I’m a writer, editor, and creative director wrapped into one, and I've spent the last 20 years using words and images to make the world a better place. I spent most of my career working for nonprofits in Washington, DC, and headed to the Rockies to become creative director at a Boulder agency. Now I’m freelancing from Denver, with a focus on graphic design, “do-gooders,” and the great outdoors.
When I’m not at the keyboard, I’m usually biking along Cherry Creek, walking my dog along the Platte River, or playing pick-up soccer at Sloan’s Lake. On Thursday afternoons, I volunteer at the Denver Animal Shelter, walking dogs, cleaning cages, and taking photos like these.
Freelance word-arranger for design firms including Anthem, Briteweb, Mission Minded, Phinney Bischoff, and Threespot. Conducting competitive research; interviewing stakeholders; drafting brand guidelines; and writing headlines, taglines, and web copy
for nonprofits and “do gooder” clients including Design-Build Institute of America, Sonoma County Recycling, and Uncommon Schools.
Also profiling the world’s premier graphic designers, illustrators, and photographers as a regular contributor to top design publications including 99U, Adobe Create, and Communication Arts. Writing about interior design and architecture for local magazines Modern in Denver and 5280Home.
Oversaw the work of five killer graphic designers focusing on nonprofit clients, civic organizations, and “green” companies like the city of Boulder, the town of Vail, University of Colorado, Mott Foundation, and Rudi’s Organic Bakery. Teamed up with brilliant developers and savvy social-media folks to advance causes like civil rights, clean energy, literacy, safe sex, and many more. Copywriting focus on messaging guidelines, content strategy, print ads, taglines, and branding identity.
Editor In Chief: National Parks Magazine
Senior Editor: National Parks Magazine
Inherited an underachieving magazine and turned it into one of the premier publications produced by an environmental nonprofit. Brought on a talented graphic designer, a budding writer, a newbie photo editor, and some stellar freelancers, who helped us earn awards for writing, photography, design, and illustration. Increased circulation from 290,000 to 330,000 readers who wrote letters that we were proud to publish while silencing all the cranky, overzealous fact-checkers just waiting to pounce.
Launched a wildly successful internal PR campaign to persuade co-workers to leverage our design capabilities for advertisements, infographics, reports, and videos. Oversaw creative for a campaign that persuaded Congress and the president to create a dozen new national parks including Valles Caldera and Manhattan Project National Historical Park.
Managing Editor: Children's Voice Magazine
Wrote and edited articles focused on foster care, poverty, child abuse, and neglect. Learned to always ask hiring managers what sort of budget is set aside for design, photography, and illustration, because sometimes the answer turns out to be $0. Produced an informative, compelling magazine for children’s advocates in spite of severely limited resources.
Writer + Copyeditor
Set out on my own with the naïve belief that freelance writers actually spend most of their time writing. Landed articles in Animals magazine, Mother Jones, and The Washington Post, and wrote for clients including America Online, Forum for Youth Investment, and Chevy Chase Bank. But more importantly, learned the art of self-promotion, the query letter, invoicing, and accounting software, while acquiring a deeper appreciation for health insurance—lessons I keep in mind every time I collaborate with a freelance designer, writer, photographer, or illustrator.
Editor: Animal Sheltering Magazine
Associate Editor: Animal Sheltering Magazine
Earned my first real writing gig on the strength of a few record reviews and movie reviews from my college paper and local weeklies, paired with a year of volunteering at the Michigan Humane Society. Tattooed the words of Strunk & White and Zinsser to the inside of my brain. Endured the gallons of red ink that flowed from my editors’ pens until they slowed to a relatively painless trickle. (Became forever indebted to Geoff Handy and Julie Miller-Dowling for giving me a shot and for showing me how great editors think.)
Implemented a magazine redesign that increased readership from 3,000 animal shelters to 6,000, while engaging the most passionate, enthusiastic readers I will ever know. Learned that there are few things better than spending 40 hours a week pursuing creative work that makes the world a better place.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Pursued a degree in Psychology because friends and family wisely told me to do whatever interested me the most. Best advice ever. I use it every day. (The advice AND the degree.)
scottkirkwood.dc [at] gmail.com