Good design communicates. Good design starts with "why?" Good design helps you win hearts & change minds.

 

About me

As a creative strategist, designer and communications director, I've helped campaigns, businesses, and nonprofits of all sizes define and share their brands, win people over through compelling stories, build support and public trust, and beat their fundraising targets. 

My work involves all kinds of tools, from Adobe Illustrator to cameras and lights. But no matter the medium, my goals are pretty much the same:

  • Make things that generate empathy.
  • Make complex ideas as simple as possible. 
  • Communicate the right message clearly and memorably. 

I'm a fifth-generation South Dakotan, and I grew up on the farm where my family has lived for 125 years. I studied religion and classics at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and later earned an M.A. at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. 

My obsession with design began in third grade – the year I started my first business creating report covers for my classmates and printing them on my dad's inkjet printer. Before I made the return to self-employment, I worked on a variety of campaigns and in a few truly wonderful jobs, notably: 

1. Serving as Communications Director for the Minnesota DFL Party during the 2012 election cycle. I got to develop and manage a statewide messaging strategy and design a bunch of cool stuff – not to mention help elect U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan over a Tea Party incumbent, win back control of both chambers of the Minnesota legislature, and defeat a voter restriction amendment and an anti-marriage equality amendment. 

2. That summer in high school when I worked for my town's weekly newspaper. As the layout editor, I printed out and cut up columns of type, ran them through a machine that put a thin coat of wax on the back, and assembled each page like a puzzle. My passion for grids and kerning has never waned.

Today I am proud to work with progressive campaigns and values-based businesses across the country – both at my studio and as a partner at Forward Solution Strategy Group. I also serve on the advisory board for New Leaders Council, Louisiana and the board of directors of The Juror Project, and I work with candidates as part of the Truman National Security Project Candidate Advisory Group. You can usually find me at my studio in New Orleans or at the farm in South Dakota. 

 

Reviews from some top-notch people

Kate has been an essential part of our team for the last six years. She’s a skilled designer and one of the best communications directors around. She can both develop a message and design the tools to communicate it, and that combination of skills has been invaluable. We trust Kate with a wide range of project that include fundraising, outreach, events and voter contact. She’s dependable, she does an outstanding job and we truly enjoy working with her. 
— Ken Martin, Chair, Minnesota DFL Party / President, Association of State Democratic Chairs
Kate excels as a communications professional and does so with creativity, insightfulness, and patience. Often required to respond quickly to an unexpected development, Kate worked well under pressure and was able to provide quick, sound, high quality materials. I enjoyed working with Kate and highly recommend her.
— Ted Thompson, Vice President of Public Policy, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
Kate Monson is a darn good political flack. My fellow reporters and I enjoyed working with her because she worked hard to get to know us, responded quickly to our requests, helped us contact the news sources we needed, could be counted to back up political claims with solid research and had a deep passion for and knowledge of politics. I have covered politics for more than 30 years, and Kate is among the best public relations professionals that I have known.
— Bill Salisbury, St. Paul Pioneer Press
When faced with a new or unexpected situation, Kate responded readily and creatively. Her energy was contagious and inspired those around her to do their best.
— Rev. Glen Herrington-Hall, former Admissions Director, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities
Kate is a whip-smart, savvy communicator who easily distills complex information into easy to understand language and graphics. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Kate on several occasions and her client service, delivery and comprehension is second-to-none.
— Heather Faulkner, leadership coach
Heidi and I are both so very impressed with your quick responses and general efficiency and competence. We work in writing and design a lot and have never had such high quality work done with partners in projects like this. Thank you SO much, Kate.
— Todd Mikkelson, MN House candidate
Her gifts in fundraising and resource management were exemplary, her creativity and vision tremendous, and her ability to use both her significant intellectual ability and accessible communication style made her a key leader in our event planning and execution.
— Rev. Brandon Gilvin, First Christian Church, Chattanooga