Cleveland Design / Principal / Founder
Strategic thinker. Creative designer. Successful business owner. Trusted advisor to senior for-profit and non-profit decision makers. Jonathan Cleveland is all of these. Since founding Cleveland Design in Boston, he has forged strong business relationships with a wide range of global clients, from Fortune 100 market leaders to innovative startups and non-profit organizations. Under his leadership, the team at Cleveland Design creates brand experiences that engage and inspire, combined with marketing strategy that is smart, strategic and effective.
His strategic approach to communications has earned Jonathan the respect of clients like Thomson Reuters, Honeywell, Fidelity Investments, and Carrier, who count him as a valued advisor for key marketing and branding initiatives. For industry leaders like Sensitech, Jonathan has led the effort to create fresh global brands that play a major role in achieving corporate marketing objectives.
An established thought leader in the field of design and marketing for nonprofits, Jonathan co-authored Designing for the Greater Good: The Best of Cause Marketing and Nonprofit Design (Harper Collins). He shares his insights with other designers as a featured speaker and panelist for industry seminars and webinars. Jonathan’s work has been featured in design books and industry publications, and has been recognized through international design awards.
Tell us about your definition of a good design?
Great design is timeless, intriguing, beautiful, curious and motivating.
What advice would you give to future IDA entrants?
Be complete with your entry so viewers/judges can get a full sense of what you have created, and why. The more information the better. Given some of the constraints of uploading work to a juried site, it is great if you can provide a link to an external site that has all of the campaign with full visuals and good descriptions.
What do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities for a designer today?
The biggest challenges and opportunities for designers today are almost the same – creating for multiple types of media and media outlets. A lot of people are great designers, but knowing how to implement that design can be challenging. Being on top of all aspects of the execution in regard to types of media, sizes, placements and presence of the project can be daunting, but it’s also an opportunity to learn and become a sought after expert.
If you were to give advice to a designer on how to succeed in the industry today what would you tell them?
Always see the bigger picture. Your work and design influence will likely be applied to multiple types of media, and often influence environmental design as well. Coming into a job or project with a curious mind of how your work will be brought to life in various ways will give you a foundation to create a solid design strategy that is followed by successful execution.
Can you tell us how you approach the jury process?
My first impression of visually interesting work intrigues me to take a closer look. Then I give it a “real world” review of whether the work is effective for the intended audience or marketplace. Lots of work is nice to look at, but if it’s not executed to be functional for its intended use, then it basically becomes useless.
What are you working on, what is in the pipeline for you for 2023?
I am currently working on collateral for The School at the Art Institute of Chicago for their Graduate Student Programs.