• Daniel Boorstin: An image ... is a studiously crafted personality profile of an individual, institution, corporation, product or service.
  • David Ogilvy: What you say in advertising is more important than how you say it.
  • Steve Kopcha: Good ads sell stuff.
  • Albert Camus: Those who write clearly have readers. Those who write obscurely have commentators.
  • George Santayana: Graphic design is the paradise of individuality, eccentricity, heresy, abnormality, hobbies and humors.
  • Bob Dylan: You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows.
  • John Updike: Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right or better.
  • Leo Burnett: When you reach for the stars, you may not quite get one. But you won't come up with a handful of mud either.
  • Pablo Picasso: Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
  • Paul Rand: Simplicity is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations.
  • Mark Twain: The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.
  • Leo Burnett: The secret of all effective advertising is ... one of putting familiar words and pictures into new relationships.
  • Jeffrey Zeldman: Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it's decoration.
  • Saul Bass: Design is thinking made visual.
  • Ellen Lupton: Design is as much an act of spacing as an act of marking.
  • Chris Pullman: The way something looks is the last thing we figure out.
  • Ernest Hemmingway: For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.

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Hi. My name is Ryan Swarts.

I'm a Kansas City, Mo.-based Web designer and front-end developer who's been using Web standards since 2003 to create elegant and functional websites.

In Short.

I started designing for the Web while studying advertising at the Missouri School of Journalism. Inspired by some of the internet's most forward-thinking designers, I sought out to bring my modern aesthetic to the browser using standards-compliant code.

Seven years later, I'm still producing accessible HTML & CSS and designing interfaces that help clients communicate better online. Along the way, I've picked up techniques that not only make websites function better but help create real connections between people. See how. arrow


Ryan is a great designer. You can see that from his clips. But perhaps more importantly Ryan is the most patient and well-rounded designer I've ever worked with.

In our rethinking of Vox and the Columbia Missourian he not only survived the criticism of the Missouri School of Journalism but he wowed us. And repeatedly. We asked him to design for a moving target and he put together two coherent sites that brought energy to the Web.

Brian Hamman
now of The New York Times

On Display.
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Description: Web concepting and templates for C.H. Robinson, a Fortune 500 transportation company

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Description: Web concepting for corporate website, blog and news service of Seattle-based environmental think tank

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Description: Web concepting, design and art direction for Columbia, Mo.’s daily newspaper and city magazine

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Description: Web concepting and mood boards for Valley Fresh, a Minneapolis-based food manufacturer

website screenshot

Description: Web concepting for corporate website, blog and news service of Seattle-based environmental think tank

Design At Work.

VML logo I work as a front-end developer for VML, a large interactive advertising agency based in Kansas City, Mo. I also do freelance work for clients across the country under my STRAWSMEDIA business name.

Like my work? Let's get in touch. Email me and we can talk over a coffee or a pint. Or, fill out a more formal work request on my contact page.

Client Service.

This week I developed an HTML email for a client of VML. They needed a template with a complex layout built for sending confirmations.

It needed to work well across the many email clients and browsers their customers use, which meant zero CSS. It also needed to flex across varying widths and avoid the many spam filters (which often get accidentally triggered). After testing on over fifteen different browser/OS combinations, here's the final product.