I joined the decorated, illustrious, kick-ass Kansas City agency, VMLY&R (you may know them simply as "VML"), in June 2021 as an associate director of experience design. It's awesome. I'll have more than that to say about it, eventually.
MAKE Digital is a—spoiler alert!—digital marketing agency in Kansas City. Its services can generally be broken into two categories: ongoing marketing retainers and web projects. Within those buckets, MAKE handles a wide range of things: social media, email campaigns, copywriting, branding, website design & development, SEO, paid media, and so on.
I joined MAKE in 2016 as an interactive designer, and quickly carved out—and then occupied—the role of creative director; the agency's first. That need stemmed from two factors: 1) we were growing, and the design team needed guidance and leadership; and 2) our clients were shown to benefit from my input, brainstorming, and understanding of their goals and markets.
As CD, I was the quintessential player-coach, both directing and critiquing the work from the designers on my team, as well as getting my own hands dirty (figuratively speaking; my computer and desk are impeccably clean).
This is where my professional career began. And it began in a place fairly uncommon for designers: as a developer. You see, though design has always been in my blood—I created my first logo in 6th grade, for our baseball team—I was afraid of the job prospects awaiting me if I went to art school or got a graphic design degree. So I chose to learn something completely new instead: computer science.
I don't regret that (this website wouldn't exist without that CS background), but the path it led me down could only sustain me for so long, as it deviated further and further from the creative world.
So, after some years in the development and product management world, I forced my way onto the User Experience Design (UXD) team at Sprint, and began creating motion graphics prototypes and experiences to wow and woo top executives into funding our concepts. I crafted the way we "sold" our projects internally, and also unofficially served as the bridge between our designers and developers as we built apps that served around 50 million users.
Over the years—and especially in the nine months I spent between leaving Sprint and joining MAKE Digital—I've done a variety of creative projects from the comfort of my home, loosely under the endeavor I lovingly call "Baums Away Design." (Hey, when you have a name like Hannebaum, you make the best of it.)
I've been fortunate enough to collaborate with some great Kansas City agencies, such as Hint (formerly T2, then Take Two, and now a part of DEG) and Scenic Road Productions, and work on really cool projects for brands like H&R Block and Hill's Science Diet. That work centered primarily around motion graphics and animation, as well as brand development.
There's also a little side hustle I've been working on for the past couple years: a mobile app called ParPoints Golf (ParPoints Golf). I handle all branding, UX, UI, email designs and campaigns, and website work for the company—and our app is live on both Apple and Google, so go download it right now! Even if you just poke around for a bit, decide you still hate golf too much to play, and uninstall it. You won't hurt my feelings.