Barry Edwards, Creative Director/Author/Teacher
Creatively speaking, I started out drawing on my closet doors with crayons early on. I followed my artistic interests through all phases of school, eventually settling on design and illustration at Kent State University. Today, my work is my main creative outlet – consisting of designing of various marketing communications and endless writing of website/social media content and related materials. RELATED: IN THE MEDIA >
Graphic design and branding are my hallmarks
I’ve always prided myself on bringing out the best in a brand, whether it’s a company or its product or service. It doesn’t actually start with the visual. It begins with getting below the surface and finding the inner passion behind the subject and revealing the special qualities to the audience. When these are identified, all future marketing efforts increase exponentially in value.
I take a great deal of pride in visually developing a brand in its best light (design), whether it’s a logo/slogan, value proposition, brochure, website or just a business card. Once we identify the unique qualities being offered, I really enjoy translating them into their best visual representations.
I’ve not been one to enter my work into contests, but a couple of my clients have done so, and we’ve won some awards for best design over the years.
Above: I’m pictured with long time collaborator, Susan Licate, receiving award for Best Brochure of 2016 at Apex Awards in Cleveland, Ohio.
Teaching design and marketing is my passion
I taught various classes at Lakeland College dating back to 1995. They included 2D and 3D drawing programs and QuarkXpress, before finally settling down on Photoshop, which I enjoyed teaching from 1997 through 2014.
I really enjoy making complex procedures simple for people and pride myself on taking the anxiety out of the technology. I found this was the biggest hurdle for students… especially the older students. Breaking assignments down into small, simplified steps and providing positive feedback during these small victories is the secret to successful training.
By 2014 I found upcoming students to be innately more advanced than past years, and my online marketing services required more of my attention, so I moved on from teaching college classes.
Now I apply my teaching experience and “No Geek-Speak” policy to training my occasional seminars, mastermind groups, teaching my clients and podcast interviews.
Marketing knowledge is a lifelong endeavor
I developed most of my marketing knowledge after college. Corporate ID became a “thing” for me. But, when people asked me to design a logo for them, I found the need to ask probing questions about what their company truly stood for. This quickly evolved into full branding campaigns – developing Mission/Vision Statements, logos, slogans… along with the stationary, brochures and later, websites and social media. The most notable influence on the advertising end of my work is David Ogilvy — known as the Father of Advertising.
I apply the same tried and true principals to my work today that Ogilvy’s research found so effective throughout advertising’s maturation of the 70s. The importance of establishing hierarchy and organization is perhaps more important today as our fast-paced world inundates us with information. The importance of our headlines, subheads, bulleted items and captions cannot be overlooked in capturing our target audience’s eye (and SEO). The need for our copy to speak directly to our target audiences’ desires clearly and concisely is nearly a lost art.
While Ogilvy’s influence provides a foundation for my content, I’m also a huge online marketing podcast fan! I’m always looking for latest trends in content marketing and, in particular, social media marketing. Learning how to better tell our stories on these platforms is an extremely important part of prospect building and converting those prospects into clients. I average at least an hour/day of online marketing podcasts (during bike rides, walks, drive time…) as its refreshing to get my colleagues’ fresh takes on content marketing techniques.
My personal interests include bicycles, dogs and family time
My favorite personal past time is riding my bike. I love exercise and this is the perfect pace for me – I get to see a lot of sites while burning off my excess stress and energy. I also just love being outside. For anyone dipping a big toe into cycling and wanting a piece of advice – it’s all about the bike. Get a good bike that fits you right. A not-so-good bike will leave you with an experience you won’t be anxious to repeat.
Dogs – angels on Earth
I said for years that I believe dogs are truly little pieces of God sent to Earth to better humans. I’ve learned more from my dogs about unconditional love than I have from any human – and that’s saying a lot as I know some amazing people. Many members of my family (including myself and my GF) do some pro bono work for Dog Rescuers – most notably is Marilyn’s Voice. We also got our last beautiful little beagle, Laney from them. May she rest in peace.
I have a really special family
My girlfriend and I cherish our family occasions above all else. We share amazing food, terrific company, and that usually includes dogs – so we have that covered. My extended family live primarily on Cleveland’s east side and Lisa’s mother lives in Sarasota, FL and we’ve visited her each winter for the past ten years.
About that girlfriend…
If you’re still reading, then I’m sure you’re wondering why I so vaguely refer to “my girlfriend” here and there. She is a very private person and very camera shy. If you happen to know her, don’t tell her that she’s in a few pictures below.
And… we haven’t married in spite of being together for 10 years because we’re both the same age, yet never married, no kids and hugely independent.
…She’s also Sicilian.
I’m a proud member of Cleveland’s ToastMasters and serve as Vice President of Public Relations. I’m also a former associate board member of SME Cleveland, and former lead of the east side Business Connections group, AKA, BizCon East. I invite you to explore the samples of my case studies. Please feel free to drop me an email or phone call to discuss you and your company’s needs and goals.