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. Oh, I might also be watching a Netflix documentary or reading some nonfiction—current recommendations: Finding Vivian Maier and American Fire by Monica Hesse.
See what I was up to last year, in my 2017 Annual Report/Infographic.
Copywriter + Creative Director
Crafting copy and clever design solutions for clients in industries ranging from food to outdoor equipment to nonprofit associations, partnering with agencies including Anthem, Briteweb, Common, Elefint, Mission Minded, and Terrain Collective.
Penning articles for national design publications including 99U, AIGA, Adobe Create, Communication Arts, HOW Magazine and Magenta. And getting out of the house to talk to graphic designers, interior designers, and architects in my own backyard for Modern in Denver.
Oversaw the work of five killer graphic designers and one UX strategist, focusing on nonprofit clients like the Museum of Boulder, Coaching Corps and the C.S. Mott Foundation; city governments including Vail and Boulder; and “green” companies like Rudi’s Organic Bakery and Door to Door Organics. 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 focused on messaging, web, content strategy, taglines, and brand 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 a nonprofit advocacy organization. Brought on a talented graphic designer, a budding writer, a newbie photo editor, and some stellar freelancers, and earned a dozen FOLIO awards for writing, photography, design, and illustration. Increased circulation from 290,000 to 330,000 readers, who wrote letters we were proud to publish while silencing all the cranky, overzealous fact-checkers out there just waiting to pounce.
Launched a wildly successful internal PR campaign to persuade our coworkers to take advantage of our in-house design capabilities for reports, brochures, infographics, postcards, advertisements, even T-shirts and bike jerseys. Wrote it up in HOW Magazine, which led to speaking gigs in Baltimore, Cleveland, DC, Minnesota, and San Francisco.
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 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 ASPCA’s Animals magazine, MotherJones.com, and Washington Post and wrote for corporate clients including AOL, Forum for Youth Investment, and Chevy Chase Bank, among others. 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 assign a piece to a freelance 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.
Proofreader + Copyeditor
Took the biggest risk of my life and moved to DC in search of a writing career. Briefly worked as a bike messenger (’til my bike was stolen), answered phones for a temp agency, and soon landed at EEI, which sent me to dozens of nonprofits, government agencies, and corporations throughout metropolitan DC. Got great reviews from clients, most of whom specifically requested me the next time they needed an editorial pro.
1.91-10.94 Troy, MI
Compiled text and images for big fat coupon books sold door-to-door by scouts and church groups, offering two-for-one deals on movies, restaurants, and trapeze classes long before Groupon and Living Social lost millions doing it electronically.
University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Pursued a degree in Psychology because friends and family 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