Shelby Clarke

Shelby Clarke

For the last two years, I have worked as a graphic designer here at Quintain, creating both digital and print graphics for our clients. Much of my work focuses on designing content for the web, including eBooks, whitepapers, case studies and infographics. Not one to be content wearing a single hat, my skills also extend into photography, web design, and audio and video editing.

I graduated top of my class — summa cum laude — with a B.A. in visual arts and a concentration in graphic design from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. I am an alumna of the UMBC Honors College academic community, which allowed me to break through my little art bubble and to study less-relevant, but equally-intriguing, subjects while at school, such as chivalry in medieval literature.

Having previously worked as a print production designer at the UMBC Design and Print Center, I have a firm comprehension of how to create digital artwork that translates well into tangible, printed products. I understand that digital and print design are two vastly different, yet connected, worlds and know how important it is to cater a design to the realm in which it lives.

On my own time, I create fun designs for my personal website and blog. I also like to experiment with traditional art media, like papercraft and inking. When I’m not busy designing, I love to spend my time baking, solving jigsaw puzzles, kayaking and swimming, and getting lost in a good book or video game. I also appreciate the power of a good nap.

Always working to learn and expand my skills, I currently hold all seven HubSpot certifications.

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Recent Posts

A few months ago, I posted a question to, asking users to tell me how they would rate their own company's logo, on a scale of one to 10, and why. The responses were all very positive, each a rating of nine or even 10, and I enjoyed reading the reasons behind the ratings, all of which were varied and completely subjective. 

But it got us thinking. What is it that really makes a logo so great?

How can you, someone in charge of your company's branding, make sure that your logo and other brand elements aren't outdated or missing the mark?

In this week's episode, Liz and I explore the way people critique their own brands, and how they reach out to others for feedback as well. Ultimately, we find there is a balance between you taking charge of your brand, as someone who truly knows their own business, versus bringing other knowledgeable stakeholders into the discussion to really make sure your logo and brand are achieving the goals they were designed for.

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The topic of cheap logo design, or low-cost design work in general, is one that quickly causes riots to break out in the design community. Keyboards sailing through the air, potted succulents shattered on the floor. Designer anarchy.

Or, at the very least, passive-aggressive comment chains on social media.

But what are the reasons business owners turn to cheaper design options in the first place? More importantly, what do you stand to lose by going with a cheap design, and what might you gain?

I will always be an advocate for good, labor-intensive creative work, but the prevalence of cheap, quick design work can't be denied.

In this episode of the Creator's Block podcast, Liz and I walk the line between these two extremes and dive into the positives and negatives of "low-rent" logo design, and what they mean for the people who write the checks.

We also talk about what business owners truly miss out on by not being involved enough in the logo design process, or by overlooking what is essentially the cornerstone of their entire visual brand.

In the end we came to a similar, simple conclusion: You get what you pay for.

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“Design Is Not Art.”

That’s what the title read, displayed in big, bold letters on a screen at an INBOUND 2016 session run by Austin Knight, senior UX designer at HubSpot.

I think my favorite thing was how Knight acted like this was news, right from the moment he began his talk. Or, that his audience would be astounded and shocked. Did he expect to hear gasps of outrage across the room?

I can’t speak for the other attendees, but really, this wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before, and others didn’t seem taken aback either. This is because, despite sharing many similar traits, design and art are not one and the same. They don’t have two different names "just for funsies."

But where exactly does that leave design then, and what does it have to do with inbound marketing?

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The Guide to Creating Mind Blowing Content

Let's face it, there is a lot of content out there. How do you get yours to stand out? Simple, make it mind blowing.

42 pages full of ideas for creating awesome content that converts visitors into leads and leads into customers!

One of the first sessions I attended at INBOUND 2016 was “Brand: The Last Remaining Currency in Marketing,” a talk by Tiffany Sauder, president of Element Three.

Sauder began with a strong statement:

“I believe the companies that decide to tell bold stories to the marketplace – to be very clear and descriptive about the thing that they have to offer the world – are going to be the companies that win.”

We know we need to differentiate ourselves, especially those of us who find ourselves surrounded by companies who all seem to offer identical services or products. The struggle, though, is how? How do we make ourselves more discernible from our competitors?

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Marketers talk a ton about the importance of good homepage design. But if you’re doing inbound marketing well, your homepage won’t usually be your audience’s starting point when they visit your website.

Typically, it’s your blog posts and content offers that will pull people in and get them to start travelling across your site to learn more. This is how inbound works for you, on your website, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. So if your homepage is going to be bypassed more often than not, you need set up your interior pages to show your visitors what they’re looking for, and to drive them down the conversion pathway.

Now, I'm not referring to blog posts and landing pages; they have their own unique functions and best practices. Your interior pages are another beast altogether. 

Your website's interior pages are there to inform and guide, so you need to take care in how you plan and build them out. Here's how... 

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Starting a new project with outsourced agencies or freelancers can be a lot like hiring a new employee. Making that commitment to research and seek out the right resource for your company means knowing that you’ll be spending a lot of time on the web and on the phone, and maybe not doing those day-to-day things that feel so productive.

But you know that it’s for the best, and will be worth it in the end if you put in the work now, during your discovery process. All of your effort is focused on one idea: "How can I get the best work at the best price?"

And if you know you want a new logo – and maybe even a nice brand style guide, too – you need to hire the right people that you can trust with your brand's visual identity.

But what do you need to ask potential designers to see if they're the right fit for your project?

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The beginning any new relationship is the chance to focus your attention and really learn all you can about the person on the other end. Budding friendships, dating, new hires, new prospects – all of these can be the start of something even greater. And to make sure you’re getting to know who the other person truly is, you have to ask the right questions.

Whenever we kick off a new branding project, we have a series of questions that we ask our new clients. These not only help us to learn more about our client, but also their customers, competitors, values and mission.

The answers to these questions help our design team to create a logo and brand identity that help define what the company does and who they serve, all while showing off the personality of the business. A branding project is a two-way street of collaboration. Designers can make some awesome graphics, but they need your help and background knowledge to develop a logo that hits the mark.

Check out the following list of questions to see if you have the answers you need to get a brand project started.

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