SMALL BUSINESS OWNER/OPERATOR. Chris Hoffmeister founded Western Sky Design LLC in April of 2004. From day one she realized the importance of both the journey and the destination for her clients. The journey (experience) must be one of mutual respect that is pleasant and satisfying for all. It should include prompt, concise, and honest communication; it should include listening. The destination (deliverable) must be original, accurate, on time and fairly priced. Most importantly it must be an effective marketing tool resulting in increased awareness, understanding, and some cases, sales.

The Western Sky Design client base is a mix of industries—from tourism and non-profit organizations to technology and state agencies. Clients and projects range from large to small, and deliverables include items such as logo design, brochures, stationery, annual reports, outdoor advertising, newsletters and posters. In addition to completing the design portion of such projects, Chris has vast experience in the printing industry (see IN THE INDUSTRY) and often serves as the print-buyer. She will ask clients—and advise on—the initial pertinent printing questions, then handle the rest.

Chris’ experience in the industry, helpful friendly attitude, design skills and commitment to providing superior customer service, are all vital to the retention and growth of her client base, and anchor the continued success of Western Sky Design.

IN THE INDUSTRY. Between 1987 and 2002 Chris worked in the Denver metro/front range area at commercial printing companies, trade shops, and a full-service ad agency.

Her positions included Customer Service Representative, Prepress Technician, mid-level Management (Proofing and Quality Control Departments), and Production Artist. The majority of this time was in Prepress working in desktop publishing applications such as Quark XPress, Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign, on both Mac and PC platforms. She had continual interaction with personnel and equipment related to other departments within these companies—sales, estimating, management, and production. It was during this time Chris gained the experience and motivation to start her own business. After eighteen months of commuting an hour each way from Cheyenne to Northern Colorado, she took the leap and started Western Sky Design!

COLLEGE DAYS. Chris headed west to Colorado in 1987 two years after graduating from Western Michigan University with a degree in Printing/Marketing. Her time at WMU was split between the lecture halls of the business college for marketing, and the lab(s) for photography, typography, layout and design, ink, paper and printing. The lab courses in the early 80s were very “hands on”—the only computer was a terminal for setting galleys of text that were then pasted up! From college to present day, her path from old-school methods to computers and digital production has been parallel to the transition and growth within the communication/printing industries.

THE EARLY YEARS. As a young girl in Michigan, Chris discovered her love of drawing and bird watching—two things she is still passionate about. Her favorite classes in school were art and math; her first exposure to the printing industry was through her parents’ employer, the local newspaper.