has been fortunate to develop several long-term relationships, many of whom were freelance clients before we transitioned to running our agency full-time. Most Ildis’ clients come from relationships we have built within the industry over the past 20 years, including relationships with former employers and vendors we have worked with throughout our careers. Several of our clients have come directly through relationships we have built and nurtured through the professional organizations I have been involved with and conferences I have spoken at and attended.

Through my work, I have had the opportunity to emcee, speak, and moderate panels at several events like Creative South, Weapons of Mass Creation Fest, University and College Designers Association (UCDA), and DesignXL, Society of Marketing Professional Services (SMPS), and Design Week Tallahassee. I have been fortunate enough to present several guest lectures to classes at the University of South Alabama and Springhill College.