A Bewitching Career Choice

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From the desk of Steve Bunnell:

Often, I get asked, “How did you get into the sign industry?” That’s a good question, I’ll try to keep it short… but it’s a long story.

Not to date myself, but growing up in the 60’s we watched some really classic TV shows. One that stood out to me was Bewitched. For those of you that don’t know the plot, it was about a witch named Samantha who meets and marries a mortal named Darrin Stephens. Well, Darrin worked for McMann & Tate – an advertising firm. I thought back then that this was what I wanted to do. No, not marry a witch for Pete’s sake – work at an advertising firm, pitching ideas and helping companies sell their products and services!

So, I graduated with a BFA in Advertising and Design. This degree is the most prestigious bachelor’s degree that you can receive in the visual arts. Besides all the core classes like color theory, composition, communications, art history, I also took photography, calligraphy, typography, painting, sculpture, serigraphy and illustration, plus of course all the classes in my concentration – advertising.

My first job out of college was drawing “planograms” for a major retail company. That was boring, and it wasn’t ‘advertising’ like I dreamt of. So, I quit the corporate job and started my own advertising company. It was rather successful, and I had developed a nice portfolio of logo designs, brochures and magazine ads. Unfortunately, the need for health benefits drove me back to the corporate world. But I never forgot how enjoyable it was to own my own business.

Time passed as I worked for small, independent companies and large, multi-national, billion-dollar conglomerates, climbing the traditional ladder, and earning an MBA along the way. I was very successful, but felt like a mindless drone who was just using my talent to help other people be even more successful. Once again, I had a choice to stay and be miserable or leave and pursue that dream. It was a difficult decision, but I’m happy I left to start KORT Sign Design. I still deal with corporations, but now they’re my clients and I’m the one providing direction and expertise while building my business.

So, not only am I now the “Darrin Stephens” of the sign world, I also get to use some basic building skills that I learned in high school. The back shop of the sign studio is a craftsman’s dream with saws, power tools, a paint booth and a CNC router, among other things. What’s not to love about the sign industry? Besides pitching ideas and then producing them, you get to see your hard work come to life all over town!

If you need ideas for your next sign project, call 763-432-7630. Ask for Darrin.

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