Kirby Stephens Design

Kirby Stephens

Kirby Stephens

Creative Director/President, KSD Kinetic | Strategic | Design

Rhode Island School of Design
University of Kentucky

KSD carved pumpkins.

A few of the carved pumpkins at KSD on Halloween in previous years.

I'm a Halloween baby and over the years we've celebrated at KSD with costumes at work, pumpkin carving contests or masquerade parties. However, this year’s celebration holds more meaning.

During the last 30 days, the designers at the studio have shared memories and images of some of our favorite projects and people from the past 30 years; projects and people that have been essential to the formation and growth of KSD.

As the years have gone by I have been fortunate to learn a few lessons along the way.

Malcolm Grear portrait COX6703 1200

Malcolm Grear at The Center for Rural Development in 1998.

I enrolled as an undergraduate at the University of Kentucky in the fall of 1977 thinking I would eventually go to law school. By the summer of 1979 I had officially turned away from the idea of a legal career to a path in journalism. I landed a summer internship at The Commonwealth-Journal (a rural, community newspaper in my hometown) working in the copy editing and typesetting department.

One afternoon looking over the press release basket in the newsroom, I saw a release from the Veterans Administration (now the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) announcing the agency’s 50th anniversary. To commemorate the event, they had designed a new stamp that was being issued by the U.S. Post Office. Attached to the release was a color PR photo of the stamp sheet.

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.

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.

JACKSONVILLE, Fl. (November, 2013) — The Master Musicians Festival (MMF) held in July was recognized last night as the Southeast Tourism Society's Festival of the Year for 2013. The Somerset, Kentucky event topped competitors from 14 southern states.

"Celebrating 20 years of great music, lining up Willie Nelson and Family as the headline act, and now, winning this honor, the Master Musicians Festival Board of Directors couldn't be more proud," said Tiffany Bourne, president of MMF. "Continued support from community sponsors, our fans, and a fantastic group of musicians has made our festival what it is today!" 

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KSD is a results-oriented, full-service design, marketing and communication firm located in Somerset, Kentucky.

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  • KSD  Kinetic | Strategic | Design
    219 E. Mt. Vernon Street
    Somerset Kentucky 42501
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