Reno creative firm Design on Edge’s evolution the past 10 years

Co-owners of Design on Edge Courtney and Chris Meredith in their downtown Reno office.

Co-owners of Design on Edge Courtney and Chris Meredith in their downtown Reno office.

Husband-wife team Courtney and Chris Meredith took a leap of faith 10 years ago when they started their own graphic design firm during the time of the recession. Today, their business, Design on Edge, has turned into a full-service marketing company located in the heart of downtown Reno.

Design on Edge provides a wide array of design and advertising services including web design, marketing, public relations and more. While their team is small, only three people, the agency has grown to represent more than 120 clients including many of the businesses in downtown Reno. The business also works as a consultant to other marketing and design agencies in Reno.

Prior to starting their own business, they worked as graphic designers for a number of companies such as a sign company, blueprinting company, casinos and an apparel company. In 2007, they started Design on Edge.

“We basically started with $40 and a dream,” Courtney said.

She started freelancing after the casino she was working for downsized their marketing department.

“It was only suppose to be temporary, but it ended up being a full-time job pretty quickly,” Courtney said.

The casino she had previously worked for ended up hiring Courtney as a consultant. She soon realized that she had more work then she could take on herself. Chris was working as a graphic designer for a clothing store in Sparks at the time. He decided to leave the comfort of his job to pursue the business with Courtney.

“I had benefits and nice pay but it wasn’t as fulfilling,” Chris said. “... I decided to make the leap. We have been in business for 10 years and haven’t looked back since.”

Courtney and Chris met while in their final semester of the design program at Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC). Their shared passion for design has help them build their business.

“It is definitely about passion for this industry,” Chris said. “It just made sense that we would end up working together in some capacity.”

Both Courtney and Chris come from a long line of entrepreneurs. Each of their parents and other family members owned a variety of small businesses including everything from a dance studio, gun store, T-shirt company, a construction company and more. This allowed them both the opportunity to see how small business operated from the inside and it made opening their own business a natural fit.

“It is definitely in our blood to be a family business,” Chris said.

They originally ran Design on Edge out of their home. They reminisced about running the business out of their house.

“That line (between work and home space) was basically between the kitchen and the living room.” Courtney said with a laugh.

Now, they work out of an office in the Reno City Hall building on East 1st Street along with Tucker Monticelli, who is a recent graduate of the TMCC design program.

According to Chris and Courtney, keeping up with the newest social media, software, digital trends are important in their industry.

“Our industry is constantly changing,” Chris said.

Over the years, they have worked with their clients to provide creative ways to market small businesses.

“The number one key to our company is collaboration.” Courtney said. “During the recession, we didn’t have any money and all of our clients were struggling. So we would take competing companies and team them up to produce events and marketing and shared advertising space.”

The Riverwalk Merchants Association was one of their first clients. Chris explained that at the time there were 10 merchants in the district. Now there are more than 65 merchants. However, selling and marketing the area was really difficult 10 years ago.

“When we first started with the Riverwalk they just put in the kayak park,” Chris said. “We had a huge challenge in front of us that no one wanted to come downtown to the river.”

Their job was to increase attendance for fundraisers and events in the Riverwalk district. Courtney said that the events like the wine walks originally only brought in about 200 people to the district with 600 people in the summer. Now the event brings 2,000-plus in the summer.

“Marketing the Riverwalk district now is much easier than it was before,” Courtney said.

Courtney and Chris said they hope to continue to grow the company in the future, provide quality work for their clients and give back to the Reno community.

“I can’t imaging every leaving,” Courtney said. “This town has turned into everything we could ever want and it is still growing.”


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