Kirby Stephens Design

Wednesday, 05 October 2016
Published in Blog: Design
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Dan Dutton owl nest

“When I was a child, I heard my parents sing songs telling of marvelous things that happened long ago.” — Daniel Dutton

This is the opening line from artist, composer and storyteller Daniel Dutton’s Ballads of the Barefoot Mind, a catalog designed by KSD for his opening exhibition at 21C Museum in Louisville, Kentucky. For 30 years, we have collaborated with Dan to share “marvelous things” from his creative world, through posters, catalogs, album art, photography, websites and more. A true renaissance man, he is an accomplished musician, painter, poet, sculptor, writer and storyteller.

DC CatalogKSD first worked with Dan in the early 1980s producing the catalog for a solo exhibit of his work showcased in the rotunda of the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. 

A few years later, KSD helped promote the Kentucky Opera’s world premiere of The Stone Man at the Kentucky Center for the Arts in Louisville. Dan's original libretto and staging were the Opera's first production by a Kentucky composer.

Between 1995 and 2000, Dan created a four-part dance opera titled The Secret Commonwealth. We worked with Dan to develop and design related educational resource guides for Kentucky Educational Television (KET), promotional materials, album cover art and extensive performance photography.

In 2006, his Ballads of the Barefoot Mind project resulted in the large-format “coffee table” catalog of the museum exhibit that included images of the dramatic, large-scale oil paintings, a 12-ballad CD recording that corresponds to the paintings in the exhibit and the story behind the project. is a visual art portfolio that only shows a small fraction of Dan’s volume of work. KSD has produced evolving variations of this website, and others, including, a fantasy world in development based on childhood memories and stories of a neighborhood witch. 

Our most recent project showcases the collaboration between Dan and metal artist Jesse Rivera. The website not only showcases a variety of work by the Rivera-Dutton Sculpture Studio, but attempts to give context to the relationship between client, artist and the work. 

Throughout our relationship, we have been fortunate to work with Dan both as a client and collaborator. His ability to apply artistic skills to commercial needs has aided us with many projects during the last 30 years. Dan has been a friend and an inspiration.

KSD IS 30! We're sharing some of the work and memories that have shaped the direction of our studio. We've been involved with community leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, engineers, manufacturers, architects, writers and many others on exciting projects in Somerset, in Kentucky and beyond. Celebrate 30 with us! #KSDturns30

Dan stone man poster WCX3173 WEB 1200

Poster and post cards promoting The Stone Man for Kentucky Opera.

Dan bear costume 1200

Bear costume from The Changeling and the Bear, part one of The Secret Commonwealth.

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Cover of the catalog for Ballads of the Barefoot Mind.

Dan Library night WCX9665 1200

The Bremen Town Musicians sculpture in front of the Pulaski County Library in Somerset, Kentucky. A project of Rivera-Dutton Sculpture Studio.


Friday, 30 September 2016
Published in Blog: Design
Written by

Amon's with giant donuts

Many of my early lessons did not come from a master of design.

They came from a master of donuts.

On January 18, 1951, my father gave my mother a bakery. It was her birthday gift, one she often told people kept her in a job her entire life. From an early age, my brothers and I learned to get up early and go to bed late, that hard work and making a quality product were required for success, and that it’s not enough just to make the product — you have to sell it.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Published in Blog: Studio Life
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Today was a perfect day for a little high-definition drone video! Videographer Ramie Hutchison skillfully captured some beautiful aerial footage as part of a corporate video for one of our manufacturing clients.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015
Published in Blog: Studio Life
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Kirby Stephens in helmet getting ready to race.It is certainly not every client meeting that ends with go cart racing, but this sort of thing just emphasizes how much we enjoy our work!

KSD is developing a new name and brand, website and marketing solution for Visual Risk Technologies headquartered in Nashville. After a morning of concept presentations and photographing staff for the project, Kirby, Bill Jones and William Cox were invited to join the company in an afternoon of (relatively) high-speed laps at an indoor track. Much fun was had by all.

Thursday, 18 September 2014
Published in Blog: Life in General
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Saturday is the 25th anniversary of the Lake Cumberland Cleanup, a group effort by hundreds of folks all around the lake to rid our beautiful shorelines of everything from bottles and cans to old tires and used appliances (yes, appliances).

Friday, 29 August 2014
Published in Blog: Design
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Here is a look at the current state of the Virginia. These images are part of the documentation of this renovation project.

Friday, 11 July 2014
Published in Blog: Studio Life
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I am not a musician. Yet, here I sit with my Willie Nelson autographed Fender acoustic guitar. It was a gift from our friends (and clients) with the Master Musicians Festival earlier this year. At the MMF lineup launch party in March, Tiffany Bourne, president of the festival, and her board of directors surprised me and thanked me and the rest of the KSD team for our design and marketing efforts for the festival over the years.

Wednesday, 05 March 2014
Published in Blog: Studio Life
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“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” — Special Olympics oath

Brave in the attempt. It feels as though I’ve spent my life attempting to be brave. Too afraid of failure, or disappointment, or of what others might think of me to seize the day, I’ve often allowed thrilling opportunities to pass me by.

Friday, 30 August 2013
Published in Blog: Studio Life
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On occasion we need a little creative inspiration. This week our good friend and occasional collaborator, Dan Dutton, took the staff of KSD on a walking tour of an amazing private sculpture garden in development by Pulaski County attorney and art collector Richard Hay.

Friday, 21 June 2013
Published in Blog: Studio Life
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"A car battery, a real estate development, a glass of wine, an iPhone App, and, a urine test. What do each of these have in common?"

This was how Kirby began his lecture to the ELI (Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute) class of 2013 at the Center for Rural Development earlier this month.

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KSD is an award winning, full service design communication firm located in Somerset, Kentucky.

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    219 E. Mt. Vernon Street
    Somerset Kentucky 42501
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