When something I love intersects with something I hate.

They say the music you hear in middle school, as the brain is still congealing, is the music you’ll love more than any for the rest of your life. It’s certainly true for me. The imprint happened the summer between 7th and 8th grade, in Bill Wagenbrenner’s basement, listening to his older brother’s New Wave albums. Gary Neuman. The B-52s. And my all-time favorite, DEVO.

I could write a million words about DEVO and their influence on pop music and music videos (huge); the fact that their de-evolutionary art/video/music movement was inspired by both Captain Beefheart and the Kent State…


Jim Thorpe (top row, center) with the Oorang Indians on October 27, 1922.

As the Ohio History Connection prepared to unveil Ohio, Champion of Sports, a major exhibit celebrating Ohio’s sports heroes and milestones, it asked Versatile Words to research and write weekly stories to build interest. Topics ranged from overlooked sports pioneers to little-known backstories of well-known legends. Here are our favorites pieces, from the winningest pro football team in history (spoiler: it was all women) to the song played while Buster Douglas entered the ring to defeat Mike Tyson, the greatest upset in boxing history. Enjoy.

Toledo Troopers: The Ohio Women Who Dominated Professional Football

By Bailey Martin

On August 6, 1971, a group of women known as the Toledo…


When I received “President Trump’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America” yesterday it seemed like a missed opportunity to communicate crucial information. So designer Deron Husak and I did a quick revamp. If you mistook the real card for junk mail and tossed it, we hope you read this version and take the important guidance to heart.

Here’s what we fixed:

• In the original, side 1 is wasted. The president’s name is three times larger than the most critical message, “Slow The Spread.” We replaced the large title with a statement that speaks directly to the issue.

• We removed the…


Targeted. Creative. Resistant to Russian hacking. And right in front of our faces.

What if I told you there’s an emerging platform for marketing communication that is a literal blank canvas — and a goldmine for those who get there first.

It’s not new — these spaces are all around us, and are increasing in numbers. But they represent a truly untapped opportunity for the early adopters who choose to make the most of it.

No question, we live in an age of information overload. TV ads, billboards, newspaper inserts, DM mailers, email, you name it — it’s everywhere. The result is banner blindness, a term borrowed from online advertising that describes consumers’…


The unexpected awareness of driving an electric car.

I’ll never forget the first time I drove a Tesla. A friend in northern California was an early owner and he let me drive his Model S for about a half hour, up and down scenic Highway 101. It was a revelation.

Other than the conventional shape of the car, everything else about it was shockingly different. The minimalist interior and controls. The floating, iPad-size touch screen. The unsettling silence of the machine itself, which, when powered up, sounded no different from powered down.

I almost didn’t trust it to move when…


A 1,500-foot hike to this sacred Buddhist site provided an unforgettable finish to our 10-day trip to Bhutan.

Taktshang Palphug Monastery, better known as Tiger’s Nest, high above Bhuta’s Paro Valley.

Paro, Bhutan, September 18, 2018
We headed to the dining room for breakfast a little early this morning, around 6:30 a.m., and it was abuzz with more guests than we were used to seeing. Most were dressed in hiking apparel; clearly, we weren’t the only ones heading to the famous Taktshang Palphug Monastery today.

Better known as Tiger’s Nest, it is one of Bhutan’s most sacred places — and one of its most iconic. Precariously built on the side of a steep…


Yesterday was the deadline for cities to submit proposals for Amazon HQ2 and the promise of adding new 50,000 jobs to town. Exciting stuff, and as I’ve said before, there are lots of reasons Columbus would be a great choice. We already have a foothold — in addition to the three new massive Amazon data centers in central Ohio, we also have one of the company’s first Instant Pickup stores. There are just six total in the country.

Maybe you’ve seen Pickup offered as a delivery option. Ever wonder what it’s like? I did. So I tried it yesterday. …


Sunset at Caneel Bay, St. John, USVI, Bonnie’s favorite getaway, 2013.

My mother, Dr. Bonnie Gilliom, passed away on Jan 5, 2016. Bonnie lived an amazing life. She was a lifelong educator, an innovator in public television, the author of a best-selling book in her field, a fearless world traveler, a gourmet cook, an unequalled host and entertainer, and a fierce advocate for local arts in any form. We’ll miss her deeply.

My dad, sister, and I were touched by the many tributes we received about Bonnie, whether written in cards, shared online, or spoken during her memorial event on Jan. 13. We’ve provided many of them here, along with photos…


Seems pretty obvious. But this stuff actually happened.

By Terri Price-Deep

I am a Creative Recruiter. At Portfolio Creative we see a lot of candidates seeking work, 95% of those candidates rock the interview process.

Then there is that 5%…

This 5% has led me to create the top 5 things you should never do in an interview…consider this a public service announcement of sorts.

No. 1: Don’t bring a sandwich

I know that you are thinking “who would do that?” And yes unless you are invited to a lunch meeting bringing a sandwich is not the way to go. However, I want to tell you a far more bizarre story.

A gentleman came…


A tasteful look at the art of product naming.

By Michelle Geissbuhler

When I worked at Fitch, I had the privilege of participating in, and leading, namestorming sessions. These sessions brought together people for the purpose of generating lists of potential names for client projects. The subject of the namestorming could be companies, products or services. And the people involved in the sessions were colleagues who may or may not have knowledge of the thing to be named, but who could be counted upon to spin out idea after idea without embarrassment.

We would often meet over lunch, with free pizza and drinks substituting for a billable hour, though…

Gregor Gilliom

Writer, editor, traveler, dad

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