New Website, Newsletter And A Slight Pivot

TopDog has been in business now for fourteen years, and twelve of those have been in California. When I originally ventured out on my own — all those years ago in Iowa — I was at a critical point in my career. I wanted to continue progressing as an illustrator, but in order for that to happen I needed to gain more control over the projects I worked on and the people I worked with. After all, my work was getting better. And I wanted the chance to work with the best people in the business. I’ve always been one who feeds off of other people’s energy, and I knew this would be a chance to work with interesting companies and inspirational people.

 

Manifest Destiny

Within the first couple of years I was regularly making trips to the Bay Area to go mountain biking with a close friend of mine. I was blown away by the entrepreneurial spirit in Silicon Valley. It was during late 90s — the dot com heyday — and everyone had big ideas and huge plans. I had friends working for startups, others were plotting their next career move, and everyone had a list of ventures to try if the current one didn’t work out.

But regardless of how busy they were, they always made time for outdoor recreation. Things were different there. It was all about progress, innovation, and taking advantage of the lifestyle that the Bay Area provided. I thrived on the positive energy and knew a move out west would be great for my business and a welcomed lifestyle enhancement.

So in 2000 I moved to Silicon Valley. And I’ve been feeding off that energy ever since. Not only has this helped me grow as a visual artist, it's taught me an enormous amount about business and the marketing it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur. I also take this knowledge and apply it to the projects I’m working on with my clients.

 

And Now There's a Slight Pivot

Over the years I’ve also realized it's not about the quantity of projects we're working on, but the quality. With that in mind I’ve learned to be more selective and actually curate the work we take on. This not only helps us produce better work, it helps us focus on clients who seek us out because they know we have a unique skill set.

Now we're taking all that experience and all the knowledge we’ve gained over our fourteen years and making a slight pivot — we’re putting a heavier emphasis on visual storytelling. This still involves cutaways and step-by-step illustrations, but it also means a larger focus on creating infographics for the technology industry as well as medical device companies that have unique and complex stories to tell. Oftentimes this involves their own differentiation and how they approach an existing problem in a unique way. And this takes skill. Unique stories aren't the easiest ones to tell. After all, these companies are doing something that hasn't been done before. And whether it’s a seasoned company or a startup looking for cash, I’ve found they can really benefit from having an outside perspective and someone with my mindset when approaching a complex problem.

And that’s why they hire us.

So, it's our job to come in, have a discovery meeting with all the decision makers, and figure out how to break their story down into the simplest form. Then we go back to our office and create the visuals they need to tell that story in half the time they could before. I always tell people, if you can then tell your story to your neighbor in a couple minutes, then I've done my job and together we've been successful. Because if you can tell your story quickly, then you're also telling it effectively—and it’s your story that generates sales or secures funding if you’re on a roadshow!

 

Let’s Stay in Touch

With this in mind, I want to welcome you to our first newsletter. If you’re receiving this, then chances are during the course of the last fourteen years we’ve either worked together or we’ve talked about a project. I hope you’ll stay on our emailing list, as we plan to send this out every couple of months. This will keep you up to date on our new projects, latest happenings and the occasional self-promotional piece that we’ve completed just for fun.

I also hope you’ll take a chance to review our new website. It’s been a year in the making and not only includes our latest work, but a little more information about our approach and the process we go through to accomplish our projects. Also feel free to share any thoughts you may have on the comments sections throughout or site.

Thanks, and we hope to hear from you soon.