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

There is a black hole in design projects. It's this realm right between the development of the creative brief and the presentation of those first few design concepts.

Sure, the client knows is that their designer is hard at work – brainstorming, ideating and being as creative as possible in order to deliver the most fantastical design concepts imaginable. Obviously.

But where exactly does the designer go? Do they trek through the mountains of Tibet in order to find inner peace and bolster their creativity? Do they flee to an uncharted island to perfect their focus?

Most project managers and clients probably couldn't say what goes on during this time. And it's problematic because then, when the first rounds of designs are reviewed, designs come out of left field and no one is quite happy with how it all came out.

Goals and expectations were not established, and feelings get hurt.

Mood boards are like a lifeline back to the mainland. They bridge this gap that we all struggle with, whether you're a designer or not. And they run both ways, helping both designers and clients communicate better with one another.

In this week's episode, Liz and I discuss my own process for using mood boards in design projects. I talk about the tools that I use to brainstorm design concepts and build out mood boards. In particular, I share how they help me communicate better with my clients and ensure that we are both on the same page regarding their needs and desires.

Flipping this concept around, Liz also shows how marketers and noncreatives alike can use similar tools to talk to their own designers. 

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Our work culture thrives on people telling others – coworkers, bosses, friends, spouses – how busy they are.

Really though, we love to say it. Don't tell me you never feel just a little bit of pride when you tell your friends that "No, I can't go out on Wednesday night. I'M BUSY."

But busy-ness becomes a dangerous trap. It's so easy to just say "I'm too busy" and to move along from one task to the next, checking things off your list without really putting your full brainpower into any particular item.

So when we feel like everything is on fire, and out inboxes pile up with endless newsletters and emails, how do we – as marketers, content creators, and designers – keep our creativity flowing and continue to think outside the box?

In this week's episode, Liz and I dive into the tools and techniques that we both use day-to-day to get ourselves out of the "check-the-box" mentality. We share how we push ourselves to keep thinking creatively, in order to fuel the passions that we both have for what we do, and to continue to produce higher-quality work.

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A few months ago, I posted a question to Inbound.org, 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 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!

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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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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