loading

Oxide celebrates 17 years of success

This week Oxide Design Co. celebrates 17 years in business. It’s not one of those big, round numbers, but I think it’s worth recognizing all the same. As our anniversary falls near the end of the year, I like to use the occasion to reflect on the big picture of how things have progressed over the last 12 months.

Just after last year’s anniversary, we held an employee retreat, during which we refined the Oxide brand. Based off discussions from the retreat, we’ve also been evaluating the overall vision and strategy for the firm. Since a lot of different people have asked me about it, I decided this would be a good time to explain my overall direction for the firm.

Happy 17th anniversary, Oxide! We celebrated with the traditional gift of furniture by replacing the couches in our client meeting space.Happy 17th anniversary, Oxide! We celebrated with the traditional gift of furniture by replacing the couches in our client meeting space.

The traditional business climate tends to measure business growth only by revenue or number of employees. Many business advisors will tell you that the only way you can be successful is by continuing to add more people, which adds to your bottom line. But I’ve chosen to measure success by a different set of metrics. My evaluation questions are centered more around three main ideas:

  1. Do I enjoy my job? Have I built a firm at which I enjoy coming into work every day?
  2. Are we contributing to the economy and employing people in jobs they enjoy?
  3. Are we contributing back to our community in a meaningful way?

Answering that first question is what guides the current state of Oxide. We’re a team of five people. We could certainly have grown much larger than that by now. But I figured out about five years ago that the real reason I started Oxide was to do design. I enjoy many aspects of running a business, but my real passion is getting to contribute to the creative process. If we grow larger than about five employees, a majority of my time is spent on management and operations. And that’s not the job I really want to have. So I’ve designed the job I really want — at least for now.

Regarding the second question, we tend to get overlooked by the current startup culture looking for skyrocketing growth and business metrics looking to add hundreds of jobs. But the reality is that we’ve employed at least five Omahans in consistent, stable, enjoyable jobs for nearly ten years. By my measure, that’s a success.

Lastly, our contributions back to our community are the things that make me the proudest. I wouldn’t consider Oxide a success if we weren’t able to use our skills to continue to better the world around us. I’m pleased to report that about half of Oxide’s business is pro bono — design work we do for free or at reduced rates for charitable organizations we think are doing great things. It’s something we’ve been doing since we opened our doors and we’ll keep doing into the future.

So we celebrate our 17th anniversary, knowing we’ve had great success across the board. (Not to mention producing a collection of great design work.) Thanks again to all of our clients, champions, friends, and family — we couldn’t do this without your continued support!

Oxide wins 4 at AIGA Nebraska’s 2018 Show

We are pleased to announce that Oxide received two gold, one silver, and one bronze awards this past Saturday at AIGA Nebraska‘s 2018 Show. Nebraska’s biggest annual design competition, Show. recognizes great design from around the state. We are privileged to have our work selected by a panel of national design judges: Richard Hollant, Marq Mervin, and Sadie Red Wing. And we want to thank our amazing clients, whose projects and collaboration have kept us striving to produce the most…

Saro Cider identity

Travel, camaraderie, and… cider? Those are the ideas behind one of our recent clients, Saro Cider a new craft cidery and taproom that brings a unique idea to Lincoln, Nebraska. Saro Cider (rhymes with “aero” as in “aeroplane”) started as an idea amongst four cider-loving friends. Their story is not uncommon — friends coming together to realize a dream — but their product is something altogether different. Traveling all over the world, they had come across craft ciders of all types and decided…

Everything you need to know about a client before you brand their business

When Oxide Design Co. brings on a new client, we go through a pretty extensive discovery process. We’re of the belief that the most valuable branding work is authentic to that individual client. So we want to get to know them as well as we can before we try to represent them with visual design. Before you start developing a brand for a client, here are the things you need to understand about that client. What do they do? How are…

Girl Scouts artVenture visual design system

  The Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska has a big fundraising event — besides cookies. The artVenture program pairs girl scout artists with professional artists in the community to create collaborative art pieces throughout the year. The fundraising event proudly displays those works of art, as well as donated work by the professional artists. Oxide was pleased to partner with the Girl Scouts to establish a complete visual design system for artVenture, including all event promotion and materials. The logo was…

Joslyn Castle self-guided grounds tour brochure

The Joslyn Castle is a 35-room, nearly 20,000–square foot mansion located in Omaha’s historic Gold Coast District. The castle is just a few short blocks north of Oxide’s headquarters. The mansion is positioned in the center of a beautifully landscaped 5.5-acre plot. The grounds were designed by the famous Danish-American landscape architect Jens Jensen. To highlight the features of the 115-year-old castle and surrounding grounds, Oxide was contacted by the Joslyn Castle Trust and given the opportunity to design and illustrate an informative six-panel brochure.…

Introducing Gutenberg

Recently, I wrote a post on the Oxide blog about the future of WordPress. Big changes to the web’s most used content management system are getting closer and closer (yet we still don’t know exactly when the changes will officially be part of the WordPress core). If you had the chance to read that post, you’ll know that I laid out some ideas and predictions on the impact of WordPress’ new editing experience, aptly named Gutenberg (after the inventor of…

Oxide rebrands!

Well, we didn’t so much “rebrand” as “clarify our verbal brand” — which is an important service we offer to our clients. We see a company’s brand as divided into two branches: visual and verbal. Oxide is pretty well set in our visual brand (which has remained almost unchanged since the inception of Oxide). The verbal brand, on the other hand, is not something we have written down in black and white. We decided it was a good time to follow our own…

Nine Zero Properties identity

Nine Zero Properties is an Omaha-based property management company managing both commercial and residential properties throughout the city. Nine Zero prides themselves on understanding, and reacting quickly to, the various needs of their property owners and tenants. Originally operating as the management arm of City Ventures — a real estate development company and Oxide partner — Nine Zero recently decided to expand into third-party property management and needed a standalone identity to separate themselves. We’ve worked with the owners of…

What I learned during my internship at Oxide (Tyler Olson)

Here are five things I’ve learned this summer under the supervision of the wonderful team at Oxide. 1. There is no such thing as validation in the design world. My summer at Oxide has been interesting. I feel like I’ve grown to become a much more capable designer, while at the same time feeling like I haven’t learned anything at all. For some reason I thought getting “The Oxide Internship” would make me feel validated, like I had finally done…