MEET THE PARTNERS
Ken Harris – Executive Director
Ken Harris’ design experiences run the gambit from working with start-ups to working with fortune 100 companies. He has provided training to corporate innovation teams, and has instructed and presented at multiple Universities and Professional Trade Conferences. Beyond providing his clients with profit creating initiatives, Ken and his team have enjoyed recognition via a variety of national and international design and industry awarding organizations, as well as features in a variety media. Ken is an Engineer & Military Police Branched Officer in the Army National Guard, and has served as a past Chapter Chairman for the St. Louis Industrial Designers Society of America.
Aaron Brookhart – Creative Director
Aaron Brookhart is a proud owner and co-founder of fredsparks. As a highly skilled artist, he has a unique ability to think outside of the box when it comes to design. Outside of fredsparks, Aaron is consistently looking for creative outlets making him the perfect compliment to his partners. Aaron and his team’s designs have won several prestigious awards including an A’Design Award and Core 77 Design Award.
Brandon Hefer, IDSA – Design Director
Highly influenced by modern design, Brandon Hefer’s direction touches nearly every project at fredsparks. Brandon primarily leads our aesthetic explorations, and drives innovation while directing our junior designers’ design endeavors. Brandon and his team are named on as well as hold a variety of design and utility patents. When not stressing over the perfect line weight, Brandon can be found shredding a tune on one of his five guitars or spending time with his family.
Justin Snell – Operations Director
Justin Snell has been with fredsparks almost from the company’s founding. As a partner and Operations Director, Justin acts as the project manager on client projects to exceed client expectations with our internal team’s resources. Justin’s background in Art gives him incredible skills in 3D modeling and is one of the best in our region. Justin’s passion aisde from product design lies in real estate development and flipping houses where he can work with his hands and see a project from beginning to end, just like in the office.
fredsparks has been a key asset in creating of a globally competitive product line for JBL to win market share against the largest players in the lifestyle headphones category. As the General Manager for headphones and wearables at HARMAN International, I held a competition with the global design team at HARMAN, IDEO and fredsparks. By far, fredsparks brought the most innovative and culturally relevant features and designs. Ultimately, their input was prevailing and is now on shelf as the product line called Everest. It was the fredsparks Consumer Centric approach that brought the insights needed to close an exclusive distribution agreement with Best Buy and Media Markt in Europe.Seth Burgett
FredSparks = Rock stars of product design. Great people. Great minds. Genuine passion. You might even want to hang out with them backstage…but no cameras please. Cannot recommend highly enough.Michael Reddy
We were extraordinarily impressed by the design and development approach that the fredsparks team brought to bear on our project. They listened intently to our needs, researched the core market heavily, expanded their research to other disciplines and fields, and drew deeply from their personnel’s experience in the tactical products arena. As a result, they presented us with not just one robust solution to our design brief, but with a complementary selection of potential boot features that we will draw upon for future development for several seasons to come.Glen Becker
We needed more innovative designs for a new line of products to satisfy our general customer base and specific client’s needs. With fredsparks’ approach we launched new products that were produced easily in our production system, and within the projects tight timeline.Allan Boice
I was very impressed with the work that you did, the creativeness that your team brought to the table in working with a relatively small amount of space was awesome! I thought your team was able to effectively translate our desires into designs.Jeff Redding
The Fred Sparks team is incredible to work with and their process is creatively contagious. They work as a team and always deliver excitement. The Cuda Brand fishing tools are nothing short of an amazement and we have the Fred Sparks team and their passion for disruptive innovation to thank.Rick Constantine
I have nothing, but great things to say about my experience with FredSparks. From day one, they’ve gone above and beyond with my projects. Attention to detail with skilled design, plus customer service can be hard to find. They are the complete package. We’ve had a couple of “jaw dropping to the floor” concepts from them, which made us look like rock stars to our retail partners. An important partner for our fast moving projects!Meghan Reed
Thanks for all the hard work, you guys really pulled through in a pinch, and that’s what counts in business, being able to get things done on a time-line…glad we now have a direction in which to move forward on the poster and tri-fold, as you know things will certainly and continually change as we move forward, but with the forum you have established it should be very clear which way to go on all future promos.Jeff Cunningham
After a couple of attempts to improve our communication to our customers and our ordering process, fredsparks, simply put, ‘got it’. With their skills of knowing how the human mind thinks, they really streamlined the buying process. Then they were able to create a simple, concise ordering process that first was communicated in our catalog and is now being replicated on our website. They’ve been incredible in their ability to ‘cut through the clutter’ and make things happen. We’ve had a lot of great feedback from our customers . . . and happy customers mean more business.Tonya Graham
We are extremely happy with the branding work fredsparks did for Southtown Yoga. We frequently recommend them to business associates and we will surely use them for any future needs. These guys are good! It’s that simple.Jenifer Bartels
fredsparks played a big role in the success of the AiR-7 helmet and Scorpion catcher’s equipment.Dave Rossi
FredSparks has shown an incredible ability to think critically about a product and then execute based on their conclusions. We approached FredSparks with what we thought was a nearly finished product, but FredSparks was able to use their creativity and expertise to take it to the next level. The members of FredSparks are wonderful people to work with and we could not over-emphasize how effective each and every meeting has been. At the foundation of such a high-caliber experience is their dedication to delivering a quality and professional product, as if were their own.Zimin Hang
fredsparks is a partner to the Schutt Sports product development process. Their team, along with our product managers, have demonstrated a creative design vision moving product designs into reality. fredsparks is a unique partner to Schutt Sports that we utilize to envision the future of sports equipment and to design current protective equipment from the youth level to the professional athlete, enabling them to perform to their maximum performance level. There is also a long term challenge where fredsparks is establishing a design platform guiding the design consistency of all Schutt Sports products. It is with this partnership and innovation we are confident of our future product success.Ken Nimmons
We were counting on getting great creativity from fredsparks for our graphic needs and to meet our needs for communicating in simple icons that would represent the broad outreach of our five core program areas. fredsparks did a fantastic job in providing a solution that met these needs and fit within our tight budget constraints. The logos are not only appealing to donors and partners, but also to the kids that we serve. In fact, they were so well-received that they have become integral to our brand identity and are used in all of our donor development and membership marketing materials.Bijial Desai-Ramirez
fredsparks was very flexible in adapting to our needs. Our staff wears many hats, which can be quite challenging when trying to meet project deadlines. fredsparks actually helped keep us on target with our project goals and our timeline.” fredsparks prices their services competitively and has a true commitment to delivering high quality services. We wanted our website to be unique–professional, yet with a small town feel and fredsparks was able to do that for us. The result of our experience was a high quality custom website, delivered on time and on budget.Kim Larkin
Ask Us Anything.
We know we can’t anticipate every question you may have, but below are a few that we’ve encountered over the years.
1. How do I initiate a project with fredsparks?
The best way to initiate a conversation is to email us via our ‘contact us’ page. Let us know what’s on your mind and a brief synopsis of the your project. We will review your message and contact you to set up a meeting and further discuss your needs.
2. You don’t seem to have any experience in our industry. How can you help us?
Our fundamental process remains the same. We ask the right questions, learn from you or other sources what we need to know, and devise a strategy for solutions. At times simply because we don’t have significant experience in your product area, we can bring a fresh and innovative perspective.
3. Do you work with entrepreneurs and start-ups?
Yes, we do. But we do so with extreme caution. Launching a new design or brand takes dedication, time, money, patience and a desire to see things through to the end.
4. I need a prototype. Can you help me?
Certainly. We use a variety of trustworthy sources for our prototyping and sampling services that are capable of producing ‘works like’ models to final, fully functional prototypes. Prices will vary from source to source, as well as the amount of detail and level of refinement your project requires. We will gladly refine or recommend a company, as well as prep and create the files to be prototyped.
5. What computer platforms do you use?
We use both Mac and PC platforms and the following software: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe Flash, Alias Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Office, Solidworks, Key Shot, & 3D StudioMax.
6. What is your experience with manufacturing resources inside and outside of the U.S.?
We have a significant amount of experience with both. Many of our clients are currently positioned to manufacture their products overseas and we happily accommodate them. We have established strong relationship with many of these manufacturers and work with them on a number of levels of product finalization. Whether your needs require a simple sketch or a fully complete CAD file for production, we have you covered. If you have not identified a source to manufacture your product, we can help as well. We have worked with a number of manufacturers and would be happy to recommend someone that fits your needs.
7. What do you do to protect my confidentiality and intellectual property (I.P.)?
Your privacy is of upmost importance to us and we treat your ideas as if they were our own. We go to great lengths to ensure that any I.P. we have been privy to is safely guarded and remains strictly confidential. Your information will never leave our office and will not be released to the public until you have given the blessing to do so…generally after product launch. Additionally, we provide a mutual Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) prior to any discussions designed to protect your ideas (and vice versa).
8. How much do your services cost?
The cost of our services varies from case to case. We work with all our clients to establish a work plan, timeline and final deliverable expectations when writing our proposal and bill accordingly based on the necessary deliverables. We do our best to forecast any additional expenses needed to complete every project, but unfortunately, there is no magic formula.
9. Do you work on a royalty basis?
Occasionally. These relationships are on a case by case basis. Our teams would need to sit down and discuss the details prior to engaging in any project work.
10. How is your client billing structured?
With most clients, we request payment for half of the total project cost up front to initiate the design program. If your company has a specific payment terms or policy on payment, we can certainly work with you.
11. Where can I apply for a position at fredsparks?
While we are not currently hiring, we are always on the lookout for new talent and individuals that can add value to our team. To submit a resume for review, simply click the Careers link at the bottom of the page, fill out the form, attach your resume, and send it over.