I am a self-directed and action-oriented creative director with 15 years of experience leading creative functions and teams across a wide range of industries. I am highly skilled at providing fresh, strategic, thoughtful, and elegant designs that give companies a competitive edge in the marketplace and drive results. Using prioritization, leadership, creativity, best practices, and critical thinking skills, I foster a culture of collaboration and guide creative teams to high standards of performance.
Team Leadership • Graphic Design • Typography • In-Store Marketing • Strategic Planning • Teamwork
Branding • Customer Engagement • Training & Development • Communication • Partnerships • Web Design • Merchandising • Copy Writing • Stakeholder Relations • Vendor Management • Relationship Building • Project Management • Standards/Policy Development • Target Marketing • Interviewing • Creative Vision
PROFESSIONAL LITHO ($3.4M creative services agency)
Minneapolis, MN • 2013 - 2017
- Strategic Leadership, Graphic Design, Commercial Photography, and Creative Design: Directed the Creative and Photography Departments (10 staff), leading complex creative projects across multiple departments and bringing in $1.1M (up from $650K) and $1.5M (up from $1.2M) respectively in revenue.
- Target Marketing: Worked with clients ranging from large (Polaris—recreational vehicles, Red Wing Shoes, Land O’Lakes—food, Allsteel—retail furniture, and Mosaic—mining) to small (Abdo Books, Hammer Stahl—retail cookware, Mindware—retail toys/game, and By the Yard—retail furniture).
- Integrated Marketing, Creative Conception, Merchandizing, and Collateral: Provided integrated marketing campaigns (in-store marketing, packaging, store display, point of purchase, signage, merchandising, logo design, and collateral), driving business through creative vision.
- Inspiring Teams and Team Development: Inspired production-oriented team members to learn about design, resulting in the creation of a world-class team of creative talent.
- Streamlining Process: Introduced new software programs that streamlined communication processes, producing stronger and deeper connections with partners and clients.
- Product Development and Niche Marketing: Collaborated with key sales staff, participating intensively in the creative aspects of product development and niche positioning (planning, development, design, and brand promotion) to ensure creative excellence.
MEDTRONIC ($29B medical device company)
Contracted Senior Art Director
Mounds View, MN • 2013
- Branding, Logo Design, Corporate Communications, and Creative Strategy: Oversaw development and implementation of branding, logo design, and corporate communication strategies, performing tactical assessments and analyses of target markets/clients.
- Communication: Liaised with clients, vendors, marketing consultants, and executive management, ensuring client satisfaction, timely implementation, and clear communication of status updates across teams.
- Teamwork, Creative Work, and Collateral Materials Development: Partnered with operations staff and multi-disciplinary teams on all creative aspects of product collateral development, including conception, design, and production.
CAMBRIA ($350M building materials company)
Creative Manager/Lead Photographer
Eden Prairie, MN • 2010 - 2012
- Team Leadership, Strategic Creative Development, and Brand Design: Supervised the Creative Services Department, overseeing project workflow, ensuring the consistency of design for brand style, and directing photography to be used for marketing/tradeshow materials.
- Standards Development: Designed and managed internal brand standards for corporate marketing media, rapidly synthesizing information, managing complexity, and eliminating brand inconsistency.
- Internal Process Development: Created requisition processes that kept the marketing/communications and creative services teams informed.
- Relationship Building: Cultivated strong relationships with stakeholders, resulting in influential connections and the delivery of marketing/branding solutions that achieved desired outcomes.
BEST BUY ($39B electronics company)
Senior Art Director
Richfield, MN • 2008 - 2010
- Project Management and Creative Professionals: Directed a 6-person, in-house creative team (art directors, copywriters, production artists, and freelancers) on creative projects, providing clear, timely, and actionable feedback.
- Brand Identity: Created and maintained the core Best Buy and Geek Squad brand identity and styles for print, web, and video, delivering a strong, unique brand identity that drew in customers.
- Business Concept Development, Design Strategy, and Standards Compliance: Managed internal project teams, ensuring store business concept, design strategy, and brand identity were implemented according to company standards.
- Creative Visualization, Creative Content Production, and Vendor Management: Led the creative concept and review for national and Spanish insert pages, resolving design issues and certifying that vendors adhered to brand requirements.
- In-store Marketing: Coordinated in-store marketing, approving creative design language, system, seasonal work, prototypes, and category concepts.
- Executive-level Communication: Presented in-store marketing and store experience concepts to key stakeholders, articulating and selling creative ideas to non-creative leadership.
- Brand Management: Developed a brand identity manual, revising standards from 14 pages into a comprehensive 63 pages. The manual outlined brand usage across all print and digital media.
- Presentations and Partnerships: Presented the strategy and logic behind the Best Buy brand identity standards to stakeholders, ensuring that agency partners were in sync with the company’s new policy.
OPTUM HEALTH (affiliate of UnitedHealth Group)
Implementation Project Manager
Golden Valley, MN • 2007 - 2008
- Supervisory Skills: Managed team of 2, ensuring on-time project completion.
- Creative Concept Design and Branding: Worked with sales team to help develop creative for the products they sold, ensuring brand alignment.
- Customer Engagement: Collaborated with customers, channel partners, vendors, and internal stakeholders, fostering win-win relationships.
THOMSON REUTERS ($11B media and information firm)
Eagan, MN • 2005 - 2007
- Targeted Advertising, Graphic Design, Logo Design, Web Design, and Direct Mail: Created ads, brochures, posters, trade show graphics, logos, web graphics, and direct mail.
- Vendor Management: Managed vendors for print, web, and photography assignments.
- Training & Development: Developed and led the Creative Services Department’s internship program, identifying and training top creative talent who later transitioned into full-time roles.
PARK TOOL COMPANY (privately owned bicycle tool company)
Art Director/Staff Photographer
St. Paul, MN • 2004 - 2005
GREENSPRING MEDIA (publication company)
Minneapolis, MN • 2002 - 2004
University of Minnesota
B.S Graphic Design
Minor in Photography
- Technical Skills: Mac; Microsoft Office Suite; Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat, Lightroom, and Premiere; Final Cut Pro; Dreamweaver; HTML; Basecamp; and Rhino
- Honor: Selected as a judge for the Minnesota Magazine & Publishing Association Awards, 2011–2012.
- Awards: Gold winner for cover design, silver winner for feature design, and bronze winner for spread design, Minnesota Magazine & Publishing Association, 2003 and 2004
- Volunteerism: Volunteer firefighter for the City of Carver, 2017–present; graphic design mentor for the University of Minnesota Design School, 2010–present
From LouAnn Haaf - Creative Director at Cambria
"I had the pleasure of working with Matt as his Creative Director at Cambria. He strives to excel at every level of every project that is assigned to him. From project management to design and the grinding tasks included in bringing a project to completion with the details that make it shine - Matt is without a doubt, the guy that will get it done. And done on time.”
From Laura Oaks - Marketing Manager at Cambria
"Matt is a true leader, capable of managing both time-sensitive projects and the people needed to get them done. He's a strong, effective communicator with exceptional attention to detail every step of the way."
From Hal Olson - Marketing Manager at Davisco
"Matt was relentless at getting the perfect photograph to convey accurate marketing messaging. Down to the very last detail, Matt ensured to get the best possible shot and was always willing to give creative insight and direction. He has a professional demeanor, as well as a highly intuitive ability to drive creative development. I would highly recommend Matt’s photography for any marketing imagery or creative initiative."
From Jodi Hoffman - Design Manger at Best Buy
"Matt is a creative with an incredible sense of style and vision. He has a sensibility and drive to design solutions that meet client objectives. Matt’s commitment to great design, his ability to grasp marketing strategy, and his aptitude for ideating with minimal direction allow him to be successful in any environment. His attention to detail and passion for the brand are two of Matt’s top strengths”
From John Duff - Copywriter at Best Buy
"I enjoyed working with Matt immensely. I told him years ago, he is a mover and a shaker, because he is a guy who gets things done and invigorates those around him with unique ideas and excitement. He has a very keen eye and a sixth sense when it comes to branding. When working on a project together, Matt has a way of getting the best work out of all parties involved; at the same time, he is always open to suggestions and input that make the final product as good as it can be. In and out of work, he is never to busy too help with whatever you need. Matt is also an incredible bowler and a great guy all around. I would give him my endorsement every time."