Kirby Stephens Design

I am not a musician. Yet, here I sit with my Willie Nelson autographed Fender acoustic guitar. It was a gift from our friends (and clients) with the Master Musicians Festival earlier this year. At the MMF lineup launch party in March, Tiffany Bourne, president of the festival, and her board of directors surprised me and thanked me and the rest of the KSD team for our design and marketing efforts for the festival over the years.

Back in 2000, when the festival was celebrating its seventh year, I was asked to design the annual artwork that would be auctioned off as a fundraiser for the event and be used as the image on the festival T-shirts. Doc Watson was the Master Musician that year. I began listening to more of his music and looking at photographs and videos of his fingerpicking guitar style in preparation for creating the festival artwork.

After many struggles with how the final artwork would look, I finally felt comfortable showing it to a few critics — my wife Erin and my youngest son Isaac. Erin said she loved it. However, I still wasn't sure it was right. When I asked my 3 year old what he saw, he responded with: "It's a song Dad!" I immediately knew I had it.

An artist, or group of artists, creates a song. Someone listens and responds. I believe this to be the true rhythm of music. In the world of graphic design this listening and responding — this rhythm — is also vital. In our design studio it is expressed as form/counterform, open/closed, separated/touching, parallel/branching, point/line, question/answer, working alone/working together.

Today, the 21st Master Musicians Festival begins. I am counting on enjoying its rhythm.


Erin, Isaac and "Isaac's Song" 2000

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KSD is a results-oriented, full-service design, marketing and communication firm located in Somerset, Kentucky.

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  • KSD  Kinetic | Strategic | Design
    219 E. Mt. Vernon Street
    Somerset Kentucky 42501
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