A couple of years ago, Linda Broadfoot—who had just been hired as our new director of marketing and business development—asked a bunch of people (our friends, current and former clients, people at other ad agencies, our own employees) what they thought about when they thought about Well Done Marketing.

The discovery mission had two purposes: One: to help Linda learn about her new employer—for whom she was about to become a very important representative—from a variety of perspectives. And two: to provide a foundation of research for Well Done as we set out to more clearly define our market position.

Some of what we learned was surprising, but we mostly got the feedback we expected. For example, we weren’t shocked to find out that a lot of people thought of Well Done as a “writing” ad agency. After all, our owner and president, Ken Honeywell, is well known in the market as a copywriter. And our creative team has always been stacked with experienced writers—more than any other agency in Indy, as far as I know.

It was reasonable, then, for people to view us as an agency that places an uncommonly high value on writing. But it was unfortunate, if not exactly unreasonable, that many of those people also assumed that we prize writing over design.

That’s not the case. Like any self-respecting full-service ad agency, we know that great creative work can only happen when copywriters and art directors work collaboratively in an environment where their contributions are equally valued. That’s what we strive for, and what we always have strived for.

Sarah Stewart

We’ll miss you, Sarah!

Why am I writing about this now? A couple of reasons. First, our longtime art director, Sarah Stewart, recently left her post at Well Done to stay home with her new son, River. Sarah was a huge part of our creative department, handling art direction on nearly every major account that came through our doors for the past four years. Along with Stephanie Feller, our senior web designer, Sarah helped us raise our game as we evolved from a scrappy creative services shop into a pretty heavy-hitting full-service ad agency.

Having cut her teeth as an art director at Publicis (where she shone as the main design force behind the Simon Property Group account), Sarah gave us a high level of design savvy and professional maturity right when we needed it. It translated into beautiful work for dozens of Well Done clients, my favorite of which is the 2014 Wabash Valley Annual Report—a piece I love because it epitomizes Sarah’s ability to find beauty in subject matter that a lesser designer might write off as dull, and therefore not worthy of a deeper look:

 

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We’ll miss Sarah and everything she has brought to the table during her time here. But her contributions to Well Done will stick with us, serving as both as a reminder of and a testament to the importance of great design. And they’ll inspire as we aim to up our design game more than ever in 2016.

Speaking of 2016: It will be associate creative director Amy McAdams-Gonzales’s first full year at Well Done. If you live in Indy and you care about design at all, you know Amy’s name. It’s her personal mission to build the best creative team in Indianapolis here—and if anyone in town can do it, she can (and I’m not just saying that because she’s my wife).

I’ll end with a confession: Four or five years ago, there might have been a kernel—just a microscopic morsel—of truth in the idea that Well Done was an agency where writers called most of the creative shots. But thanks to the foundation that Sarah built—and the trail that Amy (and the rest of our creative team) is blazing—Well Done is positioning itself to do some really exceptional creative work in 2016—the kind that can only happen when talented and inspired writers and designers are working, as the great Stevie Wonder once said, “together in perfect harmony.”