Kelly Olson Interiors
By applying timeless “core principles” of visual communication, I produce thoughtful designs that translate to any medium. The following are areas of design that I’m particularly passionate about:
I enjoy the responsibility of leading a department of creative people, collaborating, delegating, and mentoring so that our team delivers products that look great and function well. My hands-on approach, with attention to detail, allows me to connect with other departments (and freelance clients) to decipher objectives efficiently for any given project.
With expertise in responsive design (and coding), along with a good working knowledge of advanced programming languages (and some help from Google), I’ve built and managed dozens of websites (using WordPress and other CMS) for a wide variety of companies. I consider myself a dual-threat: a designer who can also write code. My websites put a lot of emphasis on optimizing the user experience, from site map structure, to page layout, to overall UI/UX. I make websites that look great and function well.
I went to school for logo and print design, and began my career creating a variety of marks and logotypes, extending those identities to stationery, brochures, and even posters. I especially enjoy print because the medium doesn’t change every 10 minutes, as appears to be the case for the never-ending evolution of technology in web design. I keep my logo and print design skills sharp with a handful of projects in the radio industry, as well as a variety of freelance opportunities.
In my career, I’ve experienced a variety of great opportunities and challenges, all of which have helped diversify and strengthen my skillset as a design leader.
January 2014 – Present
I lead a multifaceted creative department for a cluster of Chicago radio stations, doing design work for 101WKQX (WKQX-FM), WLS-AM 890, and 94.7 WLS (WLS-FM). My team also designed for the iconic 97.9 The Loop (WLUP-FM) up until March 2018. From conceptualization and consultation, to design & development, to final deployment, I manage a team that creates custom print/web/video solutions to compliment our on-air products. Our work strengthens the various radio brands, while generating revenue within an increasingly challenging and evolving environment.
July 2011 – January 2014
My role was a combination of responsibilities for the Digital Department, a design team that produced all the visual elements (print, web, and video) used for cross-platform promotion and audience engagement to enhance our radio station brands in Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia. I became very proficient at juggling many tasks: collaborating with other departments to conceptualize custom solutions; art direction and project management; rolling up my sleeves to design & code; traveling to locations for photo and video.
November 2010 – July 2011
With this job promotion, I supervised the Digital Department, a team of designers that produced cross-platform promotion (print, web, and video) for Chicago’s flagship radio stations Q101 (WKQX-FM) and 97.9 The Loop (WLUP-FM). I collaborated with other departments, conceptualized custom solutions and content strategy, provided art direction and leadership, all while taking part in an active role in designing and production.
August 2008 – November 2010
I was the lead for web design and content strategy for Chicago’s iconic radio stations Q101 (WKQX-FM) and 97.9 The Loop (WLUP-FM). I helped develop custom online solutions that bolstered the brands and drove revenue for our larger tent pole station concerts & events. I also facilitated in other day-to-day content and site maintenance that’s common with radio station websites.
August 2005 – August 2008
Working for Grady Campbell was an ideal place to begin my design career. My role encompassed a variety of print projects, with a little web design and interactive development. I was integral for all conceptualization, design, development, and gained experience in specifying paper, going on print checks, and even art directing photo shoots.
*On two separate occasions, in July 2011 and again in January 2014, the company I was working for was bought out by another company.
I believe every project is unique, possessing its own set of objectives and challenges that require a carefully-tailored strategy. Despite the variety of projects, and their subsequent strategies, here are some commonly-used aspects in my design arsenal.
Every project begins with a conversation to identify objectives and deadlines. The ability to listen, followed by the ability to ask relevant questions, are both essential to identify an efficient course of action. Once I have all necessary info, I turn to my sketch pad to begin creating quick, loose ideas to help articulate the direction that I intend to move forward with.
Depending on what I’m designing, I’ll use any combination of the following: Sketch, Principle, Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Codepen, InDesign, After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Dropbox, Google Apps, Asana, pen & paper.
For design and development inspiration, I turn to a variety of assets (specialists or services) to produce successful results in a timely fashion. “When in doubt, Google it.” That’s my motto. With a little determination and curiousity, I’ve used Google to overcome a variety of design/development roadblocks.
Two key factors to strengthen any working relationship – communication and follow-through. Helps demonstrate understanding and competence, which helps build trust. Deliver when you say you’ll deliver.
When I’m not working, I like to keep busy with a variety of concerts, sporting events, and other hobbies.
I’m always ready to press “Record”, at a moment’s notice.
Here are a handful of photos that tell a little bit more about me, and some of my interests.