Co-founder & Creative Director

Kelly Hobkirk

Train of Thought began as idea between two friends and has grown and flourished for over 22 years. In that time, I’ve learned that I have an unusual approach to creating brands, and that I enjoy manifesting a-ha moments for people. Another thing I have learned is that our clients enjoy working with us because they can literally see and feel the difference our work makes in their business. I love that.

I enjoy creating exceptionally effective graphic design and advertising that connects people with great brands.

When I co-founded Train of Thought in 1992, I had a vision for a different kind of integrated graphic design and advertising firm that prioritized exceptionally effective work over growth. Why? Because I wanted to keep my soul intact, which is a hard thing to do as a graphic designer. (This is so true someone wrote a great book about it.)

I had worked for Seattle ad agencies large and small, and I had seen a ton of work taken on for the sole purpose of increasing bottom lines. Guess what? That kind of work isn’t very satisfying. I had a different vision which included doing only great work for great clients.

Our priority is the same today as it was twenty years ago: create exceptionally effective graphic design and advertising (and interactive now too). In order to do that, we need to believe in our clients. And we do.

We may even care too much. But not like emotional artists. We care like brand strategists who care about creating brands that embody the beliefs and goals of passionate people. We care like designers who inspire our clients to consider their customers at every point of contact. We care like developers who craft user experiences that help connect the thoughts.

We value relationships over anything else. If you share our belief, perhaps we can forge a great relationship together.

What do we mean by full-scope?

Train of Thought is experienced in virtually all aspects of branding, marketing and advertising, so we can quickly and effectively examine your business, brand, website, packaging, advertising, and marketing plan, then provide the recommendations, strategic plan and creative firepower to optimize all of them in one fell swoop.

Our Unique Approach

Your brand is the language of your business. Who speaks your language?


Train of Thought is focused on building brands that connect with people’s core belief systems to create a strong sense of real community. It’s how your business becomes a valuable part of people’s lives, and how we make your business stronger. The messages you bring to your market define people’s experience – how they perceive you, how they believe in you, and how they welcome you in to their lives. Our focus is on helping you connect with relevant, compelling visual and verbal messages that ring true to both you and your customers.

We create community between people and businesses. Train of Thought began over 20 years ago with the singular goal of creating and promoting brands that connect, utilizing strategic branding, graphic design, websites and advertising as mechanisms of thought. Emotional connections are important, but thought always preceeds emotion. Because humans have an amazing ability to translate thought into emotion and action, our focus is on creating new thoughts. From that critical point on, people connect their emotions and actions with brands.

This is how people learn the dialog of their brands—of your brand. They learn by seeing, hearing, and feeling your language. They have experiences with you, and they craft a story between each other and you. Does your tribe speak your brand language? Do they connect with your brand?

Lead developer

Joe Dolson

We’ve a dedicated web development team led by Joe Dolson, who specializes in programming sites on WordPress CMS. Joe’s attention to detail, knowledge of web standards, and dedication to delivering quality web development on time every time is nothing short of exceptional.

As a WordPress developer with years of experience programming standards compliant XHTML and CSS, Joe can build just about anything. He consistently looks for ways to streamline the development process and create perfectly clean code. Joe’s unique commitment to accessibility is a much appreciated quality which makes every website he builds that much better.

Together

We have worked with Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, non-profit organizations, startups, and consulting firms.

We’re a tight team of experienced, fun, strategic, open-minded, passionate, insanely hard-working creative professionals. We work with a talented cast of web developers, printers, photographers, copywriters, designers, and our bulldog accountant. Our team hovers around five to twelve people at any given time.

We stay agile by maintaining a mostly external staff, with our base in Seattle.

David Ogilvy said, “Creativity is not a function of size. Small can be beautiful.” We agree in a big way.

Check out our Portfolio →

The company

Train of Thought is a graphic design, advertising and marketing communications agency specializing in strategy, branding, print, collateral and online media. We are located at 3834 Northeast 92nd Street, Seattle, Washington 98115 USA.

You can reach us at 206.517.5679 (t) or 866.708.2760 (f), or we can always be reached by saying hello.

Train of Thought is small, agile, and experienced. We produce an extraordinary amount of exceptionally effective work in spite of our size. Graphic design, strategy, print and online advertising, logos, corporate identity, packaging, brochures, websites, and posters are among our favorite projects, though we also help clients with a variety of other branding and marketing needs.

Co-founder and principal Kelly Hobkirk is an award-winning designer and writer whose work has been featured in national and international publications and book titles.

Our steady growth has been marked by exceptionally long-term relationships with our clients. We believe this is due to our ability to provide close, personal attention, innovative communications, strategic insight, and complete transparency in our work together.

Do you believe in your brand? Learn How →