Steve Ramos Media Copywriter. Product Manager. Story Builder. Published in 'Fast Company' and 'QUARTZ.'

Steve Ramos Media

Steve Ramos Media is a marketing studio and manager of interactive design products. Founder Steve Ramos provides content marketing and story building services that help businesses grow. He has published numerous culture, design and innovation stories in ‘Fast Company,’ ‘New York Magazine’ and ‘QUARTZ.’

SR Media is a provider of content strategy and high-profile story building services that help businesses grow.

SR Media leads entrepreneurial teams on design, build and delivery of interactive design products.

SR Media Founder Steve Ramos and Sean C. Davis of Squirrel Stories are co-founders of the Cincinnati Podcast Festival and Good Discovery(s) Civic Design Festival.

Team members include Kailah Ware; Sunny Blu Art; Tamia Stinson; Style Sample; Whitney Dixon; Pixxel Designs; Sean C. Davis; Squirrel Stories; along with creative contractors.

SR Media Founder Steve Ramos has published numerous stories in ‘Fast Company,’ the world’s leading, progressive media brand with a focus on innovation.

SR Media Founder Steve Ramos is a repeat entrepreneur experienced at content strategy and high-profile story building services. Partner with us and ignite a spirit for innovation.

Phone: 513-295-4488 – Email: – Skype: steveramosmedia 

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Notable Work

  • CitiPlanIt


    CitiPlanIt –  Executive Summary – Founder Bio – White Paper Provided client services, project management, strategy and writing for CitiPlanIt,...

  • Cuddle


    Cuddle – Presentation Deck Provided client services, project management and writing for, a business intelligence platform. Deliverables included Presentation Deck...

  • The Procter & Gamble Company

    Branding, Experience Design

    The Procter & Gamble Company – Connect + Develop Summit Provided concept, design, writing and onsite support for The Procter & Gamble Company in support of its Connect...

  • Sprout Insight


    Sprout Insight – Capabilities Deck – Strategy Designed and delivered brand identity assets including Capabilities Deck, marketing collateral and Visual ID Board for consumer research consultancy...

  • Losant

    Branding, Experience Design, Interactive Marketing

    Losant Branded Pop-Up Shop Co-created with Losant Co-founders Brandon Cannaday and Charlie Key on marketing, onsite support, publicity, strategy and writing for a Branded Pop-Up Shop to promote...

  • Brink 2015.1 Technology Summit

    Branding, Experience Design

    Brink 2015.1 Co-created with Brink Institute Co-founder Celia Black on messaging, onsite support, writing and strategy in support of Brink 2015.1, a technology summit promoting Open Source...

  • Squire Systems


    Squire Systems – Launch Assets Provided UX/UI design, project management, strategy and writing for Squire Systems, an early stage. health tech startup. The...

  • Creative Future

    Branding, Experience Design

    Creative Future – Experience Design Co-created with Creative Future Executive Director Ruth Vitale and marketing staff on early identity, onsite support,...

  • Brewing Heritage Trail

    Branding, Interactive Marketing

    Brewing Heritage Trail – App – Content Management System – Website Provided project management, strategy and writing for The Brewery District...

  • Society of the Cincinnati Cobra

    Branding, Interactive Marketing

    Society of the Cincinnati Cobra – App – Community Programming – Interactive Marketing – Public Art – Website Providing project management, strategy and writing...

Idea Central


Total Quality Philosophy Focus on Innovation and Frontier Technology. High Customer Satisfaction and Value. High-Quality Content.

Total Quality Philosophy

Steve Ramos Media is a manager of interactive design products.

The Steve Ramos Media team embraces the concept of a total quality philosophy by emphasizing ideas, insights, and inspirations around innovation, frontier technology, and disruption in the marketing and media sectors.

Our mission remains focused on customer satisfaction. We deliver customer satisfaction by building, designing, and implementing an annual podcast festival in Cincinnati, Ohio, as well as a yearly, civic design festival called Good Discovery(s).

The Steve Ramos Media team produces six meetups throughout the year in support of our podcast and Good Discovery(s) tribes.

The Steve Ramos Media team also provides podcast creation, production, and market delivery services.

The Steve Ramos Media team produces multiple podcasts, including Squirrel Stories and Good Discovery(s).




  • Content Strategy 100%

  • Product Management 90%


I hired Steve to help me with my company’s product launch at the 2018 Startup Grind Conference in Silicon Valley.

Steve was an instrumental part of the planning, creative, PR and messaging leading up to the launch and helped quarterback the run of the show. Steve’s wide-ranging talents really helped create buzz, consistent messaging, and a solid tactical plan that led to a great launch. Best of all, he’s a pleasure to work with. – Paolo Dominguez, CEO | Managing Partner | Entrepreneur

Interactive Design Products Copywriting. Product Management. Story Building.

Interactive Design Products

Good Discovery(s) – Civic Design Festival – Year-Round Meetups – Podcasts

Good Discovery(s) is an interactive design product in the experience space that prioritizes purpose more than paychecks. That’s what sets us apart from design, marketing, and tech conferences with sessions on learning the latest Facebook algorithms. 

Good Discovery(s) civic design festival team.

The Good Discovery(s) festival is just one asset in a content ecosystem. There are digital assets, including website and two social media channels. There are free meetups throughout the year.

The core of Good Discovery(s) is a day-long festival experience offering four tracks with four sessions per track, three mainstage keynotes and an exhibition area featuring activations dedicated to social enterprise.

Good Discovery(s) connects attendees with presenting artists via brainstorms, interactive roundtables, and workshops. Our brainstorms, interactive roundtables, and workshops inspire attendees to utilize civic art, civic design, and civic tech.

The Good Discovery(s) podcast launches the third quarter of 2019. A progressive web app starts in the fourth quarter of 2019. Community blockchain technology will empower this progressive web app. All of these assets represent our concept of story building. Together, they powerfully connect members of our GD tribe.

The Good Discovery(s) team is diverse when it comes to gender, race, and age. We believe that a diverse team increases the chances of attracting a diverse community of customers and partners.

The Good Discovery(s) team embraces the spirit of a minimum viable product when it comes to materials and timelines. Our team is made up of entrepreneurs; so we naturally lean towards agile, lean and rapid design at the highest quality. Once you build an interactive design product in the spirit of a minimum viable product; you’re in a strong position to make the most of future budget increases.

SR Media and Sean C. Davis of Squirrel Stories are co-founders of the Cincinnati Podcast Festival and Good Discovery(s) civic design festival.

SR Media is based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In order to implement a Total Quality Philosophy, SR Media sources creative talent from its network of valued, independent contractors.


  • Product Management 100%

  • Copywriting 100%

Cincinnati Podcast Festival

The Cincinnati Podcast Festival team produces an annual podcast festival in Cincinnati, Ohio, as well as a yearly civic design festival called Good Discovery(s). The Cincy Podcast Festival team produces six meetups throughout the year in support of our podcast and Good Discovery(s) tribes.

The Cincy Podcast Festival team provides podcast creation, production, and market delivery services.

The Cincy Podcast Team produces multiple podcasts, including Squirrel Stories and Good Discovery(s).

Twitter: @CincyPodcast –  Facebook: Cincinnati Podcast Festival –  Website:

Copywriting Steve Ramos Media is a provider of content strategy and high-profile story building services.


Story Builder

Products include Content Strategy Guides. Festival Programming. Podcasts.

SR Media Founder Steve Ramos provides a unique content marketing and story building strategy that help businesses grow.

Media Relations Strategist

Products include Earned Media Strategy. Events. Messaging. Research.

SR Media Founder Steve Ramos delivers a media relations strategy that helps businesses grow. Ramos writes unique content marketing from messaging to media pitches.

Influencer Relations Strategist

Products include Blogging. Influencer Relations Strategy. Publicity.

SR Media Founder Steve Ramos delivers influencer relations strategy that helps businesses grow. Ramos writes unique content from blogs to social media posts.

Public Relations Strategist

Products include Earned Media Strategy. Press Releases.  Publicity Outreach.

SR Media Founder Steve Ramos delivers a public relations strategy that helps businesses grow. Ramos writes unique content from earned media strategy to press releases.

Community Builder

Products include Content Strategy. Events. Publicity.

SR Media Founder Steve Ramos provides a unique community building strategy that helps businesses grow.

Interactive Story Builder

Products include Activations. Festival Programming. Podcasts.

SR Media Founder Steve Ramos provides a unique interactive story building strategy that help businesses grow and impacts communities for good.

Podcast Builder

Products include Podcast Strategy Guides. Podcast Festival Programming. Podcast Scriptwriting. Podcasts.

SR Media Founder Steve Ramos provides a unique podcast content and podcast strategy that help businesses grow. Ramos is the co-founder of a podcast festival based in Cincinnati.


Steve expertly builds out products and stories at high levels of exposure, organization, and professionalism. – Jessica Hemmer, CEO | Entrepreneur | Technologist.

How I Helped Procter & Gamble Design an Onsite Experience that Inspires Agile Innovation connect + develop Partner Summit

How I Helped Procter & Gamble Design an Onsite Experience that Inspires Agile Innovation

The thought leadership ignites behind the curtain, actually, past the green room door of the John G. Smale auditorium, the massive event space in the main tower of Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) Cincinnati, Ohio world headquarters.

As the creative provider of design, emcee support, strategy and writing for the 2014 connect + develop Partner Summit, it’s inspiring sharing conversations and ideas with my fellow P&G vendors like Tim Hammond, Durham University; Andrew Backs, former P&G staffer and founder of startup and brand consultancy, Pilot 44, and Jayson Yuan, with the online investment platform, Circle Up.

While the Smale auditorium is a familiar home to many P&G staffers for its company meeting, a creative team including designer D.J. Trischler, P&G staffer Rick Mason and I help transform it into a pop-up innovation conference via 20-odd TED-like talks, all of them with the goal of attracting, finding and igniting innovation opportunities with the company’s strategic partners.

One by one, we take to the stage to discuss their innovation case studies and concepts in front of hundreds of visitors from P&G’s global network of valued vendors. Listening to Backs and Hammond share their concepts around co-creation and developing operations that support innovation 24/7, it’s clear that they fully embrace the summit’s title, Innovating in the 21st Century: Building the Unexpected to Create Value Together.

SR Media helped Procter & Gamble design an onsite experience that inspires agile and rapid innovation.

Sharing a Spirit for Discovery

Looking back approximately 130 years to Cincinnati’s Mill Creek Valley and P&G’s innovative Ivorydale Industrial Complex, where production of Ivory soap began in 1886, a Spirit for Discovery becomes the core theme in support of the connect + develop Partner Summit.

It’s this Spirit for Discovery that helps ignite innovative products like Olay Regenerist, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and SWASH, a home clothing restorer and alternative to dry cleaning.

An event as unique as connect + develop also has the ability to make a long-standing impact on attendees because its sponsor company’s core messages of discovery are honest and organic.

Combine these messages with the day’s presentations around open innovation, increasing agility and speed in one’s business models and the combinations are compelling and powerful.

Agility. Speed. Managers want a platform that speeds commercialization. That’s the call to action from Andre Lee, CEO & Founder of Technology Reserve, an open product development platform that delivers the latest tech to enterprises of all scales.

“I believe in the democratization of innovation,” Lee tells the Smale Auditorium audience. “I also believe this is how we work and create in today’s shared economy.”


SR Media Helped Procter & Gamble Design an Onsite Experience that Inspires Agile Innovation.

John Scarchilli, Science Communications, P&G, highlights the importance of agile, rapid product development by presenting the Disney Magic Timer App by Oral-B, a unique product to make dental health fun for kids.

More importantly, Scarchilli’s compelling story behind the co-creation of the Disney Magic Timer App inspires the attendees to work consistently at moving the operations needle when it comes innovation.

Finally, by the day’s end, after shared presentations and private negotiations, everyone at the connect + develop Partner Summit agrees that embracing a spirit of discovery enables all of us to do our best good possible and that drives us to deliver the best consumer good(s) possible.

Learn how SR Media can build, design and implement a unique experience for your enterprise. Contact or call 1-513-295-4488.

How SR Media Helped CreativeFuture Showcase the Value of Storytelling SR Media provided writing, marketing, strategy, onsite and social media support to promote CreativeFuture at Tribeca Film Festival.

How SR Media Helped CreativeFuture Showcase the Value of Storytelling


It takes a community of engaged professionals, a powerful call to action and a global forum like the Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) to change entertainment systems.

Executives from CreativeFuture, a support network for content creators and entertainment professionals, make powerful use of the global media presence at the 14th TFF to present a series of public presentations featuring some of CreativeFuture’s most accomplished members.

My contributions, including writing, strategy and onsite support, help CreativeFuture ignite TFF attendees around the essential themes that storytellers have high value and it’s important to protect their precious work against online piracy.

One CreativeFuture panel, Nobody Has a Job Until You Type ‘The End; focuses on protecting the value of entertainment writers in the digital era of content sharing, free websites and open-source software. Other talks, Dollar$ for Doc$: Balancing Passion and Impact with a Sustainable Career and Storytelling in the Digital Economy, look at emerging digital platforms for original, non-fiction projects. The final presentation, A Discussion on the Challenges and Opportunities Facing Indie Film Producers, captures the core mission driving CreativeFuture Executive Director Ruth Vitale and her coast-to-coast staff. Their matter-of-fact goal is eliminating content piracy on a global scale. It would be the ultimate victory for entertainment content creators no matter their medium or professional background.

After leading specialty film companies for years, Vitale continues to source her valued relationships with artists and entertainment professionals to identify and solve the financial challenges facing storytellers.

Joining us on this project are writer/producer James V. Hart (Epic, Crossbones, Hook, Contact, August Rush, Bram Stoker’s Dracula), producer and CEO, Killer Films, Christine Vachon (Still Alice, Boys Don’t Cry); Susan Margolin, President Docurama/Cinedigm; author Robert Levine (Free Ride), producer and StarstreamMedia CEO Kim Leadford (Lee Daniel’s The Butler), J. Todd Harris, Producer and CEO of Branded Pictures Entertainment and documentary directors Cynthia Wade (The Gnomist, Shelter Dogs, Mondays at Racine) and Pamela Yates (Granito: How Nail a Dictator and When the Mountains Tremble) as well as Bloomberg Associates (BA) Principal Katherine Oliver. Together, these entertainment thought leaders help Vitale ignite crowds at Spring Studios, TFF’s Lower Manhattan hub.

More importantly, the CreativeFuture community of industry veterans inspire and inform the many emerging filmmakers and writers in attendance about specific issues from copyright protection under changing European Union trade pacts to new funding models available to documentary filmmakers.

Basically, when you’re fighting to protect the value of storytellers, you’re also helping these emerging artists attain sustainable and successful careers.

“You have to be entrepreneurial,” Harris tells the rapt crowd. “You can’t just be filmmakers.”

The shared advice including Levine’s analysis of crowdfunding and its challenges lead to Oliver wrapping the afternoon panels with an inspiring call to action.

“Invest your time in CreativeFuture,” Oliver shouts out to the TFF crowd. “Do your part. Change consumer behavior. Spread the word that creatives have value.”

That Call to Action comes to life three days after the panels when I assist Brett Williams, Director, Creative Community and Youth Outreach at CreativeFuture, in presenting the Student Visionary Award and a $5,000 cash prize to director Ninja Thyberg of Sweden, for her short film Catwalk, about a young girl dealing with peer pressure from fashion-obsessed classmates.

“I’ll definitely remember this along with my first Tribeca screening,” Thyberg tells us backstage at the awards ceremony. “It’s an exciting and challenging time to make films. Film is changing. Media is changing. Yesterday, I tried virtual reality for the first time and I felt like I experienced the future. But I’m committed to the story and best way to tell stories and get its message out to audiences.”

Thankfully, she has Vitale and CreativeFuture in her corner.

CreativeFuture at the Tribeca Film Festival


April 2015


SR Media provided writing, marketing, strategy, onsite and social media support to promote the CreativeFuture Tea Talks and Awards Presentation at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival. My collaboration helped amplify CreativeFuture’s good work as a thought leader for addressing content piracy.

How a Branded Pop Up Uses Interactivity to Showcase IoT Tech SR Media provided Marketing, Onsite Support, Strategy and Writing.

How a Branded Pop Up Uses Interactivity to Showcase IoT Tech

For a Holiday Pop Up, tech startup Losant sources Christmas slapstick to introduce everyday people to IoT platforms


DATELINE: Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati, OH

A collection of IoT products representing holiday experiences from trimming the tree to cooking family meals generates ear-to-ear grins from visitors to Losant’s Holiday Pop Up. There’s also plenty of laughter thanks to interactive displays inspired by fan-favorite, holiday comedies.

Wrapped with festive design and playful cheer, the How the Internet of Things Saves Christmas Pop Up may be the most playful storefront throughout Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine (OTR) entertainment and retail district. Charlie Key, Co-Founder of IoT platform company Losant, still can’t believe how the interactive marketing project came together in a matter of weeks.

More than a holiday retail space, How the Internet of Things Saves Christmas is a public debut for Losant, a Cincinnati-based Internet of Things (IoT) platform company working towards the release of its initial development kits and platforms.

I collaborated with Losant co-founders Brandon Cannaday and Charlie Key on marketing, onsite support and writing on the Iot Saves Christmas Branded Pop Up.

It’s impressive working alongside the tight-knit, Losant development team. Onsite, they install a series of low-fi interactions using smart paint and speakers to highlight how accessible, affordable and available IoT installations can be to consumers no matter their tech IQ. Offsite and online, they continue to polish the software to support the Pop Up’s activations.

The Pop Up’s theme, as explained by Losant co-founders Brandon Cannaday and Key, captures the project perfectly. They want the Holiday Pop Up to be a fun and vibrant space for everyday people to experience the benefits of IoT products and technologies via interactive tree lights and smart appliances.

“The Pop Up is a fun way to allow people to learn about and experience how the Internet of Things can add value to our lives,” Key tells the team.

Cannaday and Key also want to excite and educate passersby that IoT products and services are for consumers as much as large, retail, travel and consumer packaged goods corporations.

During the Pop Up’s three days of operation, visitors talk with the Losant team about what makes a Smart Home ‘smart’ and the best devices for climate control, security as well as audio and video entertainment systems.

The interactive project is also a good opportunity for Cannaday and Key to remind visitors that OTR is Cincinnati’s startup hub as well as a popular entertainment district. Key and Cannaday’s first company, Modulus, came to life just a block down Vine Street. Meanwhile, Losant also looks to grow in OTR.

Providing onsite support to the Losant team, it’s inspiring watching visitors interact with the twinkling lights and asking Losant developers how they can implement IoT tech at their own homes.

Listening to these animated conversations between experienced software developers and IoT immigrants, the success of the Pop Up becomes clear. Losant is not showcasing their proprietary tech at a trade show to corporate IT professionals. They’re polishing their message to everyday consumers at a public space.

By convincing people that IoT is an asset accessible to everyone no matter their tech IQ, well, then, the Holiday Pop Up storefront has done its job.

A night out during the holidays to meet family and friends at popular bars and restaurants often leads to good times.

Thanks to its unique Pop Up storefront, Cannaday, Key and their Losant teammates help make holiday get-togethers more memorable than ever. They want their Pop Up visitors think about what’s next for their smart homes and connected devices involving IoT. If you can do that with a laugh, a smile and as sense of wonderment, well, then How the Internet of Things Saves Christmas Pop Up has done its job.

I collaborated with Losant co-founders Brandon Cannaday and Charlie Key on marketing, onsite support and writing on How the Internet of Things Saves Christmas Branded Pop Up.

Let’s talk about Interactive Marketing projects that can help your business.

Email: steve@steveramosmedia Phone: 513-295-4488 Skype: steveramosmedia

How I Helped Brink Transform Conferences in the Live-Streaming Era design an experience that ignites happenstance

How I Helped Brink Transform Conferences in the Live-Streaming Era

How I Helped Brink Transform Conferences in the Live-Streaming Era


DATELINE: Palm Desert, CA

When the goal is to build and deliver a tech conference that looks beyond the mainstream and embraces the concept of Open Source Innovation, one of the results is a panel like no other.

Sitting onstage to my left, G. Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer and Director, Center for SETI (Search for extraterrestrial intelligence) research. Standing next to Shostak is Paul Hynek, a partner in Avatron Smart Park, an immersive theme park developer, talking about advances in motion capture storytelling while working at his former employer, Giant Studios.

The title of the panel I’m moderating is ‘Aliens and Avatars: How Hollywood Fantasy and SETI Reality Intersect in the Search for Life,’ but Shostak and Hynek take the discussion to new heights. Before long, they’re talking about big data, the fluid inspiration between Hollywood moviemaking and outer space research and how unexpected partnerships often lead to the greatest discoveries.

  • Embrace Open Source Innovation

Brink2015.1, the inaugural summit of Brink Institute, a Seattle-based, technology think-tank, is underway and already the effects of Open Source Innovation are taking root at its Desert Palm, CA locale.

Over multiple conversations leading to the night before the June conference at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort, Brink co-founder and Singularity University marketing leader Celia Black repeats her desire to embrace the spirit of the Creative Entrepreneur and ignite new discoveries by bringing together experimenters, futurists and technologists from diverse industries.

My writing, strategy and onsite support help design what Black always imagined Brink to be: a community of diverse experimenters, futurists and technologists brought together by the concept of Open Source Innovation.

When I reconnect with Black and her institute colleagues in Desert Palm for street team support, including moderating four panels, it’s exciting to watch our strategy come to life.

Many conferences strive for depth within their respective ecosystems, promising attendees a chance to network with their industry’s leaders, at a premium cost worthy of their roster of presenters.

By stepping away from the mainstream, Brink2015.1 is an experiential risk-taker and a chance to prove that opportunities for game-changing discoveries increase when you put technologists from vastly different industries, whether A.I. or Life Enhancement, onstage.

  • Embrace the Spirit of the Creative Entrepreneur

Other driving forces behind Brink2015.1 are the spirit of the creative entrepreneur and the goal of creating a space for experimentation.

Ignite a conversation between Shostak and Hynek and see what happens. Complement them with technologists Jim Clark and Vivek Wadhwa discussing accelerated innovation, fast futures and questioning the value of tech forecasting.

The results are inspirational sparks that remind the diverse futurists in attendance that although we may work in different industries, the creative umbrella we share is a belief in the power of the next disruption and how our shared stories help ignite that game-changing disruption.

As Black told the Brink 2015.1 audience at the close of the three-day summit, “you have to tell stories.”

More than the latest software or social apps, stories are the greatest assets a creative entrepreneur has for advancing his or her game-changing ideas.

For many of the Brink 2015.1 attendees, storytelling also helps move the needle regarding consumer perceptions around new technologies involving A.I. and life extension.

There are always going to be new digital tools and additional platforms for engaging audiences. However, nothing inspires a community like great stories.

  • Embrace Happenstance

SR Media provided messaging, onsite support, strategy and writing for the Brink 2015.1 Technology Summit.

It’s noteworthy that Brink Institute is building its debut summits in an Era of Live Streaming via social apps like Snap and Facebook Live and software engineers busy developing VR conferences and festivals.

Throughout the weekend, many of us share Brink 2015.1 stories digitally and use these stories to build a global community of Brink advocates and partners.

All of us in attendance at Brink 2015.1 understand that we live, work and create digitally and globally. Yet, spending time together at the conference reminds us that offline and onsite inspiration matter. In fact, the ideas we co-create, onsite grow in impact thanks to live streaming.

What’s key to making our onsite inspiration red-hot is happenstance; those unexpected exchanges between creative entrepreneurs that spark the innovative discoveries that make live-streaming apps worthwhile.

It’s the main thing software developers have not attained when it comes to debuting that VR version of the must-attend festival. How do you build an algorithm capable of reproducing those chance conversations and encounters that ignite game-changing discoveries?

In the case of Brink 2015.1, how does one use Open Source Innovation to increase the potential for positive happenstance?

During the opening night of Brink 2015.1, thought leaders including, Eric Shuss, CEO of cognitive robotics software firm, CogBotics, Hynek, and Jim Karkanias, a senior research executive at Microsoft, share laughs and insights well past a nighttime screening and panel discussion on writer/director Alex Garland’s tech thriller Ex Machina and its portrayal of A.I.

As the conversation continues offstage and interacts with numerous Brink 2015.1 attendees, there’s no question that powerful inspirations often occur via unlikely conversations.

By the end of the weekend, after shared presentations and offstage conversations, it’s happenstance that stands out as the key driver of next, great discoveries.

Black and I also agree that it’s happenstance that can separate Brink summits from mainstream conferences that place value on sticking to strict schedules.

Work is already underway on creating Beta and Pre-Event excitement for future Brink summits and continuing to discover the best festival format for sharing stories

Most of all, strategy is underway designing a conference model that best ignites happenstance.

After all, one of the many things we learned at Brink 2015.1 is that happenstance ignites the most impactful stories.

Interested in transforming your trade show summit or festival experience?

Email: Phone: 513-295-4488 Skype: steveramosmedia

Creative sparks of inspiration courtesy of a design conference named ‘OFFF’ and an art museum exhibition titled ‘ON!’


The theater lights switch on; the psychedelic music thumps to life and her trancelike, digital designs of flora and animal life flash rapidly across a cinema-sized screen as graphic artist Sara Blake walks on-stage the middle venue of Cincinnati’s sprawling Aronoff Center for the Arts.

Blake may appear tiny and delicate like one of the celebrity Mara sisters but her work roars with CGI complexity, dazzling combinations of colors and beautifully rendered lines that reflect her passion for nature.

For the next sixty minutes on this snowy March morning, Blake brings pop art and dreamlike imagery to an audience waist deep in the consumer brands business and the impact is transformative.

The sell-out crowd fills the auditorium for OFFF, a daylong conference about art, innovation and design featuring leading creative disruptors like Brendan Dawes and James Victore and organized by Barcelona-based artist and OFFF co-founder Héctor Ayuso.

The branding professionals in the audience lean in during Blake’s TED-like presentation because many of them share similar career dynamics with the 28-year-old artist.

Sending forth a steady stream of images from behind her laptop, Blake talks about the bridges she’s building across creative communities as an in-demand freelance illustrator for consumer clients like Nike and Ford, her day job as an art director for a Fortune 500 corporation as well as an exhibiting artist.

Blake is also part of the entrepreneur eco system via ZSO NYC, her Manhattan-based boutique introducing her illustrated work on a limited edition silk scarf with more fashion accessories planned.

Blake aka ZSO references Samuel Beckett and Silicon Valley start-ups to inspire the OFFF audience to “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” The words resonate with Blake who practices fearlessness daily, from being on-stage now to starting her fashion business.

“What I love about it is when you fold up the scarf it’s just form and color and texture,” Blake tells us the following day. “Then, when you do wear it, you unfold it and you see the reveal. I just love that it’s this illustration that exists outside of a wall and outside a computer screen and living someone’s life with them, which is really cool. It’s 3D that uses a lot of textures and I’m putting it on another texture, which is the silk. I never set out to do a fashion line or anything with fabric but it just sort of happened.”

OFFF pulls Blake away from rehab work on her new West Village Manhattan home and brings her on-stage alongside friends and fellow New York artists Jon Burgerman and Joshua Davis. Blake’s OFFF weekend also includes her first museum show, ON! Handcrafted Digital Playgrounds at Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) and curated by Ayuso as a sixth-month, interactive extension of the one-day OFFF symposium.

ON! Handcrafted Digital Playgrounds includes work by Blake as well as artists from both sides of the Atlantic including Spanish design siblings Juan and Alejandro Mingarro, co-founders of the Barcelona design studio Brosmind, who create a Pop Art-inspired, life-size pedal car for the show, and James Paterson, a Montreal-based designer, animator and artist who crafts a sprawling sculpture out of paper airplanes as well as a work station so visitors can make their own.

True to the show’s themes of play and interaction with museum visitors, Blake interprets three of her digital illustrations into puzzle pieces and the main illustration of a butterfly for the game tabletop for an installation titled “Primary Colors,” inviting people to work shoulder-to-shoulder and assemble one of the more difficult puzzle they’re likely to ever see.

In a nearby gallery, Blake also collaborates with Davis on another installation that allows visitors to use a prototype Leap Motion 3D gesture control device to manipulate and control video projections of Blake’s ten abstract designs (one for each finger). With visitors sweeping their hands back and forth like ninja yogis, the impressive results are unique, momentary acts of artistic creation and a mix of what museumgoers create via body movement with Blake’s original designs.

Slowly, steadily, with each new visitor, Blake’s drawings and final digital compositions experience a new life and inspire all the creative people in attendance to embrace the hybrid qualities in their own work.

“I think both pieces I have in the exhibition are like nothing that I have ever done before,” Blake adds over coffee at the adjacent 21c Museum Hotel. “Usually my output is just a flat image. Sometimes I never even print them out. I only see them on the screen. So it’s great to be able to have two pieces that are in a space and people can interact with and that are two layers of something. I have never done before. Plus the fact that it’s in Cincinnati and I did not have the work officially planned out before I left New York is very exciting for me. I love how Hector, Josh and I figured everything out as we were setting up for the exhibition today. I think you have to let the space dictate what the work is going to be and let the audiences dictate what they’re going to be. You have to relinquish control a little bit.”

Blake shares easily and openly about her techniques and inspirations both digitally with fans via her website’s blog and Twitter feed as well as in person. She talks about growing up in Richmond, Virginia and like many New York transplants how she couldn’t wait to get to Gotham, first as a New York University graphic design student and now as a working artist.

Her West Village home also functions as her studio and she shows photos of the intimate space to prove just how much good work can come from tight quarters.

At her home studio, Blake also maintains an easy juxtaposition between the corporate branding work and her personal artwork. For every client challenge, like trying to get the likeness of Lebron James just right for Nike House of Hoops store on 34th Street or a collaboration with her singer/songwriter sister for a leather goods designer, she’s able to immediately brush the work aside and reach for something more personal like the logo for the 2010 TEDx Brooklyn conference or her ongoing series of typography, which as we speak is up to the letter “C,” drawings that are natural and realistic with a hint of the avant-garde.

Blake talks passionately about her love for drawing animals and how with her private work she lets go and lets her drawings decide the journey. Hers is a natural work grounded in realistic details; something closer to the Neo-Expressionists, perhaps inspired by frequent afternoons at the Guggenheim looking at paintings by Anselm Kiefer. The point is her work balance means by the end of the day she’s no longer bound by corporate standards of marketing and she can tackle new projects like her participation in ON!

After coffee, Blake and I return to the CAC in time for an opening night lecture by Davis and to watch the crowds streaming into the museum galleries. The next day, she continues her whirlwind arts weekend with a quick trip to SXSW to participate in the Cut/Paste/Grow crowd-sourced, live design show before returning to New York to prepare for an upcoming show at Philadelphia’s Slingluff Gallery and reboot with her corporate clients.

Standing aside and watching visitors stop, pick up a handful of puzzle pieces and get to work on “Primary Colors,” Blake soaks in her first exposure to the museum world. At the other end of the floor, larger crowds take turns using the Leap Motion 3D controller to create swirling wall murals based on her designs.

Watching people interact with Blake’s installations for the first time, ON! Handcrafted Digital Playgrounds grows in its scale and ambition and yes, utter playfulness. It’s transformative and inspiring to watch artists like Blake make creative shifts and experience self-innovation. After all, the very essence of creativity is to try something new no matter the risk.