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Have you heard the motto, “Leaders are readers?” It surmises that great leadership arises from learning and applying the ideas and principles written by other great leaders. It assumes that leaders practice and embody humility because they are willing to admit what they don’t know and open up books, websites and media publications to discover the answers.

Designers can experience that seem effect of leadership. It begins when we, as designers, admit that there are others in our field better than us. Guess what? It’s true, none of us ever reach the apex. There is always more to learn, more to discover and more to attempt.

At Pure Fusion Media, my motto (and what I teach my team) is to: always be growing so you can always be innovating. That’s what’s great about design. What we glean from other designers becomes the new creative bar we then attempt to vault over with the next brand, the next website deign or the next advertising campaign we take on.

Probably one of my favorite examples what i will call, “reciprocal creativity,” is one of my own designs developed for an incredible Poet, Artist, Author and Studio Stylist, Michael Tyler. Michael is, in his own right, a spectacular designer and visual creator among a score of other talents. When he came to Pure Fusion Media to develop his personal branding, I knew that I had to create something even more memorable that he could create on his own. The solution? Learn from others.

At that moment, I was studying and enthralled by a French designer named Fabien Barral. His incredibly artistic, watercolor-deep and compositing-rich work is so unique, refreshing and counter cultural. It is also not the common style of any of the PFM team. But inspiration can lead to incredible innovation. After studying and admiring Barrll’s style, I took my learning and innovated my own conceptualizations.

The final branding result is a powerful amalgam of Barral’s composing style, with PFM’s unique way of seeing design and layout. It may be our most graphic branding. It has often considered a brand favorite of many of our clients. I humbly agree.


That’s the gift that we, as designers, have been given. Inspiration from better artists is all around us, if we are willing to admit it, and learn from others. At PFM, we are confident designers, but we’re not arrogant. We don’t force our style on our clients. In fact, we don’t really have a “style.” Our “style” is redeveloped with every client, because every client’s vision, mission and culture is different. If you read our PRAISE page, you’ll notice a continual thread of inspiration and humility, intermingled with comments on our design abilities.  

Leaders are readers and Designers are innovators… provided the creativity and humility are present. We continue to grow and thrive at Pure Fusion Media, because we aren’t the best, we just continue to learn from the best… whoever that best might be in that moment. Who knows, maybe we are being studied and emulated by other great firms? Regardless, we will always be learning, because we always want to be the best… at least in the minds of our clients.