I am a writer, graphic designer, motion graphics artist, and web designer working in the Salt Lake City area. I bring over 5 years of experience spanning After Effects video production, graphics, web and print design, copywriting, automotive repair, marine operations, and digital marketing strategy.
I'm learning a new skill and honing an old one everyday, and I'm excited to keep learning and teaching. I volunteer at the Salt Lake City library, helping patrons learn technology and complete creative projects from 3D printing to creating a resume.
This digital ad was designed to capitalize on frustrations with lack of tech support in the affiliate marketing industry. I wanted to highlight the personal dedication that my client's support team lives by. I sketched a layout and crafted the copy around the idea of finding a "human element" in software. I came up with the idea of including the Vitruvian Man as a symbol of humanity and human ingenuity. I sketched the man in Photoshop, and built the layout in Illustrator. This ad was used for a paid campaign on LinkedIn and Facebook, and routed to a landing page with a form to collect names and emails of prospective clients. This project taught me how to take a problem and turn the answer into a symbolic message.
As a part of the campaign, the client also requested a full-page print ad for Internet Retailer magazine, which gave me more opportunity to iterate on the design. I wrote a bolder headline for the ad, and added more copy around the idea of discovery and invention. The ad was built to spec, with correct bleed and file format (pdf x1a 2001) for the printer, using InDesign. To ad some context to the campaign, I also reasearched and wrote a blog post about support, sourcing testimonial quotes from customers. This project taught me to repurpose an idea for a different medium and a different audience, and to always improve my design when there's an opportunity.
At AvantLink, I aligned branding with content strategy. Based on several months of social media and analytics research, I came up with a simplified strategy for blog images, copy, and topics that address the affiliate marketing audience. It came time to align this strategy with other branded elements the company was using for client presentations or internal projects. The above graphic describes an attribution reporting solution for cash back affiliates. I created a template based on this file that will be used for all one-page guides or presentations. Using simple brand color variations, outline icons, and straightforward, expressive copy, the aim is to simplify and foster better understanding and use of the tools.
This graphic was my first step along the way. Based on a complicated powerpoint explaining this feature, I created a graphic with a new style as a prototype. After reviewing with the team, we discussed bringing the brand together between different departments at AvantLink, which were using a variety of materials in different, conflicting styles. In order to bring consistency, we decided to simplify the design and create templates, which brought about the first graphic you saw.
In addition, I redesigned the powerpoint decks to fit the simplified branding we came up with. I set different text styles and included a pack of basic icons in the template.
Finally, I created a weekly company newsletter featuring department updates, news, new accounts, and the latest content marketing pieces. This was an effort to promote knowledge and consistency, the ingredients of a strong brand. With this newsletter, employees are encouraged to collaborate and stay informed about other department efforts. Also, by creating a narrative for each week, employees are empowered to talk to clients about AvantLink, and share content and posts on social media.
One of my biggest efforts as Content Strategist at AvantLink was to standardize blog content. Instead of publishing articles at random, I proposed creating series that umbrella different recurring topics. I established a format for featured images and built a template in Illustrator. Each series includes a cluster of icons related to the topics underneath multiplied layers with eye-catching colors. I designed a central icon for each series and gave the titles a drop shadow to make the text rise above the image. For examples of each series, see the Avantlink blog, and the examples below. Creating these images expanded my Illustrator skill set, and gave me a better sense of establishing good guidelines for web images.
The goal of this project was to present useful information about lowering website bounce rates for bloggers. I researched bounce rates and other metrics that are used to measure the quality of web content and its level of engagement, and formulated the results into ideas for affiliate marketing bloggers. I created this infograpic using Illustrator, and wrote an accompanying blog post and LinkedIn Pulse article. Currently, this article is one of the most highly-trafficked pages on the AvantLink blog. This project helped me experiment with ways to drive a user through information using colors and graphics.
I created this case study from scratch in collaboration with Clique Affiliate Marketing. I wrote the content, Clique provided the stats, and I designed the pdf using InDesign. I used interactive elements, and created social media campaigns and a blog post to advertise the success of AvantLink's quality over quantity mindset in the affiliate marketing industry. I learned how to take a ton of data, distill it into a meaningful story, and build graphics around the concepts.Download
AvantLink's affiliate marekting network offers a suite of tools that can be, at times, difficult to understand. As Content Strategist, I proposed creating different media to explain how the tools work. We had blog posts, videos, and static documents, but nothing interactive. To experiment with interactive instructions, I used Tumult Hype to create an animated guided to the Snaplinker tool (above). I learned how to animate and configure an HTML5 element using hype and integrated it into a webpage. We tracked the usage of the guide on the AvantLink blog, and it has been used consistently each month since we created it. We plan to create a guide for each of our tools.
My client NoTaxNexus was fighting a tax-nexus bill that threatened the income of bloggers. Explaining the bill and its impact took an average of 25 minutes face-to-face. They wanted to reduce that effort to a a 3 minute, shareable video, where the graphics would help solidify the concepts more quickly. NoTaxNexus provided me with the key points about the bill. I wrote a script and sketched a rough storyboard for review.
I ran through the storyboard and script with the client and incorporated feedback until it was approved. I then sent the script to a voice actor for recording with some directions about how to read each part of the script, and a scratch track of myself reading it. In the mean time, I created a list of assets based on the sketched storyboard, and started illustrating them and optimizing the layers for animation (using Illustrator). I compiled the assets into scenes in a digital storyboard to streamline the animation process.
By the time I had completed the digital storyboard, the audio was delivered. I had to request edits a few times from the voice actor before we got it right, but it was critical to have the right inflections and cadence so the video would be understood and not move too quickly. I edited the audio files using Audition and organized them according to the scenes, adding markers for animation cues outlined in the storyboard. I then imported my audio and assets into After Effects and built a structure for the project as shown below.
I find it highly important to spend time organizing After Effects projects so that they can be easily manipulated for changes both now and later. I have a systematic folder structure that matches in my projects and on my machine. I also use a labelling system that is color-coded for every type of layer in my project, as you can see below. (Comps are blue, audio is green, masks are the dark version of their objects, etc.)
As I animated each scene, I added sound effects that I either downloaded or created using GarageBand. Once I finished animating the video, I spent a good while finding music. I wanted something that nodded to the seriousness of the situation but also kept the viewer awake. Once I found a good track and purchased it, I edited the loops to fit the cadence of the video and trimmed some of the audio to create a smooth ending. Start-to-finish this project took me two weeks to complete. I added many animation techniques to my skillset, and found a great cadence with the workflow described above.
The client is now using the video to explain Tax Nexus bills and recruit people to fight it.
My client was trying to hone in on a new market opportunity and re-engage existing clients. They determined to create a campaign dedicated to getting average bloggers to become affiliate marketers. I helped them create automated emails, blog posts, and illustrated and animated this video as a part of the campaign. Because of the lack of awareness of affiliate marketing, we decided to lay it out as simply as possible in 90 seconds, by creating this splash video that introduces affiliate marketing as a concept, without explaining any technical details.
The viewers were directed to a landing page with a list of affiliate programs to apply for. This was designed for affiliates already in the AvantLink network. We also put out digital ads designed to collect new bloggers. When they enrolled in the email campaign, they were sent a series of emails that directed them to this video first, then a blog post, and finally an interactive guide explaining how to use AvantLink's simplest tool. This campaign was optimized to take existing and new bloggers and turn them into amateur afffiliates.
I created all the assets in Illustrator and developed the animations in Tumult Hype. Because Hype creates animation in HTML5, there is not very much audio control, making it harder to synch voice over. I exported each scene as a png sequence and used After Effects to synch the audio. We hosted the video on Youtube, but I had also set it up to play with voice over in HTML format, so we could have embedded it as well. I learned to create a video in HTML5 format, and gained experience timing animations to voice over and music.
The goal of this project was to explore a concept for a product line of workplace compliance videos that crafted an episodic story around different compliance policies. The client wanted a video series that would be more entertaining and less serious than past attempts.
I brainstormed ideas for a video on gifts and entertainment policies with a team of designers and animators. After we had a rough idea, I wrote a screenplay, with scene descriptions and animation instructions. From there, we collaborated on assets in Illustrator and animated the scenes After Effects with a scratch audio track and homemade sound effects. We produced this video in 1 week. I learned how to sprint a project with a fairly large team. I managed the project and did some of the art direction. I gained a lot of experience directing a team and having a hand in each step of the production, from brainstorming to animating, to editing the audio.
The AvantLink blog was broken. Every time there was an odd-numbered post added, the images would go haywire and the sidebar would find a new random location. I studied the code of the site and determined it was a flaw with the Wordpress theme. I sketched out a rough design-a clean two-column format. I then found a theme-the Clean Box theme--and installed the Theme Test Drive plugin to experiment without affecting the actual site. I took the existing theme and wrote custom CSS to create the two columns and integrate AvantLink branding. I also edited the theme files to add the AvantLink header, footer, search overlay functionality, and to implement various stylesheets and scripts. The result was a much cleaner, fully functional theme, which immediately resulted in more page views per session and an overall increase in traffic once I set the new theme live. Download my custom css.
My brother Christian Carrick is a mathematician applying for graduate shcool. He wanted a nice, simple website where schools could learn who he is and access his work. I started with a simple Bootstrap theme, and created a color palette and logo, and made branding changes to the CSS. I also added the logo to the navbar. I filled out the content and created cards for each of his works, and added animated icons to draw attention to each download. I learned the difficulty of optimizing a site for mobile, especially with a theme that came so bare. I was able to optimize it pretty well, but I could go further and maybe find a better theme with more adaptive CSS.
I designed the website you're looking at starting with the Freelancer Bootstrap theme. After customizing the CSS for my brand colors and logo, I edited the functionality of each portfolio piece and added CSS animations. With this site I learned much better ways to optimize for mobile, and how to create CSS animations. Another example of a site I designed (this one in wordpress) is my outdoor blog Demetrius Done It.
A part of my content strategy at AvantLink is engaging with an audience of affiliate marketers. Part of the challenge is giving them information that will make them successful as advertisers. But the bigger challenge is getting them to engage with content--many of them want to do things a certain way, but their merchant partners are looking for robust content and product reviews. That's why I invented Joose. This fake product allows me to inject humor into my articles, while simultaneously demonstrating the value of focusing on content. In my article on how to write the best product reviews I demonstrate finding an audience for a given product and how to properly test and draft an engaging review.
By designing a mock energy drink, and including rich media like this gif, the readers are given more than just salesy information. They get to hear a story and laugh about the absurdity of the Joose energy drink. Also, I source quotes in the article from a reputable, successful affiliate. That way, the tips are not just coming from AvantLink, but from the industry, and the engagement data on analytics proves this strategy.