Russ Kern | Kern Creative Design

Owner/Creative Director/Designer/Web Designer/Teacher

Russ Kern has over 32 years of experience in marketing and advertising. He owns his own business, 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.


Teaching Experience

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

  • Provide instruction for Production 1, Digital Media, Introduction to Design and Motion.
  • Prepare lectures, exercises and assignments that give students the base they need to succeed in their upper level courses

Adjunct Instructor | Kent State University | Fall 2023 +

  • Part-time position teaching Motion Design
  • Prepare lectures, exercises and assignments that give students the base they need to succeed in their upper level courses

Adjunct Instructor | University of Mount Union | Spring 2023

  • Part-time position teaching Introduction to Graphic Design
  • Prepare lectures, exercises and assignments that give students the base they need to succeed in their upper level courses

Adjunct Professor | Malone University | January 2022 - May 2022

  • Part-time position teaching an entry level Production 1 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

Creative Director / Owner | 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

ST&P Marketing Communications, Inc. | July 1994 - March 2021

Creative Director 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 | 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 when necessary
  • 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 | 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

I also spent years as a graphic artist and jack of all trades. I established the company's original Web presence, set up it's networks and email systems and anything else neded.

Prior to ST&P

  • I worked with various small design studios and service bureaus, and ad agencies where I learned the ins and outs of the industry overall.
  • Illustrated original line art for training manuals and catalogs
  • Provided general graphic support to various orgs
  • Created original illustration for video and ads
  • and much more.


The University of Akron | December 1991

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design | Myers School of Art
  • Graduate Cum Laude (208 of 1223)
  • Minor Illustration
  • Minor Drawing


Honors and Awards

  • Silver Addy Award | February 2020 | Advertising Club Self-Promotion 2020 Addy Awards
  • Gold Addy Award | 2010 | Homax ”Ant Infestation” Building Projection - 3D Graphics
  • Judges Choice | 2010 | Homax ”Ant Infestation” Building Projection - 3D Graphics
  • Eagle Scout | 1986


  • Downtown Akron Kiwanis Gala Committee Member | March 2021 - Present
    • Creative and branding lead for the event
  • Member Canton Area Chamber of Commerce
  • AAFA Club Member | April 2019 - Present
    • Senior Portfolio Review - Interviewer - 2018
    • Senior Portfolio Review - Interviewer - 2019

Software & Technology Skills

  • Design Software: Over 30 years of experience working with Adobe Creative Suite - Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, Bridge, After Effects, others
  • Illustration and animation: In addition to the Adobe products, Cinema 4D - 3D illustration and animation software, Blender 3D
  • Web Development: Excellent knowledge of a variety of CMS’s, frameworks, and programming
  • languages, including ExpressionEngine CMS, WordPress, PHP, MySQL, Javascript, CSS, SCSS HTML, Twitter Bootstrap Framework, CodeIgniter Framework, Apache Web servers, cPanel/WHM
  • Office Related: Microsoft Office Suite: World, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, OneDrive
  • Project Management: Trello, Advantage, Slack

We Keep some pretty good company.

The Akron Marathon Charitable Foundation
Rachel’s Angels
Keltec Technolab
Qlean Air Solutions
Imagin3D Solutions