VOL. 126 | NO. 40 | Monday, February 28, 2011
Memphis Small Business Spotlight
Practical Creativity Drives Second to Nunn Design
By Allison Buckley
Creativity plus practicality – this is the only template Michael Nunn follows.
Michael Nunn is president and creative director of Second to Nunn, a full-service design firm that does print design, marketing, advertising and Web design. (Photo: Lance Murphey)
The rest of the artistic decisions come from the aesthetic imaginations of the seven-person team that is Second to Nunn Design, a full-fledged Web company that differs from its competitors by offering print services as well.
“We’re unique in a way that we’re a full creative package,” said Michael Nunn, founder of Second to Nunn Design (S2N).
Nunn has always seen a vision for his graphic design company. Besides lime green on his office walls, he saw a team of ingenious creators, full of creativity and never lacking in personality.
He saw these visions from his house, where he freelanced after graduating from the University of Memphis in 2004. Equipped with a graphic design degree, Nunn’s clientele eventually exceeded the confines of his home office. That’s when newly married Nunn, armed with only his college laptop and $1,200, moved into the EmergeMemphis building Downtown and hired his first employee, Lowell Hinte.
“Honestly, this is a different kind of company that I work for,” said Hinte, an account manager and designer. “I get to be professional but I also get to have fun. Michael is very laid back, very fair, very honest.”
Since the company’s formation in 2008, S2N has moved three times to accommodate the swift growth in the business, which also called for the addition of Web design.
“I never went to Web,” Nunn said. “I always understood it but I never could bridge the gap of coding.”
Enter Justin Burns, who was hired after graduating from the U of M and immediately took over all things Web-related.
Today, S2N has seven employees – a miniature team with monumental potential.
“I’ve got a really strong team and everybody’s here for the same purpose,” Nunn said. “We’re very dedicated to serving our clients. Our No. 1 goal is customer service.”
The No. 2 goal might be to give its clients, whether it’s a large business or a single person, the most bang for their buck.
“We look at all avenues,” Nunn said. “We give them monthly reports on exactly what kind of traffic is going on. If they’re getting traffic, they’re getting calls, they’re getting visits, they’re getting e-mails, and they’re driving traffic and that’s the bottom line – to increase business and sales.
“We don’t just sell you a website in hopes that – ‘Oh, good luck.’ We look at it and we go, ‘Well, we’ll build you a nice presence. We’ll develop a nice campaign for you – local or national.”
S2N offers a wide range of services from Web design, Web logos, e-mail marketing and product catalogs to business cards, brochures, direct mail, posters and stationary packages. The company even offers a content management system to clients, which allows customers to log onto the website being designed for them and manage content on their own.
“We really want to be able to empower our clients so that they don’t feel like we’re nickel and diming them – that we’re more of a partnership,” Nunn said.
Another reason clients are swarming to S2N is the fact they offer a hasty turnaround time. To Nunn and the rest of S2N, “immediacy is key.”
“We don’t ever want to over-promise and under-deliver,” Nunn said. “If we told you Monday, it’s probably going to be there on (the previous) Friday.”
One person who understands Nunn’s work ethic better than anyone is Hinte. Like Nunn, Hinte prefers print over Web design.
“I was an artist before I was a designer and I embraced that and that’s why I became a designer,” Hinte said. “I just enjoy print work, you know, it’s tangible – I can see it, I can touch it. And I’m good at it.”
Web Design, however, is becoming more popular as technology advances.
“I think the company is moving toward Web because that’s how society is moving,” Hinte said. “Everything’s going digital, everything’s going Web-based. As a result, we must adapt and go in that direction so our hook is Web but we also are a full-service firm that specializes in marketing, print, Web and all other kinds of communications.”
As S2N grows as a company, Nunn continues to make sure the right people are on the right track. Nunn said he looks for employees with the same mentality his team already has.
“The whole thing is they truly feel pride in every single project,” Nunn said. “We don’t treat anybody on a hierarchy. We look at it like a project and we do the very best that we can no matter what.”
For the most part, S2N has been a referral-based company. Because the company has begun to market more and have turned to Web-based advertisements, Nunn is seeing off-the-charts projections for this year. S2N is turning its attention to Web campaigns, different levels of clients, and specifically, the health care industry.
“That’s kind of where we’ve been going and we’re busy, we’re real busy,” Nunn said.