Monthly Archives: September 2014

Our Dear Leader

carrie simmonsWow this summer has flown by. Don’t know about you all, but it’s been lovely here at New Ground. Projects continue to flow in and keep us busy, but Carrie recently took a little time out of her busy (i.e. crazy) schedule to do an interview with AIGA Vermont. Below is a few highlights from her interview.  Check out the full interview at


“We believe in a collaborative process, sharp focus, bold ideas, amazing outcomes, changing minds, changing lives, and [the fact] that everything is funnier with a Scottish accent.”

What does design mean to you?

Expression. Whether it’s a new logo or website, I seek out creative and authentic ways to express the meaning behind each piece. Design is also a process for me. I value and enjoy the dynamic collaboration and relationship building that goes into design. Finally, design has to have meaning. It can’t be just a “job.”

As a designer in Vermont, how do you draw inspiration from your surroundings?

I spend more time thinking about the concept, and then actually designing it. This involves a lot sketching and getting away from the office. Living in Vermont makes such a difference in my designs. For example, checking out the many local art galleries, looking at the wonderful architecture, and getting outdoors (hiking, biking, and swimming) stokes my creativity. I also love living in a small community in southern Vermont; surrounding myself with differing perspectives and opinions and building new relationships and partnerships.

What is the philosophy and driving force behind your successful career?

My philosophy is Work Hard, Play Hard, and Laugh a Lot (WHPHLL)! Relationships are important to me, and I believe in doing business in a way that respects, strengthens, and brings joy to everyone involved. I try to be creative in everything that I do with my business, family, friends, and hobbies. I see it as a lifestyle inspiring creativity. Because of this, I have three leading principles: relationships, opportunity, and value.

Describe your creative process.

It starts with a conversation to discuss each client’s goals, audiences, current brand, tone, and potential needs. Then, it’s all about the research: looking into current materials and research of my client’s sector or industry. Next, I start creating and sketching concepts and refining them and getting feedback from my team. Then, it’s presentation time. This is my favorite part of the process: getting to explain my intention and thoughts behind the design. From here, it’s about listening to the client, so I can refine it to the best possible outcome. The process leads to new and real insights into clients’ organizations — the process is an outcome. Having an A-Team is crucial!

Describe the most collaborative team you’ve been part of for a project.

The New Ground Creative team, by far! We work as a collaborative team to research, concept, design, and market our clients.

For example, New Ground Creative recently worked with Morningside Shelter, a safe place for homeless adults and families that serve Windham County. 2014 marks their 35th year of service. Morningside came to us to create their annual report and wanted to bring their 35-year milestone into the piece. We wanted a way to engage the community much more broadly and on a deeper level.

The New Ground team met with Morningside staff to re-envision their annual report. From the conversations came the “riff,” one idea leading to another. It was at this point the singular “annual report” became more of an active, participatory campaign that engaged community members throughout the entire year. The annual report became “The Game of Giving Back.” Without the strong, playful collaboration between Morningside staff and New Ground, we would not have been able to create the engaging design that we did.

What do you do when you’re not designing?

Traveling (anywhere & everywhere), buying vintage clothes, eating lots of ice cream, singing and playing guitar, camping, swimming, meeting new people, laughing as much as possible and napping.