MCMINNVILLE, OR: Founded in 1978 in Salem by three partners, Creative Company marks 40 years of business in 2018. Jennifer Larsen Morrow, president and owner, is celebrating with an open house on February 9 at the former office at 726 NE 4th Street in McMinnville, Oregon.
Originally “Young Larsen & Hawkes Creative Company”
In 1977, two companies—Larsen & Hawkes, a graphic design firm formed by Jennifer Larsen and Eve Hawkes; and Young Communications, an ad agency founded by Dez Young—began collaborating on client projects. With offices next to each other at 341 State Street, they soon realized the collaboration could provide more work by capturing clients with ongoing marketing, advertising and design projects.
The company was incorporated in January of 1978. At the time the “Creative Company” name was deemed too generic by the Corporate Commissioner, so the partners names were added. First clients included McNary Real Estate, The Commercial Bank and Supra Products, all based in Salem. The company grew, added staff and moved one block over to 345 Court Street, above the Court Street Dairy Lunch.
New clients included Church Extension Plan, a financial services company; the launch of Crestwood, a maker of cutting boards; and Cherriots, Salem’s bus system. By 1983, Eve Hawkes had left to pursue a different career, and Dez Young had split off to focus on his media consulting business. Jennifer Larsen became president and the company expanded to serve more clients in manufacturing, food products and professional services. Larsen, always interested in technology, brought in one of the first Macintosh computers and Apple laser printers for design work, and used early PCs for general business.
In 1988 Creative Company moved to a South Salem location to expand again. Tec Laboratories, SmokeCraft, Oregon Fruit Products, NORPAC Foods, Eye Care Physicians and Surgeons, and the Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission used Creative Company for identity development, advertising, packaging design, print collateral, sales promotions, product displays, PR campaigns and new product launches.
Technology impacts the marketing and design business
Graphic design was moving towards computers and the team was no longer sending out for typesetting by the time the move to South Salem was made in 1988. Over the next 12 years Creative Company incorporated technology into all areas of the business, from simple email to choosing software to manage the business, track time sheets and handle billings.
In early 2001 Creative Company relocated to McMinnville, as it was closer to Jennifer’s home. Technology had made communication with clients and vendors easier. Soon after Creative Company developed their own website—very crude by today’s standards!
McMinnville clients included Linfield College, Hagan Hamilton Insurance, First Federal and the rebranding of City Sanitary Service to Western Oregon Waste. The company continued to serve clients in Salem including Salem Hospital/Salem Health, Pumilite Building Products and Church Extension Plan. The company was, and is, recognized as a leader in the area of branding—from identity design to complete marketing programs.
The move from Salem to McMinnville meant leaving drawing boards behind and tossing out years of archived manual pasteups (literally type pasted onto a board to be photographed) used to prepare projects for printing. Macintosh computers and design software now take care of all of the design—the hand work of manual pasteups and colored overlays is gone.
In the 21st century work expanded to include websites and other digital communications as part of a complete marketing program. In 2007, Creative Company adopted inbound marketing, adding HubSpot software and inbound practices to the skill set.
Creative Company, Inc.