I’m Nick Thompson. I design brands, write code, write words, and take pictures.

I’m largely self-taught in graphic design, web development, photography and video. I also graduated from the Art Institute of Colorado with a Bachelor of Arts in Design Management. I’ve always been captivated by the mystery, potential, and evolution of technology. As a sort of nexus between technology, art, and psychology, design has also always been one of my many passions.

I have over a decade of experience designing web sites and coding with various programming languages. I’ve spent a majority of my career working with everything related to email, including designing and executing email marketing campaigns, designing landing pages, compiling data and reports, optimizing deliverability, and setting up and configuring servers. I’ve also been heavily involved with social and mobile since the glory days of MySpace and Windows CE.

My style and personal philosophy are heavily influenced by Zen Buddhism. I strive to maintain a “beginner’s mind” and fully immerse myself into everything I do. I believe in radical transparency. I believe in “staring with why,” and that “leaders eat last” (shout-out to Simon Sinek).

Here’s a visual representation of my skills and what I’ve spent time doing at the companies I’ve worked for. For more info, check out my resume.

Graphic Design

Graphic design isn’t just pretty visuals; it’s strategic visual communication. Successful graphic design clearly articulates a core message in a fashion that captivates an audience’s attention and earns their empathy and trust.

Most of my graphic design comes in the form of web design, user interface design, and branding. Although, I also thoroughly enjoy creating ads, posters, photo-manipulations, and illustrations.

Look at some graphic design examples in my portfolio.

Analytics

Sometimes your marketing efforts can’t be reliably measured. The best, most authentic campaigns result in an emotional resonance that could even be characterized as “ineffable.” As Gary Vaynerchuk asked, “What’s the ROI of your mother?” But the good news for marketers is that almost everything is becoming increasingly trackable and contextualized at higher levels of granularity with new media. More data leads to more insight and a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t under specific conditions.

I’m a data freak who loves to track things and analyze them. I dream of a world where I can peruse detailed reports about about everything from my health to my shopping habits, to the contents of my refrigerator. Yes, maybe I’m a weirdo. And I believe much of what we call “privacy” today is a deprecated relic in a new era of conscious evolution.

Let’s have a conversation about how to about how to tailor an intelligent analytics strategy around your business goals. Send me a message on the contact page.

Research

Research is the first and most important step in any project’s development. Gathering all relevant intelligence on your market, competitors, and stakeholders will enable you to formulate the smartest strategies. For example, a successful web site must be engineered intentionally from the context of its objectives. Research is essential to formulate and articulate your goals, which in turn dictate the design parameters of a very deliberate user experience.

Web Design

Web sites are often what make — or break — your first impression. Does your site give the impression of a market leader? A successful web site is intuitive, beautiful, consistent with its brand’s essence, and conveys credibility.

Let’s chat about how a hand-crafted web site will let you put your best foot forward.

Web Development

Having a beautiful web site to represent your brand is important, but it doesn’t count for much if it isn’t functional or can’t provide a decent user experience. Sometimes prepackaged, open source web solutions aren’t enough on their own. If you’re a real innovator and want to realize your wildest dreams for a web site or app, sometimes we have to build it from the ground up.

Most of the web development I do is on a LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP). More often than not, I use WordPress as a content management system with custom developed themes and plugins. I’ve also just started to explore the MEAN stack (MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, Node.js), which seems to have great potential and a bright future.

Mobile

If you don’t have some kind of mobile strategy in your marketing arsenal, you’re missing out … Big time. According to Pew,  58% of American adults own a smartphone. A Nielsen survey suggests that number was at 79% for young adults, 18-24, and 70% for teens in 2013. Furthermore, 34% of American adults are going online “mostly” with their smartphone. It’s safe to assume that for teens and young adults, this number is significantly higher.

Numbers are great, but even a statistician only needs a pair of eyes and to come out from under his or her rock occasionally to see how pervasive mobile already is. Having a responsive web site or a mobile app, whether native or web-based is essential to your success.

Search Engine Optimization

Google processes around 100 billion searches every month. That’s insane. SEO can be a confusing industry, especially with all of the vague and conflicting narratives of “experts” making absurd first-page promises. My SEO philosophy is very simple: Don’t try to understand and manipulate Google’s algorithm — you can’t. Instead, focus on creating the highest quality design and content first, then take all of the diligent technical steps necessary to ensure your site is a hospitable host for search engine robots.

Search engine optimization is a small piece of a much bigger marketing picture. It plays a crucial supporting role, but it should never be mistaken for the main act.

User Experience Design

When designing a web site or app, careful consideration for the user experience is vital. Using research in psychology and neuroscience, in addition to data we gather through analytics, we can make data-driven design decisions to optimize the user experience and retain users.

User experience design is about understanding who your users are, what motivates them, what influences them, and how they respond to stimuli. We can render this data into various iterations of your products in order to test and improve them. To be a successful marketer today, you need to create multiple dynamic experiences that deliver your core message on a diverse range of devices and platforms with content that is truly native to its respective platform.

Social Media

Technology is propelling the evolution of market economies toward further democratization and transparency. Consumers are making the rules now. In order to compete in the 21st century, we need to respect consumers as influencers and empower them to advocate on our behalf. Fortunately, the vast social media landscape offers a variety of platforms conducive to consumer advocacy. In addition to finding and listening to customers and prospects, we can provide them with valuable native content.

Here’s the thing about social media: It’s not just a matter of being fluent in platform functionality. It’s about context and having the sensory acuity to understand and speak in the native language of the platform you’re using. It’s about creating valuable content and building relationships instead of parroting empty, obtrusive sales pitches.

To be effective at social media marketing, you should use the platform personally and have a deep understanding of its ethos. You should also have a solid understanding of its latest business-oriented features, like promoted tweets, twitter cards, and Facebook dark posts. These are worthless on their own, but they’re like adding jet fuel if you already have amazing content to promote.

Video

Video is probably the most powerful marketing tool you can utilize. Research suggests that when you stimulate both the auditory and visual senses in people, you increase their retention of the information conveyed by 74%. According to YouTube, they reach more 18 to 34 year olds than any cable network.

Video production is a skill I am continually developing. Most of my experience is with creating motion graphics in Adobe After Effects, as well as some editing in Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro. I’m also familiar with shooting video with a DSLR.

Photography

I’m completely self-taught in photography. I still have a lot to learn in terms of technique in the field, but I have mad post-production Photoshop skills. I’m currently shooting with a Canon 6D. I’m in love with my Canon EF 16-35mm lens!

Systems Administration

I also have experience setting up and managing servers for email and web hosting. At Cognize, we provide fully managed web hosting for clients as well as email marketing solutions. We deploy custom servers, monitor our servers for performance, and consistently create data backups.

BRAIN
ANALYTICS GRAPHIC DESIGN RESEARCH WEB DESIGN MOBILE SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEO PHOTOGRAPHY SYS ADMIN WEB DEVELOPMENT SEO UX DESIGN

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