Inspiration: Where does it come from?

By: Cristina Brown and Micah Mills

Blake Howard, Creative Director and Co-Founder of branding fim Matchstic, spoke on how to present your ideas and designs to better stand behind them and bring them to reality. 

The architecture, engineering and construction (A/E/C) industry is made of the obvious key players: architects, interior designers, engineers and contractors. Many people don’t think about the behind-the-scenes crew that keeps these companies running like well-oiled machines. These roles range from administrative duties to accounting and last, but not least, marketing. Each of these departments play an integral part in the day-to-day operations of any A/E/C company. We speak from experience – we’re marketing professionals.  We were lucky enough to have STG Design support us in continuing to push the envelope in our industry by allowing us to attend the HOW Design Live Conference in Atlanta. It was, to say the least, inspiration-galore.

Author and futurist, Amy Webb, talked about Snapchat and the technological trends of the future. Be on the lookout for STG foray into Snapchat in the near future! 

We weren’t sure what to expect going into it. In fact, we were mildly intimidated being surrounded by a multitude of seasoned design professionals from all industries and all over the country. How were we, a Marketing Coordinator and Assistant from a mid-size, full-service architecture/interior design firm, going to be able to take the overwhelming amount of information that we were about to learn and apply it to our everyday work? We should have silenced those inner-voices of ours. But, again, we were intimidated to our core.

Scott Stroud, Lead User Experience Strategist at NPR, showed how the organization digitally connected to their audience and employees over the last two decades. 

From the moment we witnessed the first keynote speaker, the VP of Design at Coca-Cola, James Sommerville, we furiously started jotting down notes as the wheels were actively turning in our brains. His presentation was titled “What Coca-Cola Can Learn from The Beatles.” Well, what can Coca-Cola learn from The Beatles? More than we ever anticipated. During his keynote, he mentioned the seven key takeaways that both The Beatles and Coca-Cola could use to connect with their audience or key demographics.

Those seven things were:
- Childhood
- People
- Evolution
- Experimentation
- Things
- Emotions
- Places

We experienced many great speakers dishing out non-stop inspiration, but this particular session really resonated with us and how we could implement some of what we had learned into marketing a design firm. Take childhood, for example. Nostalgic branding has become quite popular amongst a variety of industries and markets. More often than not, consumers enjoy seeing retail items associated with their youth – why not try and implement that in the STG Design brand? This led to thoughts of bringing back old logos and digging through our archives to find inspiration from our inception 40 years ago. The door of possibilities that had always been in our minds was now open and, from this day on, will be almost impossible to close.

HOW Design Live not only solidified the direction in which we have been striving to drive our marketing, but gave us insight on where we can improve. It showed us that inspiration, even for A/E/C marketers, truly can come from anywhere. You just have to know where to look.



Cristina Brown is STG Design’s Marketing Coordinator in Houston. She has five years experience in marketing. Cristina is the brains behind STG’s email campaigns (sign up here if you haven’t already!). She has excellent penmanship and is inspired by lapel pins and Korean popular culture.

Micah Mills has been STG Design’s Austin Marketing Assistant since graduating from Texas A&M with a degree in Agricultural Communications and Journalism a year ago. His passion for graphics and social media (like/follow us on Facebook and Instagram if you don’t already!) has taken STG’s marketing game to the next level in this short time.

Both Micah and Cristina were HOW newbies and plan to attend again in the future.