Branding the Bricks
Athens native Tim Martin and his multifaceted design shop, Red Tail Design Company, have taken businesses, events and community groups to the next level, providing modern design concepts recognizable to almost anyone in southeastern Ohio.
Since opening his shop in 2016, Martin has developed websites, logos, signature prints and more for local projects and groups of all sizes. Some of his most distinguishable projects include beer signs and menus for Jackie O’s, the Athens Chamber of Commerce’s website and logo, menu boards and tap handles for Donkey Coffee and Espresso and stainless steel products for Fluff and Court Street Coffee.
“My company has made me grow closer with a lot of business owners; we’ve become friends with a lot of people,” he says. “Athens is an especially supportive community. It’s been great for us to work together and help each other out.”
After graduating from Ohio University’s design program in 2010, Martin began work at Diagnostic Hybrids Quidel, an Athens biotech company, before later moving to Electronic Vision, a local web design and graphic design company established in 1985.
The owners of Electronic Vision named Martin a senior graphic designer before eventually handing the business over to him as their company began to age. Martin worked to rebrand Electronic Vision, and in 2016 Red Tail Design was born.
For Martin, his time at OU was invaluable in the development of his design and typography skills. He carried those skills and Electronic Vision’s legacy to Red Tail Design, where all current employees have an OU background. Martin has maintained strong relationships with a number of his previous professors and looks for recommendations from them for interns or new hires.
“Athens is slowly getting younger. A lot of the older business owners are kind of moving out or retiring, but the demographics are really changing,” Martin says. “There are a lot of young, fresh ideas that are moving into the town.”
As Red Tail Design began to emerge in the area, Martin’s retail clothing shop, Ohio is Home, grew as well. What was once a small business that began in his Athens guest bedroom grew into a successful company of Ohio-themed soft apparel and accessories.
The Ohio is Home storefront was originally located in the front half of Red Tail Design’s location on Columbus Road. But as the company’s success grew rapidly over the last few years, Martin made the decision to establish a separate Ohio is Home storefront on 43 S. Court St.
“The quality of our work is really just what has helped us grow on its own,” he says. “A lot of word of mouth and just us posting our quality work on Instagram. We’ve picked up work from out-of-state and out of country, so that’s just sort of organically grown for us.”
One of the biggest clients Martin has worked with is Brandon Thompson, the executive director of Ohio Brew Week and one of the main organizers of the Athens Halloween Block Party on Court Street.
Red Tail Design developed an entirely new website for the Halloween Block Party and revamped the previous Ohio Brew Week website. Thompson says Martin and his employees were happy to listen to every idea Thompson had and successfully improved the navigation and overall presentation of both websites.
“I think that more people should look into the Red Tail Design Company,” Thompson says. “They have been taking on a lot of projects in the area because they really are passionate about improving local businesses and parts of Athens with their work. They want to be involved with projects that the locals care about.”
As for the future, Martin says Red Tail Design is currently at full capacity with the amount of work that his staff can handle, but he hopes his company will continue to grow.
“The philosophy of design is really how to think and how to problem solve,” Martin says. “By just learning how to think the right way… [that] was a huge part in developing my career and creating a successful business.”