T H E   B R O A D   S T R O K E S

 

 

Hello. My name is Stephen Szymanski. For the last two hundred years or so, I have managed the brand and design teams of several successful technology companies, a fair amount of large corporations, and some small boutique firms too.  Because I've never been fond of sleep, I've also run my own freelance design business and every once in a while I teach 'Brand and Identity' classes at the university level to fourth year design students.

I’m always looking for new experiences and I love building relationships with interesting and interested people. There are many examples on this web site of ways in which my work has resulted in elevating a firm’s brand, and contributed greatly to customer loyalty and investor interest. If there’s a project on your desk that feels like it might be a good fit for my talents, I hope you’ll be inspired to contact me at szymanskidesign@gmail.com.

 

 

 

An almost twenty-year old tech company was in need of a brand refresh

 

Symplicity began as a one student start-up operating out of a college dorm room, and grew into a leader of the higher education tech marketplace. The focus had been on creating web-based products that helped colleges connect recruiters to their graduating classes. I was hired to put an integrated brand strategy in place. I created a new look and feel based in documentary style photography and clean, modern lines which could easily be adapted across all marketing channels: responsive emails, brochures, social media, events, print collateral and websites. In August of 2016, Symplicity was acquired by investment giant HIG Capital.

 

Helping to tell the story

 

When I joined the team at Edens, their Union Market property in DC was planning its first pop-up (Thread), their Mosaic District in Fairfax was preparing for phase 2 of its retail development, and their Shops at Stonefield property in Charlottesville was having a major growth spurt. It was a very busy time. I created an integrated marketing campaign for print, email, and broadcast that saluted the retailers at Mosaic who had been singled out as the best in their class by local and national magazines. I also helped bring a more editorial look and feel to marketing materials for their properties in Charlottesville, Manassas, Princeton and Alexandria. I presided over the creation of the brand and marketing for the highly successful Palette, Stonefield's (and Charlottesville's) first pop-up shop. I also managed the in-house design team, the internal print shop, and a schedule filled with daily deadlines and challenges. During my time at Edens, their President was asked to speak at the Conscious Capitalism Summit, and Blackstone Group LP invested $718 million in the firm which was a somewhat remarkable moment for the company and the real estate industry as a whole. 

 

A brand facelift helps a mid-level library software company rise to the top

 

Polaris had developed a first-class suite of public library software solutions but the look and feel of their marketing materials didn't adequately represent that level of technical sophistication. I was asked to give their brochureware and websites a more modern look, and to integrate that identity across all their communication channels including emails, ads, event booths, and a total redesign of their extranet. Understanding the value and quality of their product, in 2013, Polaris was bought by Innovative Interfaces Inc., the leading software company in the industry.

 

 

Making an intimidating insurance services firm in NYC more approachable

 

I managed the brand and visual identity for Marsh during a nine-year period which included two mergers, a reorganization, the first major national advertising campaign, and two rebrands. I was responsible for upgrading the look and feel of all marketing materials and internal communications, I oversaw the identity for all Marsh offices worldwide, and I served as a design consultant for parent company, Marsh & McLennan Companies.