Kristine Neil (@TheKNeil) is head of
branding and design company Markon Brand
Design. She purchased Markon when it was an old-fashion sign
company, and has since transformed it into a small creative studio,
now boasting a team of three.
In our conversation, we cover the quirks and rituals used by the
team at Markon, Kristine's personal productivity habits, and the
general challenges that face all busy design teams nowadays.
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Show Notes & Links
- Kristine describe her work as "varied"
- Markon is a small agency focusing on branding for small- to
- Kristine purchased Markon rather than founded it. Previously,
it was a sign company.
- The Markon team is now three strong — Kristine, Mike, and
"It's a scary thing to say 'I need some Help'."
- Kristine started by adding contractors/freelancers before
bringing in full-time employees
- Prepare to Share — an
article and podcast episode about bringing additional people into
- Kristine is a systems person, admits to being slightly ADD
"Get ideas out of your head. People aren't mind-readers."
"Always organize things for how they'll work in your
Point of Failure — a bottleneck for decisions or
- Many freelancers/solo practitioners struggle to stay
- Kristine previously worked as a GM for a manufacturing company.
This taught her systems and regimented behaviours.
"Have a system. It doesn't have to be fancy."
- "Meta-work" the work surrounding work such as scheduling
meetings, checking email, managing your software
Elijah, previous guest on TBCP, described
- United We Brand by Mike Moser on Amazon
"We don't always have the time to treat ourselves as a
"We don't just make the things. We make the ideas that make the
design firm who redesigns their identity every 150 days
"It's no longer acceptable to set a brand identity and let it
ride for 20 years."
- Divide your whiteboard by category and by day. Slot tasks
- Create a file-naming system that makes sense — plan ahead
for others reading in the future.
- Don't become a Single Point of Failure
- Pomodoro Technique
- Only keep the immediate future on the Board, save long-term
- Test systems to find what works best
- Get outside opinions on your brand/company, at least
- Use Slack to post videos and gifs — especially after a
tough day at the desk
- Host "Board Meetings" with your team every morning
- Build starting documents ("templates") when you have repetitive
- Audit your own brand. Be willing to walk away from your
- Create a routine strong enough so you don't need an alarm
- Shut down between Christmas and New Year
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