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Designing a new Rocky Mountain culture 

Long Story Short

On a recent Thursday night, The Machine Shop hosted a TED-style talk titled "Make It Cool: Designing Your Culture."

After a round of black ale, the event started with a joke from Sara DeRose, whose company, Fixer Creative, shares space with several others: "Getting three design agencies and a design-oriented architect to agree on a name, and a logo, and a color palette, and all come out friends and alive was, I think, a miracle in and of itself."

Tales from campaigns like Wild Fire Tees and Rebrand the Springs followed from her husband Troy and office partner Christopher Schell, who's with Design Rangers. The night was capped with a talk on culture from Ryan Lloyd, the owner of Echo Architecture.

Lloyd began by highlighting the difference between where he came from and where he went, juxtaposing pictures of "Keep Portland Weird" schwag with shots of stickers bearing the lamentable "Keep Colorado Springs Lame." Upon his arrival here in 2008, he said, he saw a profit-driven "culture of neglect, of disinterest ... of not-trying." And, as he put it, a "complete lack of excellence."

A new attitude abounds, however, and that's the story we start here.

"We're not established, you know, we're all young, and we've got kids — we're figuring all this stuff out," Lloyd says of his Machine Shop mates. "[But] I think we're just gonna keep taking bigger steps, and we're gonna change this town for the better."

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