Russ Kern has over 32 years of experience in marketing and advertising. He is a freelance graphic designer and teaches at both the University of Akron and Malone University, and is an equity partner with 2 small startups.

After receiving a BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Akron in 1991, Russ began working for small graphic design shops. In 1992 he accepted a Graphic Designer position at Brubaker Design Group/Brubaker & Associates. In 1994 he moved to ST&P Marketing Communications in Fairlawn and remained there for 27 years—acting as Creative Director for his last 12.

Russ made his career by being versatile, always welcoming opportunities to learn new things, and never being afraid to dive into the unknown. He lives by the motto “the best way to get anything done is just to dig in and do it.” And, with that mindset, was able to establish and run his own graphic design studio—Kern Creative Design Associates—providing graphic design, illustration, animation (2D/3D), and web design and development for local businesses and agencies.

He was born in southern Ohio and currently resides in North Canton.

Education Experience

For the past several years, I have served as an Adjunct Instructor At the University of Akron, Malone University, and The University of Mount Union. Regardless of the class I taught, my responsibilities in each institution were to develop and deliver the curriculum, assess, advise, and grade student work, and maintain attendance & coursework progress.

At the University of Akron I teach Production 1 - and introductory course to Adobe Creative Cloud and the creation and preparation of print-ready art utilizing Adobe Illustrator & InDesign. Malone University was a similar class, and the University of Mount Union I taught Intro to Graphic Design - an entry level course covering the history, theories and basic principals of the graphic design field.

Adjunct Instructor
Kent State University - VCD
August 2023 - Present

  • Teaching Motion Design 1
  • Adjust and deliver provided lectures to fit my format
  • Tech Demos in After Effects to support the assignments as well as lecture material
  • Timely grading and feedback for all assignments

Adjunct Professor
University of Akron, Myers School of Art
August 2021 - Present

  • Teaching Production 1
  • Part-time position focusing on Adobe Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop
  • Prepare lectures, exercises and assignments that give students the base they need to succeed in their upper level courses
  • Provide constructive feedback on all assignments and objectively prepare both project & final grades

Adjunct Professor
The University of Mount Union
January 2023 - May 2023

  • Taught Intro to Graphic Design
  • Prepare lectures, exercises and assignments that give students a solid base they can build upon in their advanced level courses
  • Provide constructive feedback on all assignments and objectively prepare both project & final grades.

Adjunct Professor
Malone University
January 2022 - May 2022

  • Taught Art 214 - Intro to Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Part-time position teaching an entry level course, focusing on Adobe Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop
  • Prepare lectures, exercises and assignments that give students the base they need to succeed in their upper level courses

Professional Experience

For the first 33 years of my professional career I worked in various ad agencies and design studios. During that time I created consumer advertising and promotional campaigns in primarily the healthcare, hardware/home improvement and automotive aftermarkets. I brought innovation and industry disrupting campaigns and services to agency clients and broadened the skills and services we were able to offer. I gave my peers and associates the confidence to say "Yes... we can do that", even when they had no history or baseline to point to. My dependability and "dig in, get my hands dirty & get it done" approach are the reason that clients and peers like working with me. I am well-versed in all aspects of agency business. 

For the last several years I have taken that wealth of experience, knowledge and attitude and put it into my own business effort - Kern Creative Design, and applied it to the college classes I teach on a regular basis.

Kern Creative Design Associates
March 2021 - Present

  • Produce logo & other identity design for a variety of small businesses, churches and start-ups
  • 2D animation, motion graphics and video for web and social media
  • 3D modeling, illustration, and animation for video for web, social media, holograms, and other interactive media
  • Create compelling website design and artwork
  • Develop websites through the use of modern CMS’s and original programming as necessary
  • Nurture business relationships and seek out new work

Creative Director
ST&P Marketing Communications, Inc.
June 2008 - March 2021

  • Provided leadership, mentoring and direction to all various disciplines within the agency
  • Developed and supervised the execution of creative print and interactive/digital campaigns from initial concept through execution; ensuring adherence to strategy and schedule
  • Set standards for design and consistency of voice across all produced print, digital and interactive communications material
  • Provided project management and job prioritization, so that the creative team had a clear vision of the project or tasks at hand
  • Maintained awareness of current and new technologies that enhanced the effectiveness and delivery of brand messaging and position
  • Communicated and collaborated with sales team to identify strategic direction and created effective, integrated programs for clients that met objectives and reached targeted audiences in a well-defined manner
  • Collaborated with rest of the management team to establish agency direction and strategic path
  • Scouted and identified new creative talent as needed; evaluated staff, making recommendations on salary based upon on their successes and needed areas of improvement
  • Supervised creative team - writers, designers, programmers from concept through final polished creative product
  • Managed outside vendors - freelance, content developers, printers, merchandisers, interactive developers/programmers, integrated media specialists, etc.
  • Estimated work for new projects

Associate Creative Director Digital
ST&P Marketing Communications, Inc.
April 2003 - June 2008

  • Created print and digital promotional marketing campaigns with a focus on web, social and other digital technologies
  • Developed websites using modern CMS’s for ease of updating, and custom programming where necessary, utilizing PHP, MySQL, Javascript, HTML, CSS (SCSS), and other open-source web technologies
  • Managed freelance graphic designers, copywriters and web developers
  • Provided digital support to the CD
  • Produced large and small format, print-ready artwork
  • Stayed on top of of new technologies and strategies in web, interactive and social
  • Managed the production and design work of other junior designers
  • Provided technology support for the creative group

Art Director
ST&P Marketing Communications, Inc.
September 1999 - April 2003

  • Concepted and designed promotional in-store POS for rebates, sweepstakes and contests
  • Designed and executed in-store merchandising for placement in big-box retail and hardware/home improvement showrooms and design boutiques, focused on efficiency and re-usability
  • of their elements
  • Created original illustration and artwork
  • Custom coded rebate and incentive program websites to facilitate online, self-management of these programs
  • Coordinated with freelance graphic Designers, copywriters and web developers, when necessary
  • Provided technology support for the creative group