All posts in TWIST News

Meet Our Fall Interns


TWIST interns are the best! Meet our Fall 2015 Dream Team:

Kelly Zandy

School: Ohio University, spring 2015 graduate

Studied: Marketing and Sociology

Team: Account Services

From: Lakewood, Ohio


Why did you want to intern at TWIST?

I was actually offered a full-time job at another company in town, but turned it down to work here. I wanted to jumpstart my career in a place where I could learn most and grow most. I felt TWIST gave me the best opportunity.


What do you like most about interning here?

Interacting with clients in a variety of industries. I’m gaining a broader knowledge of marketing and the business world.


What kind of a career do you want?

With marketing, there are so many directions I could go. I’m still very early in my career and don’t know what I want to do with the rest of my life. But from my experience here at TWIST, I would say Account Services at an advertising agency is a great direction.


What is one thing we should know about you?

I was a guide at my college, which was amazing because I love speaking in front of people and presenting – I’m pretty passionate about my school.



Mary Lampros

School: Miami University, spring 2015 graduate

Studied: Strategic Communications and Marketing

Team: Social Media Services

From: Mentor, Ohio


Why did you want to intern at TWIST?

For the company culture, TWIST is an agency that’s focused on creativity. They do a lot to foster a creative environment, which makes it a great place to be as I transition from school to my career.


What do you like most about interning here?

I enjoy our strategy meetings. It’s interesting to see our leading creative minds at work. I’m looking forward to being a part of a plan from start-to-finish and seeing the results for our clients.


What kind of a career do you want?

I have no idea—one that I’m happy with. I took a screenwriting class in college and fell in love with it. I could see myself moving out west for that, or in a music career, or in marketing. Wherever the wind blows me, really. I plan on going back to school in a few years.


What is one thing we should know about you?

I used to play piano and viola in orchestra. There’s an old piano at my place now that I plan on getting tuned after my first paycheck.

Happy New Agency.


Dear friends, clients and colleagues,

Does the beginning of a business really have an end? Our answer is “yes” and for TWIST that end is today.

Today, TWIST is 15. Today, TWIST is a full-service agency.

In 2011, the leadership of our agency collectively asked the question: Why not us? We’re smart. We’re bold. We have great instincts. We’re loyal partners and accomplished strategists, designers, writers and visionaries. We were proud of what we’d done as a creative agency and we wanted to grow.

So, we did what we do for our clients. We took a hard look at our offering, and with determination and thoughtful toughness we made a plan to reinvent ourselves into something more.

We looked carefully at the work, outcomes and quality of service being offered by competitors and said, “We can do better.”

Today we have a name for the TWIST difference. We call it “Fearless Thinking.”

Fearless Thinking is permission to develop breakthrough solutions for clients that are unlimited and uninhibited by the way things have always been done. We ask what could your brand do if it fearlessly followed its true path?

In 2014, fearless thinking resulted in the formation of a grant-making foundation for a manufacturing client who engaged us for public relations, the invention of a new product and product category for a retail client who sought to make an emotional connection between their brand and consumers, an advertising campaign about labels, stereotypes and the effects of bullying for a line of consumer electronics that was much smarter than consumers understood and a business-to-business campaign that uses fashion photography to sell on just-in-time manufacturing.

We invite you to schedule an hour with us, see our new offices and chat with us about your brand vision and challenges. We guarantee you will walk away energized and excited.

Be well. Become fearless,

Michael & Connie Ozan

Playing Offense: Building an Advertising Agency from the Ground Up


For 15 years, I have run TWIST, a design firm, then brand firm and now a brand agency. When we started, my wife, Connie, was the sole designer and I was the sole writer. I managed clients and developed strategies and concepts, while Connie built the visual vocabulary. We presented together and split the duties of account services – based on their more emotional (Connie as account executive) or logical (me as account executive) leanings. Starting an agency with one room, a beige Mac and a one page-per-minute inkjet printer, then growing it through back-to-back recessions taught us a lot of business lessons, life lessons and patience.

The thing to understand about any agency is that in the world of business-to-business services, we are an oddity. Do you equate us to your law firm or your accounting firm? Well, I say “yes” and I say “no.” Yes, we are as essential to your business as those professionals, but no, we are nothing like them.

Here’s the difference: lawyers and accountants play defense. As your agency, we play offense. Culturally, this idea dictates a lot about how I think about TWIST. This “all-offense” style of thinking has generated a lot of breakthroughs and plenty of challenges.

Here is how I deal with some of those challenges:

1. Think inside the box too.

While we think intensely about bold moves, vision and innovation, we (creative service professionals) always need to filter ideas through business objectives and what we, at TWIST, call “in-the-box thinking.”

Every other day, I am in a meeting where someone says they are looking for “out-of- the-box” ideas. I am a writer first and everything else (professionally) second, so I take words seriously. What does “out-of-the-box” mean? To me, it seems like a ridiculous request. We create ideas that advance business objectives and in vision those things are sometimes outrageous, but they should never be uncontained, unmeasured and ultimately unusable (by professional advertising standards).

At TWIST, we are problem solvers and all problem solvers work inside a box. In the agency world, the box is defined by the parameters of time, budget, staff capacity and risk tolerance. The best, most creative and certainly most effective work lives inside that box.

2. Don’t get any on you; they hired you to do what they can’t.

I try to insulate our team from external politics, committees and corporate think. We exist as an agency to move a business, a cause or a conversation forward. If the company that hired us was able to do that themselves, then they would.

They can’t. That is why I remind our team “don’t get any on you;” meaning yes listen, yes observe but remain an outsider. This is the best vantage point to innovate. It’s our job to ask, “Why?” We are contrarians and that’s good.

3. Candor is what makes creativity go faster, better and smarter.

Wake up. Creativity compromised is not going to get the job done.

Ours is not a contemplative age. It is the age of right now. Business is aggressive; those of us who remain are the wolves. We are the survivors of one of the most challenging times for American capitalism and for advertising. The work we do leaves our caress and enters into a harsh world of digital clutter where the human attention span has been whittled down to less than ten seconds (and ticking away with every smartphone upgrade).

Before I lose your attention, when it comes to your business dealings I recommend you be direct, concise and candid. None of us have the capacity for anything more (or is it less?).

4. Most of your value cannot be seen on a spreadsheet. Never let a number dictate your worth.

Abilities like intuition, interpretation and emotional intelligence are assets that make my accountant cock his head in confusion. They don’t show up on the spreadsheet.

Back-to-back recessions taught me how and when to say “fuck it.” Our business is about doing what others say cannot be done. It’s about new, it’s about change and it’s about knowing it when you see it. If you are good at that, then get a great accountant and remember the bad numbers tell you to quit. Never quit. The good numbers tell you to rest. Never rest.

5. Embrace the silence.

In a time of instant gratification we all feel compelled to answer now—don’t. Instead wait, pause, withhold. If you are in a meeting, especially in a negotiation of any kind, be quiet. Allow the other party to speak. If you are patient they will reveal themselves and the answers you need. Quiet is powerful. It’s an important aspect of creativity. Groupthink doesn’t necessarily make for great think.

6. Professionalism still matters. Conduct business ethically, even if others do not.

When we started TWIST, I set out to do everything right – every client, every idea, every time. I had a moral compass and was rigid. Experience, time or the world wants to take that away from you, but hold on to it because it really does matter. There is the way business is and the way it should be. Hold people to what it should be.

Your professionalism is what clients pay for. Uncompromising values or morals are what talent sticks with. I do what I can to remind myself of the ideal vision for our culture and the client experience. It is the one thing we got right, right off the bat.

7. Pick up the phone already.

A conversation is worth a thousand emails.

The best use of email for complex business correspondence is simply to set a time for a call or a face-to-face conversation. Email is great for quick, get-it-done correspondence, but I have seen misinterpreted emails explode into devastating, business-killing moments.

It’s important to leverage telephone communication for day-to-day and face-to-face for conflict resolution. My father, himself a retired CEO, has always told me not to put anything in an email that I would not want read in court. Every time I have strayed from this tenet, I have found myself in trouble and saying I could have avoided it with a two-and-a-half minute call.

8. There will be fat times and lean times, learn to manage them.

When you are working impossible hours without rest, something magical happens, you complete a lot of work. Suddenly, everyone looks up at you and says what’s next? Don’t panic, business has natural cycles. Whatever your business, it would behoove you to do some pattern recognition and slot in some self-care during those less hectic times. Take the opportunity to retool, sharpen your sword or whatever in order to get prepped for what’s next.

9. Take risks to grow as long as you cannot classify them as foolish

It’s exciting and frustrating. Entrepreneurs have vision and can see the business one year from today and ten years from today. Sometimes the vision is clear, but just because the destination is in view doesn’t mean you have arrived. Take great leaps, make great hires, pursue big opportunities, but find your filter. Mine is—don’t be foolish.

10. Only show your best!

If you are going for an agency position or securing a new account, only show your best work. Less is absolutely more. We won’t miss what you don’t show us. Separate what you like from what clearly communicates your capabilities—no renderings, no incompletes. This business is a show, it’s a song and dance reel, a case study. Amazing photography, design and breakthrough copy. That’s what sells.

Reinforcing culture and inspiring creativity with a beautiful workspace


As co-owners of TWIST Creative, Inc., a branding agency based in Cleveland, Ohio, my husband Mike Ozan and I are committed to creating a strong creative culture within our team. To further that goal, we are relocating our offices this fall to the historic The Fairmont Creamery building in the Tremont neighborhood. We’re designing a space to fit our needs and inspire creativity. Here are some of the ways we’re working to do that:

Creating a strong internal community:
At TWIST, our agency is made up of a diverse mix of creative and strategic people, all working together toward a common goal. Fostering a sense of community within our agency encourages collaboration and work that is challenged by unique viewpoints. We’re excited to further that sense of community at TWIST with a space that lets us work together on one floor.

Making it feel like home:
Our office is our second home. It should feel like a safe haven – a place of comfort, clarity and healthy productivity. Like a home, it’s the little things that make us happy. In the new space, the mechanics and finishes are all new – plumbing, electrical, lighting, tiles, paint, etc. We’ve never had that before! It will keep us operating like a well-oiled machine.

Staying competitive and recruiting talent:
As business owners, Mike and I realize the importance of keeping and attracting intelligent and talented people—both team members and clients. Along with the work, your office space is often the first impression you give and can be a powerful influencer. In addition to a beautiful space, we’ll benefit from several on-site amenities, including fiber optic internet, a state-of-the-art gym, a raw juice bar and a rooftop deck with stunning views of the city.

See what’s inspiring us! Check out our Pinterest page for more ideas and reference.

Our Building Blocks

Pin up materials and dry erase boards:
The new office quadruples our wall space. We’ll use it to pin up reference, work-in-progress and literally “write on the walls” with dry erase areas. Creative people, especially those who are visual, benefit from looking at images, colors, shapes and words, and ask: How do they look together? How do they sound together? Is the message clear? Wall space can serve an important role in inspiring breakthroughs and collaboration.

Personal desk space and bookshelves:
Our goal has always been to let our team members personalize their space showing how they create as individuals. Each person can reflect their own personal style and process by bringing in iconic objects that inspire them. When people are given a space of belonging, it encourages them to feel comfortable enough to be themselves, which is always good for creativity.

Flexible zones:
Like a good urban planner, it helps to think in terms of zones when organizing a creative space. From war room creative sessions, to boardroom client meetings and social gatherings in the kitchen, we’ve designed zones for specific roles and the flexibility to multitask. These will be wonderful places to show hospitality by hosting clients and like-minded firms.

Natural light:
Historic garage door windows made of glass and hollow metal line the face of the building, an area that used to be a loading dock. These grid-like windows let in massive amounts of natural light. A few key areas will truly benefit from this – the designers studio, reception and conference room. To promote light flow in areas further from windows, we’ll continue to use sliding glass doors and bright lighting. Studies show that natural light has healthy benefits for the mind and can boost creativity.

We’ve chosen a warm neutral color palette using various shades of white and an accent color called “iron ore.” White walls and large columns will juxtapose with gray concrete floors and wood plank flooring. This subdued color palette will provide a sense of calmness and modernity as well as complement finishes like stainless steel, black metal and birch wood. It will also serve as a backdrop for pops of color and moments of surprise in art and furniture.

We’re moving!

Twist Team

We’re excited to announce our relocation this fall to the newly renovated historic Fairmont Creamery in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood. We’re growing and are excited for a space that better reflects the way we live and work as a team.

Ohio City has been TWIST’s home for more than a decade. We’re proud to be the agency that built the brand of the neighborhood and will miss being a member of one of Cleveland’s newly thriving areas. We hope to make an equally significant contribution in our new neighborhood.

“We’re excited to once again be on the forefront of a neighborhood reinvention. This area of Tremont reminds us of Ohio City 12 years ago when we arrived,” says Mike Ozan, president and chief creative officer at TWIST. “We focus on breakthroughs for our clients and believe that this move is emblematic of our vision and ambition as a Cleveland-born agency.”

Our current office spreads our team out over four floors. “The Fairmont Creamery project will bring everyone onto one floor and allow us to be more collaborative,” says Connie Ozan, founder and design director at TWIST.

In the last two years, both our client relationships and employee mix have grown rapidly. Our annual revenue has more than doubled and in the last twelve months, our team has increased by 30 percent and is still growing.

“As we move into our new space and approach our 15-year anniversary, TWIST has the ambition, uniqueness of service mix and creative culture to move forward as a market leader,” says Mike.

Learn more about our move, 15-year anniversary and growth on our press release.

Two Masters Degrees, One Internship


Amy Howell is one of our ace design interns. With a Master’s Degree in Textile Art from Kent State University and another in progress in Graphic Design, Amy looks like she’s out to conquer the world. She specializes in screen and hand printed fabrics and has done a knock-up job creating patterns and other design work for us at TWIST. We’re lucky to have her.

Hi, my name is Amy. When I’m not working at TWIST or studying, I teach fashion and textile design at Kent State University. I love creating interesting, eye-catching patterns and am inspired by textile design brands and artists like Marimekko, Sonia Delaunay and Andy Warhol.

Working at TWIST is my first experience designing at an agency. I’m pleased to discover that a design internship at TWIST doesn’t mean pushing papers and running coffee. You’re involved in the actual work of bringing ideas to life through design. So far, I’ve worked on a variety projects, including product photography, website design and brand identity. I’ve been able to use my textile design skills on a few projects. It’s been exciting to explore ways patterns can combine with graphic design elements, like typography and identity build-out.

I’ve had fun being a part of the team here and am grateful for the chance to work at such a noteworthy advertising agency.

Thanks for having me, TWIST team!


AAF Selects TWIST Account Director as VP of Membership

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 10.26.44 AM

The American Advertising Federation of Cleveland has selected Charlene Coughlin, TWIST Account Director, as its new Vice President of Membership.

All of us at TWIST are proud of her accomplishment and excited about her continued involvement in Cleveland’s advertising community.

Charlene also serves as the ADDYs Co-Chair, a position she has held for the past two years. Her selection to vice president of membership will include promotions to vice president of programming during her second year and to president the following year.

“I’m thrilled Charlene will be joining the executive leadership of AAF-Cleveland as Vice President, Membership,” said Jean Gianfagna, President of AAF-Cleveland. “Charlene is a smart, creative, energetic marketer who has already demonstrated her commitment to the organization and our mission,” she added. “She will be a great future president and I look forward to working with her.”

Meet Our Summer Interns


Interns have more fun! Meet the friendly and smiling faces we’ve been working with the last few months. Want to apply? Click here.

Amy Beth Howell – Design
One wasn’t enough. After earning her first masters in Textile Art from Kent University, Amy decided to pursue her second masters – this time in Graphic Design. For the last five years, she’s also taught at her alma mater, first in textile design and now in fashion. She specializes in screen and hand printed fabrics and has done a knock-up job creating patterns and other design work for us at TWIST.

In her spare time she enjoys watching Netflix, discovering craft beers and listening to live music with her boyfriend, who just happens to be a classically-trained flautist.

As a fourth grader, she ran for student body president on the campaign, “Howl for Amy Howell.”

Peter Shenk – Design
A few years ago, this guy was a competitive snowboarder with hair down to his shoulders and a mean 180-degree spin. After high school, Peter traded in his board for a sketchbook and is now studying graphic design at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) where he’ll be a junior this fall.

As the youngest of five children, Peter learned the value of hard work early on and now spends five days a week valeting close to 400 vehicles around downtown Cleveland. He has crazy stories about things people leave in their backseats, and has no extra time.

Brendan Gallagher – Social Media / Media Relations / Marketing
Although he grew up also playing basketball and football, Brendan’s true love was always lacrosse. Now, he coaches for the traveling youth team Burning River Lacrosse of Lakewood, Ohio and plays lacrosse for Emmanuel College in Boston. He’ll be a sophomore this fall and is studying Business Management.

When he’s not at TWIST, our favorite all-around sports intern has been busy catching up on his summer movie list, hanging out at the gym and wishing he had a dog.

If you’re so talented… get a graphic design or copywriting internship at TWIST


We are seeking brilliant, courageous, big-idea-making contrarians to join our agency team of writers, designers, creative strategists, media relations specialists and brand positioning experts.

Here is what you need:

  1. A portfolio we can review by link or pdf. Submit with resume and a letter that tells us about you (writers, make it good) to
  2. A sense of professionalism and a sense of humor
  3. A hunger for greatness that will not be denied
  4. Availability to start NOW.

Here is what you get:

  1. Listened to and lectured to
  2. Real work for known brands
  3. Credit for work you have contributed to (we submit to competitions)
  4. Opportunity for full-time employment
  5. Money to apply.

Happy Holidays from TWIST!


Thanks to Downie Photography for agreeing to allow us to have a little fun during our Holiday Card photo shoot. Enjoy some of our favorite shots below.

As we close out 2013, we wish you and yours a happy holiday and a very prosperous 2014!

Wearer of Many Hats

captain chris_sized

Our Director of Design Operations, Chris Oldham, wears many hats around the office. Outside the office, he sometimes finds himself acting as a model as we prep for photo shoots. Take a look at some of the places and situations where we’ve placed Chris.



Pong-a-Long: Really Big Fun!


The challenge went out to put your fun shorts on and come pong-a-long with TWIST and AIGA Cleveland. 32 competitors accepted by putting their ping pong skills to the test.

More than 70 people packed our offices to either watch or strut their stuff.

After several hours of sometimes intense play, Enrico Stengert  claimed the now-coveted gold Pong-a-Long trophy.

TWIST would like to thank AIGA Cleveland, Constantino’sjakprints and everyone who came out!

Want to check out pictures of the pre-event planning and the Pong-a-Long competition? Here’s a gallery of plenty of them that we’ve put up on our Facebook page. While you’re there, we’d love it if you’d like our page.

Internships: 8 tips to stand out from the crowd

Internships: 8 tips to stand out from the crowd

Internship season is upon us. For most college students, the search for the right internship usually begins in January or February. Even if you haven’t begun your search yet, have no fear.

Here are a few tips to make sure you get noticed and make a statement that your potential employer will like to hear:

  1. Pursue your passion: Too many students pursue internships with particular companies simply because it will look good for their resume. While experience with a reputable company is a plus, your internship should push you towards your desired career. The best way to do that is to gain experience (or at least exposure) in an industry that you have a passion. Rather than thinking only about what would look good to a potential employer, think about your interests or passions first and then think about how to make that look appealing to your employer. Beyond what’s lucrative, what will give you the type of experience that can start you on a path to a career you’ll love?
  2. Make a good first impression: With small to mid-sized companies, internships are positions that desperately need to be filled, but they don’t have the full-time HR department able to respond to all requests. In that case, it is especially important to make a great first impression in order to be remembered. Send a written note after your first email. In a busy world of almost constant email, a simple letter or introductory note can cut through all the white noise and make a great first impression.
  3. Know your company before you call/interview: Interns are a valuable part of any company that is growing. If you want a great internship, you’ll want to work for a firm that has real work that needs to be completed. Come into the interview with an understanding of your potential employer and how you could contribute. The company’s website or social media presence can provide a great deal of information. You will want to make sure to have a basic knowledge of the company’s history, their key personnel, and their client list. Depending on the situation, some internships may need someone who can do additional background research on a project, writing or errand runs for a client. Don’t be afraid to ask how you can help.
  4. Don’t be afraid to follow up: While it might be nervous to follow up, understand that time always is moving faster for your employer than it is for you. A lot of students will send an initial email introduction, but never follow up. Reach out again to confirm they received the message. The lack of response is not anything personal; they simply have not had the opportunity to read through your email.
  5. Use your connections: Don’t be afraid to ask people you know to make an introduction. A lot of students will quickly dismiss their connections and say that they have no network. Connections are the fastest way to cut through the noise and help your name rise to the top of a list. All it takes is one person to make an introduction for you. Don’t be afraid to ask friends, family, professors, etc. if they have any connection to the place you are looking to intern. Have them make an introduction for you.If you know a person inside of a company, contact them first and see if you can ask them some questions about the company’s needs for the internship. It is always better to make your first introduction with a little knowledge of what the company needs.
  6. Show your willingness to learn: It is important to know your value, but in the interview, it is more important to be focused on the value you can provide the company. Your employer knows that you are still in the midst of your training, so they aren’t looking for a stellar list of experience. You need to position your skills in a way that can showcase how you have a passion to learn and take on new challenges. It is your mindset and approach they are hiring, not your experience.
  7. Demonstrate how you serve with a positive attitude: The best way to capture someone’s attention and build an ally is to serve with a positive attitude. While you are interviewing though, it can be hard to demonstrate that quality, so it is important to be able to talk about your background in a way that your employer can see your character.
  8. Engage and provide real-world examples during the interview process: Since your real-world experience may be limited, be prepared how you have dealt with situations you have encountered. How did you balance schoolwork with extra curricular activities? What have you done in a college setting that might be of interest to the company where you would like an internship? During many interviews, the interviewer might ask if you have any questions. Do not get stuck not having one. Many of the questions asked of you could also be asked to the interviewee. You can always say, “I’ve researched your company before this interview, but would like to hear how you would describe what happens here.” Engaging the interviewer and demonstrating a genuine interest will likely help get you to the next level.

As an intern, you will have a number of jobs that, on the outside may seem boring or trivial, but they have major implications for the company you are working for if they aren’t done right. Always push yourself to see the bigger picture. Your career path will always be determined by your approach to the tasks at hand.

Work + Family + Joy


Working at TWIST is like working with family. Actually, TWIST is family. I find no greater joy in my professional life than spending the day with such an amazing group of talented people – Mike (my husband), Chris, Joel, Josh, Todd, Stacey, Kim and Liz.

Together, our team can achieve amazing things – the writing, designing, sorting, coordinating, strategizing, planning, building, shopping, managing and even an occasional healthy debate. All of this, to me, is a recipe for success. The work comes from the heart.

Thursday January 17th proved to be one of those magical days. With a quick deadline ahead, we had the honor of working on promotional video for one of our clients, Creativity for Kids/ Faber Castell. This was an “all hands on deck” effort, which also meant we needed kids. So of course, we called on the school-aged TWIST kids.

Having your children spend a day at work with you can be a special treat for everyone! It also creates lifetime memories for both parents and children. The kids really enjoy having more “insight” to what Mom and Dad do all day and especially helping out. The day was full of wonder, curiosity, color and laughter as the children participated in a creative workshop and crafted some really cool creations.

What a wonderful way to start 2013.

Take a look…
























































From Intern To Full-Time


2013 is starting off with growth at TWIST Creative, Inc. We’re happy to announce that one of our interns, Liz Bermea, has been hired full-time.

Before coming to TWIST, Liz held other internships and freelance positions at a number of businesses and organizations. She’s a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art with a degree in Communication Design.

“A passion for visual design is important at TWIST Creative. We saw that quality in Liz’s design work and during our initial interviews with her,” said Connie Ozan, founder & design director.  “Not only is she an aspiring young designer, but she brings a mature work ethic (beyond her years) to the TWIST team.  As a young designer, Liz has a great eye for color and is current with design trends. I look forward to seeing what she can do.”

“Liz brings her fresh design approach and enthusiasm to TWIST Creative,” said Mike Ozan, president and chief creative officer. “During her internship, Liz quickly impressed us with her abilities as a designer and team member. We knew she would make a great addition to our growing staff.”

With Liz’s promotion, TWIST Creative is actively searching for design and public relations/marketing intern candidates for the spring and summer semesters, please contact us and include a cover letter, resume and portfolio site, if applicable. If you think you’re good enough to work with us, we want to talk to you.

TWIST Creative Adds New Talent to Match Impressive Portfolio of New Clients


TWIST Creative, Inc., a full-service brand agency based in Cleveland, Ohio, is excited to announce four new hires, one promotion, an expansion and realignment of its leadership team as well as a flurry of new clients.

“We believe TWIST has the big ideas, strategic capabilities, and creative chops to become a market leader,” said Michael Ozan, president and chief creative officer at TWIST. “Eight months ago, we made a strategy shift. At the time, TWIST was missing some services required to deliver the results we envisioned for our clients. We agreed to hold nothing sacred in making the changes we required for growth. We looked at the market locally and nationally to understand our own positioning and poised ourselves for both growth and competitive edge.”

“That willingness to hold nothing sacred applied to both our client relationships and employee mix,” added Ozan. “In the process of course correction, we had to make both personnel and client relationship changes. Today, in addition to being proud of our talented new team, we have attracted some incredible new clients whose potential is unlimited.”

So far in 2012, TWIST has added relationships with almost 20 new clients including consumer product companies, Hoover Vacuum and Hinkley Lighting; aerospace industry manufacturer, Voss Industries; multi-market restaurateur, Paladar; and educational institutions, St. Ignatius, Cuyahoga Community College, and Baldwin Wallace University. “We have been intentional and strategic in our attraction of new relationships and are extremely proud to be working with such a prestigious portfolio of brands,” said Ozan. “As we look into the next three year period of the agency’s growth, we see great promise in TWIST’s future.

“We remain committed to the groundbreaking, detail-oriented, and visually creative work we have become known for,” said Connie Ozan, founder and design director at TWIST. “We are excited to have the opportunity to bring the ‘TWIST from Cleveland’ aesthetic to clients who can share it with the world.”

Prior to the completion of the new hires, promotion, and agency realignment, TWIST put out the call and a pool of talented people responded. The agency received hundreds of portfolios and resumes from across the country. “At an award-winning agency like TWIST, achieving remarkable work that delivers business growth for clients is about more than the individual capabilities of your talent,” Mike Ozan said.

“Remarkable work is an outcome of the disciplined choreography of a team whose talent, training, ambition, vision, emotional intelligence and professionalism are blended with humility, fortitude and unwavering willingness.”

The TWIST team is lead by a mixture of veteran employees and new additions that were recruited because they bring a new energy and experience in industry sectors that round the agency’s capabilities out in an exciting way. In addition, TWIST has realigned the roles of the leadership team.

Agency Realignment, Promotion, Hires

Christopher Oldham, Director of Design Operations
Oldham assumes the title of Director of Design Operations. He is responsible for executive-level management for all projects under the firm’s charge. Oldham is a print, environmental design and interactive systems specialist. The American Institute of Graphic Arts and many design annuals have recognized Oldham’s designs for their unique qualities, interactive solutions and outstanding visual concepts.

Josh Taylor, Director of Strategy & Development
Taylor assumes the title of Director of Strategy & Development. Taylor’s background in community and civic development adds to TWIST’s expertise in building holistic marketing and brand strategies. His strength in building partnerships allows organizations to be more efficient in achieving their goals.

Todd Sheppard, Director of Media Relations
Sheppard joins TWIST as Director of Media Relations and a member of the agency’s leadership team. Prior to his time at TWIST, he served as an Emmy-nominated executive producer creating newscasts in some of the nation’s largest television markets. His responsibilities at TWIST include supporting and promoting the agency’s clients by developing and implementing both traditional and social media strategies through local, regional, and national outreach. His efforts help clients express their brand messaging and advance their market position through an increase in awareness and sales.

Joel Miller, Art Director
Miller has been promoted to the Art Director at TWIST. He has more than eight years experience of design, site architecture, and programming skills. As a member of the agency’s leadership team, he is responsible for the supervision of the design team and serves as client advocate for the assignments under his team’s charge. Miller also assists founder Connie Ozan with the curation of the agency’s style ensuring the TWIST aesthetic remains progressive, inspiring and thought provoking.

Stacey Martin, Designer
Martin brings more than five years in the graphic design industry. A Gold Akron ADDY® Award winner, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication Design from Kent State University. Martin has worked in both corporate and agency environments and brings that broad experience to TWIST’s clients.

Kim Hall, Designer
Hall joins TWIST with almost five years of experience in the design industry. She has worked in both corporate and agency environments where she offered her expertise to a range of clients. Hall holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication Design from Kent State University. She returns to TWIST where she gained experience during an internship while attending Kent State University.

Liz Bermea, Design Intern
Bermea comes to TWIST as a recent graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art with a Communication Design degree. While attending college, she held internships at an advertising agency, a non-profit organization, a retail clothing chain, and a major corporation.

About TWIST Creative, Inc.:
TWIST Creative, Inc. is a full-service brand agency based in the Ohio City neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio. Founded in 2000, TWIST specializes in the creation of branding campaigns, advertising campaigns, social media and community engagement strategies, identity systems, collateral materials, public and media relations, packaging and interactive development for corporate, consumer product, health care, retail and nonprofit clients. TWIST’s creative work and business practices have earned more than 250 awards by local, national, and international organizations.

Noodle Cat at the West Side Market


We recently had the privilege of dressing up the Noodle Cat stand at the West Side Market. Get to the market for some Japanese Ramen style goodness. See photos below to see what we did.




Our very own Josh Taylor has been selected to speak at this year’s TEDxCLE on April 20th! We wish we could tell you to go buy tickets, but tickets sold out today after just 40 minutes. If you are one of the lucky ones who got tickets, make sure to heckle him during his talk! For more information about TEDxCLE, click here

Hoover (TTI Floor Care)


This past summer, we began work with TTI Floorcare and Hoover. As part of our work, we transformed our first floor conference space into a product showcase of Hoover vacuums. A select group of consumers were chosen to give feedback to Tom Sullivan, Hoover Uprights Project Manager on the features of a vacuum cleaner that mattered most to them.

The whole focus group experience was captured by our partners at Authentic Films and used to showcase the care and focus that Hoover is putting into its new line of products.

We are proud to be working with such a strong American brand and helping it build on its over 90 year commitment to the American family. We look forward to sharing more work in the near future!

Be a Bringer of Joy


We get a special kick out of the holiday season here at TWIST. Perhaps we get a little carried away, but hey, it’s the holidays! We thought we’d share some of our favorite holiday greetings and designs with you from our archive. I wonder what we’ll do this year!?

We still love these ornaments. For AIGA’s Art of the Ornament fundraiser, everyone at TWIST made their own ornament only using items that could be found at a grocery store.

These are photos from our TWIST family decorating party. All the TWIST kids came into the office for a weekday field trip of decorating, sugary goodness and stories. Such a good time!

Weatherhead School of Management


Case University’s Weatherhead School of Management is one of the leading MBA programs in the entire country and is ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek as one of the 30 best design thinking in management programs in the world.

An innovative and forward thinking school such as Weatherhead needs a strong voice to stand out from the crowd. We worked with the team at Weatherhead to create a new enrollment campaign that focused on the unique perspective and sensibility of Weatherhead’s MBA and Executive MBA programs. While certain elements of the campaign are still in process, we wanted to share one of the ads that are currently running.

Marketing the West Side Market



Proud to be the design firm for Ohio City and the West Side Market. See more of our work in our Ohio City portfolio, or read the article.

What Diti Said

Diti Katona, Founding Partner of Concrete

TWIST awarded Judge’s Choice + 6 @ the AIGA Cleveland Design Awards

Diti Katona on her selection of CIFF 34 campaign for her Judge’s Choice award

What I liked about this piece was that it is truly a piece of traditional graphic design. I am not sure if the shapes and placement of them means anything, or if it secretly spells out a message through shape and color.I am drawn to its graphic simplicity and color which is why it also works so well as signage. The graphic alphabet is colorful, bold and so easy to read.To me the message it is communicating is that I am going to see something fresh at this festival. People sometimes find film festivals intimidating, filmy people waiting in line talking about technique dressed in black. This approach is inviting and inclusive.— Diti Katona

About Diti Katona

Diti Katona is a founding partner of Concrete Design Communications. As a creative director, she is best known for producing elegant and evocative work for the firm’s clients in fashion, retail and luxury goods.Over the years, Diti’s creative work has received numerous awards from juries throughout North America and Europe, including the American Center for Design (Chicago), the American Institute for Graphic Arts (New York), Graphis Design (New York), and British Design and Art Direction (London).Diti frequently lectures on design topics, serves as a faculty advisor at design schools, and judges international competitions in her field.

Diti Katona, Founding Partner of Concrete

Josh Taylor named VP of Brand Strategy & Development


TWIST Creative Announces New Hire Josh Taylor, Formerly of Downtown Cleveland Alliance, New VP of Brand Strategy & Development

(Cleveland, OH) – The Ohio City-based creative shop is proud to announce the hiring of Josh Taylor as the Vice President of Brand Strategy and Development. Mr. Taylor was most recently the Public Relations Manager at Downtown Cleveland Alliance. He comes to TWIST Creative with over 8 years of experience in marketing and communications, with previous roles at Thunder::tech and Cleveland Leadership Center’s iCleveland.

A lifelong Clevelander, Josh Taylor has endeavored to change the conversation about Downtown Cleveland and showcase the dynamic growth happening in the heart of the city.

“The acquisition of Josh Taylor’s talent, experience and leadership capabilities is a powerful step towards TWIST fully realizing its vision of becoming Cleveland’s own international brand design practice. With Josh at the table we can further assist our Cleveland clients on building an international reputation of their own,” said TWIST Creative President and Chief Creative Officer Michael Ozan.

Said Mr. Taylor, “It’s exciting for me to be part of the TWIST team, not only because they are one of the region’s top brand development and design firms, but because they are intentional about how their creative culture can grow the fabric of the community around them. It’s more than just “being at the table” or “getting involved”, Michael and Connie Ozan have built a culture at TWIST that is intentional about getting results when it comes to community involvement. It’s the type of results-oriented community involvement that not only helps grow the city, but helps TWIST provide a much richer perspective to the clients they work with. It’s the type of culture that I’m excited to help grow.”

Josh Taylor will help TWIST build alignments and strategic partnerships towards the end of growing the internationally recognized brand design practice. His role will ameliorate TWIST’s relationships with clients and partners to create strategies that advance their business or cause. In addition, there has been a restructuring of titles at the executive level at TWIST Creative; Michael Ozan to President & Chief Creative Officer, Chris Oldham to Vice President of Brand Experience, and Brittyn DeWerth to Art Director.

TWIST Creative recently impressed judges at the District 5 ADDY Awards, winning more gold awards than any other Cleveland firm especially exciting is the attention their campaign Downtown Cleveland Alliance received.

TWIST Creative’s results-oriented impact was seen in the nearly 10% increase in attendance at the Cleveland International Film Festival this year with their designs for the “Be Part of the Story” image campaign.

“Since engaging TWIST Creative to develop the design and strategy for the Cleveland International Film Festival, we have witnessed an increase in attendance of nearly 105%. In addition to contributing to this unprecedented growth of our organization, TWIST has provided us with expert counsel and creativity that have helped to elevate the overall value of our brand locally, nationally and internationally” said Marcie Goodman, Executive Director, Cleveland International Film Festival.

About TWIST Creative:
Founded in 2000, TWIST Creative is an internationally recognized brand design practice located in Cleveland’s historic artisan Ohio City neighborhood. The firm specializes in the creation of branding campaigns, print advertising campaigns, identity systems, collateral materials, packaging and interactive development for corporate, retail and non-profit clients.

A three-time Weatherhead 100 Upstart Award Winner, TWIST Creative is owned and operated by Michael & Connie Ozan, a husband and wife team. TWIST has been honored with over 250 awards for design and creativity by organizations such as: the ADDY’s, PRINT Magazine, HOW Magazine, Graphic DesignUSA, AIGA Cleveland and International AIGA 365.

A peer group to be proud of-TWIST one of 35 selected for HOW’s International Annual



Local firm impresses 2 global selection committees with featured work in both PRINT and HOW Magazine international Annuals.

(Cleveland, OH) – What is the most important thing a creative firm can do for its clients? It’s not to win awards, its meet business objectives and get results.

TWIST Creative the Ohio City based brand design practice has not only impressed its clients by demonstrating how creativity can impact brand value but it has also impressed an international panel of judges who were focused on selecting the best blend of creativity and commerce for this years PRINT Magazine international design annual. TWIST’s sales system for Oliver Printing, which has helped the family owned Northeast Ohio print company land glamour clients like Vera Wang Weddings was selected among only 35 other projects created by firms from around the globe to have work featured.

George Oliver, President of Oliver Printing, says “We are very excited for TWIST and the recognition they have received from PRINT Magazine. It truly is one of the reasons we continue to work with them as they are a pleasure to do business with and they always seem to capture and execute our vision with every project they take on for us.”

No stranger to the international design scene, TWIST also had several pieces featured in this year’s HOW magazine International Annual and in 2008 and 2009 was the only Ohio firm to have their work selected by AIGA 365 the professional design association’s international annual of top design. TWIST’s work for the Cleveland International Film Festival is now a part of the National Design Archive and has been a part of a touring exhibition that was on exhibit at places like SF MOMA and included in design textbooks.

“Since engaging TWIST Creative to develop the design and strategy for the Cleveland International Film Festival, we have witnessed an increase in attendance of nearly 105%. In addition to contributing to this unprecedented growth of our organization, TWIST has provided us with expert counsel and creativity that have helped to elevate the overall value of our brand locally, nationally and internationally” said Marcie Goodman, Executive Director, Cleveland International Film Festival.

About PRINT Magazine:
PRINT Magazine’s highly selective “Creativity and Commerce” competition showcases 35 outstanding print and interactive designs from around the world, featured the best branding campaigns, websites, advertising, corporate brochures, annual reports, identity systems, packaging, catalogs, motion graphics, and signage produced to communicated with a company’s audience, investors, employees, or the public at large.

About HOW Magazine:
HOW magazine strives to serve the business, technological and creative needs of graphic-design professionals. The magazine provides a practical mix of essential business information, up-to-date technological tips, the creative whys and hows behind noteworthy projects, and profiles of professionals who are influencing design.

About TWIST Creative:
Founded in 2000, TWIST Creative is an internationally recognized brand design practice located in Cleveland’s historic artisan Ohio City neighborhood. The firm specializes in the creation of branding campaigns, print advertising campaigns, identity systems, collateral materials, packaging and interactive development for corporate, retail and non-profit clients.

A three-time Weatherhead 100 Upstart Award Winner, TWIST Creative is owned and operated by Michael & Connie Ozan, a husband and wife team. TWIST has been honored with over 250 awards for design and creativity by organizations such as: the ADDY’s, PRINT Magazine, HOW Magazine, Graphic DesignUSA, AIGA Cleveland and International AIGA 365.

AIGA Cleveland: 2009 Annual Cleveland AIGA Show

2009 judge choice

CLEVELAND (May 8, 2009) – Twist takes 12 awards, including: Judge’s Choice at 2009 AIGA Cleveland Design Competition

TWIST is honored to have received powerful recognition for our work at this year’s Cleveland AIGA design competition. Congratulations and thank you to all of our client partners.

Judge’s Choice Award: The Oliver Printing Sales Kit

Print: 2008 Cleveland International Film Festival Campaign

Print: Oliver Printing Holiday Wine Package

Print: Twist Creative 2008 Holiday Card

Print: Sisters of Charity Health System Holiday Card

Print: Sisters of Charity 2007 Annual Report

Identity: William N. Skirball Writer’s Center Stage Logo

Identity: Sisters of Charity Health System Identity

Identity: Oliver Printing Company Identity System

Interactive: Twist Film Festival Retrospective Web site Feature

Interactive: William N. Skirball Writer’s Center Stage Web site


GD USA Taps our president as “One to Watch” 2009


National design magazine Graphic Design USA has selected TWIST President & Creative Director Michael Ozan as one of their people to watch for 2009.

Michael is profiled along with 29 other creative professionals from across the nation in the magazine’s January issue. With no other creative professionals from Cleveland or Ohio, Michael represents the region and received praise from Crain’s Cleveland Business’ marketing editor John Booth for his devotion to Cleveland.

For decades Graphic Design USA has chosen a group of People to Watch “who embody the spirit of the creative community.” The criteria, for selection, according to GD USA’s Publisher Gordon Kaye is: “individuals who we have come to know and respect for a combination of talent, leadership, success, insight, business savvy, community service and newsworthiness.”

Upon hearing of his selection Michael commented that the biggest thrill is to be representing the city, state and region in a group that is packed with design leaders from New York City and San Francisco.


Twist Creative Wins High Praise From Design Peers With Multiple Awards


Firm represents region’s best in design in prestigious “365: AIGA Annual Design Competition 29” with works created for the Cleveland International Film Festival

CLEVELAND (July 1, 2008) – Twist Creative is representing the region in this year’s “365: AIGA Annual Design Competition 29”- considered the highest honor for graphic designers as the authoritative chronicle of outstanding design solutions.

Twist’s inclusion in the AIGA annual marks a first for a Cleveland based firm since 2001. The firm will showcase its campaign for the 2007 Cleveland International Film Festival, “Confessions of a Film Buff.” Featured works demonstrate the process of designing, the role of the designer and the value of design according to the American Institute of Graphic Design (AIGA).

“This is the most prestigious honor among designers,” says President and Creative Director Michael Ozan, “recognizing the industry’s ‘best’ in communication design and strategy. In fact it’s the premiere distinction we’ve received in the history of the firm.” Design Director Connie Ozan [and Michael's wife] founded the firm in 1997.

“Confessions” campaign components by Twist will be featured alongside the works of such internationally-renowned names as Kate & Jack Spade, Martha Stewart and Pentagram Design. “We’re going to be with all of our heroes,” says Connie. Another double honor for Twist, particularly Connie, was Paula Scher’s role in judging submissions this year. Scher, partner at Pentagram Design New York, is an industry icon behind such renowned graphic design projects as New York’s Public Theatre and My Wall Street Journal.

Twist’s work will also be showcased online in the AIGA design archive, and in the organization’s traveling exhibit, which kicks off at the National Design Center located at 164 Fifth Avenue, New York- the final stop is at the Denver Art Museum, where the pieces comprise the AIGA Design Archives.

The big win with AIGA is complemented by a record five win with this year’s National Design Competition. Selected from more than 20,000 entries were: an invitation to a clam bake for Cleveland’s Oliver Printing, a holiday package, also for Oliver; an annual report for the Cuyahoga County Public Library; a series of posters promoting the 2007 Cleveland International Film Festival; and, several collateral pieces for BelVino.

All will be featured in PRINT magazine’s November/December issue- the Regional Design Annual and most comprehensive survey of graphic design in the country. Winners are categorized by state.

Other accolades received yet this year by Twist are from The Apogee Society, an annual awards program recognizing the creative campaigns (and results) of small and mid-size agencies, and American Association of Museums (AAM). Twist took “first” in the hospital and healthcare category of the Apogee Awards for its identity campaign for the Sisters of Charity Health System, and top honors in conjunction with the 28th annual AAM Museum Publications Design Competition for an updated Cleveland Metroparks Zoo identity and press kit.


Twist To Help The Cleveland International Film Festival Break Records For A Fifth Consecutive Season

Screen Shot 2013-03-12 at 4.38.41 PM

CLEVELAND (March 7, 2008) – 2008 marks Twist Creative’s fifth year creating the entire thematic campaign surrounding the 32nd Annual Cleveland International Film Festival – even the custom hand-lettering and illustration system designed by one of its own. This year “How will it change you?” builds awareness of the Festival’s international offering to the movie-goer.

Twist’s involvement with the Cleveland International Film Festival dates back to 2004. “We were originally hired to design the invitations for the 28th annual event,” says President, Creative Director Michael Ozan. This work later lead to the Ohio City based design firm building the entire campaign and visual system for the following year.

This year, Twist worked with film partner Authentic Films to develop the “How will it change you?” theme – with input from Festival leadership. “The Festival is an opportunity to experience different cultures and global views through film,”says Ozan,“… and broaden your horizon.”

The hand-lettering and illustrations applied to each visual element of the campaign – from posters and advertising, to merchandise (lapel pins and t-shirts) and signage – was designed by Twist Designer Brittyn DeWerth. “There is a great deal of time involved in this process,” says Ozan. DeWerth was tasked with providing the custom typeface throughout the campaign. The lettering style, internally at Twist, has been named Miss. B, in DeWerth’s honor.

Branding For A Higher Purpose

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Cleveland’s Twist Creative renames and rebrands the Sisters of Charity Health SystemCLEVELAND (September 17, 2007) – Cleveland-based Twist Creative takes a break from commercial-based branding to take on a faith-based health and human services leader – the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine Health System. The tactical design agency, based in Cleveland’s historic Ohio City, gives the 156 year-old organization a new name – Sisters of Charity Health System – and moniker that captures the true essence of the faith-based healthcare system and its many outreach programs; accompanying the light radiating cross and name is the subtitle: A Ministry of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine.

“This image enhancement initiative was a part of our strategic agenda,” says Heather Stoll, assistant vice president, programs and public policy, Sisters of Charity Health System. Rebranding was the result of a communications audit and much market research that revealed the organization held low awareness among external audiences. “Our name and identity was one aspect to communicating who we were and our mission,” she adds.

In 2006, the organization issued an RFP; Twist Creative responded and was hired for the job. A brand summit ensued, followed by the development of a position statement. By April 2007, organization had a new ‘mark’ in place.

“This was not your ordinary branding strategy,” says President and Creative Director Michael Ozan. Twist was tasked with positioning the Sisters of Charity Health System as a viable and leading health and human services system in the U.S. In Northeast Ohio and South Carolina, the organization encapsulates five hospitals, two geriatric residential facilities, direct services in health, housing, education, and grantmaking foundations with significant community initiatives that address root causes of poverty with total assets exceeding $1 billion.

Traditional branding is the extraction of the organization’s true essence, “and then communicating it to stakeholders at a glance,” says Michael. For the Sisters of Charity Health System, Twist was forced to consider not tangibles, but the ‘spirit’ of the organization and its Sisters who continue to uphold its mission to heal the underserved.

“Great brands transcend the market,” says Design Director Connie Ozan. For the Sisters of Charity Health System, a cross was designed with light radiating from its center. “A beacon of light and hope,” says Connie. “When you see it, it says ”this is a safe place where I can receive healing“.”

“We’re continuing to telling our story,” says Heather, “with a new identity that captures the Sisters’ Catholic heritage and our ongoing mission.”

The foundation of the collateral campaign revolves around “A True Devotion to Healing” – created in cooperation with another Cleveland creative team, Point-to-Point Communications. “This is the organization’s point of differentiation in care,” says Michael. “The Sisters of Charity Health System heals all of God’s people… anyone in need, whether it’s physical, spiritual, emotional or material.”

Produced entirely by Twist, collateral encompasses materials for both internal and external audiences; internally, Twist unveiled the new identity via video, while externally the firm will rely on brochures, direct mail pieces and ads. Ad messaging reinforces the organization’s mission and its endless services; “For I was ill and you cared for me” is one being used in local ads running in the organization’s hospital markets

With the new identity package and position in place, the Sisters of Charity Health System are reaching out to key community leaders and government officials “in the hopes of mobilizing efforts,” says Heather, “to continue to serve those in need.”