Giving a long-term client a brand new makeover 
It is with great pride and anticipation that Karsh Hagan announces the launch of the new Pinnacle Bank, Bank of Colorado website.

Building on a strong relationship 

Karsh Hagan has had a close relationship with Pinnacle Bank for over 10 years. As a leading community bank, relationships are what Pinnacle Bank is all about in each of their nearly 150 branches in eight states. Karsh Hagan is proud to be a trusted partner in technology-focused work for the company.

Disciplined UX leads to focus on design

When Pinnacle Bank reengaged Karsh Hagan to update their website, http://www.pinnbank.com, we set out to test the user experience, UX, strategy we implemented four years ago. To our delight, this strategy was still working, which allowed us to focus solely on the design of the site and refine the customer brand experience. Iterative improvement is what we strive for at Karsh Hagan, doing things right the first time so we can make progress and focus on more valued efforts moving forward.

Karsh Hagan modernizes site design

To create design as effective as the UX strategy, Karsh Hagan focused on the brand essence of Pinnacle Bank—the branding, user interface design, and overall feel of the site.

When Pinnacle Bank and Karsh Hagan began working on the website, we:

  • Incorporated beautiful photography from past campaigns to create a brand-friendly experience throughout the site.
  • Integrated community content into the site to further strengthen the local focus of Pinnacle Bank and Bank of Colorado customers.
  • Localized the site with specific SEO landing pages targeting localized non-branded keywords to make the bank easier to find in search engine result pages.
  • Owned brand colors to differentiate the bank from their competitors.
  • Optimized calls to action to help customers quickly find what they are looking for.
  • And upgraded the User Interface, UI, kit with a more rigorous structure around the design of every aspect of the UI of the site.

Thank you to Pinnacle Bank for trusting Karsh Hagan with your brand and website technology makeover. Doing great work and building businesses is what Karsh Hagan is all about, doing it right the first time, so we can evolve into the future.

– David Stewart, KH VP of Creative Technology 

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While there are plenty of banks in Colorado, there’s only one Bank of Colorado. It also happens to be one of the original banks in our state. Karsh Hagan recently worked with our long-term Bank of Colorado client to launch a new campaign in 2016, focused on the passion and loyalty the people who live here have for this amazing state. We stayed away from typical bank imagery and instead captured the beauty of iconic locations from across the state. We used local Colorado talent, including photographers, musicians and production partners. By placing a 3-dimensional ONE into transcendent Colorado imagery for both print and TV, we told a visual story about the bank’s commitment to helping the state’s residents make the most of living here. Since the campaign launched in January, Bank of Colorado has seen a 5.93% increase in new accounts.


Executive Creative Director: Jeff Martin

Creative Director: Jason Kusmanoff

Senior Art Director: Dave Markes

Senior Copywriters: Megan Cohen

Video Editor: Tom Welborn

Producer: Becky Ferguson

Motion Graphics and Editing: Friends of Mine

Music: Trout Steak Revival

Photographer: Andy Anderson, Ken Redding

Account: David Finkelstein, Meg Milligan

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Annual Bocce Ball Tournament

Each year, we end the summer with our favorite game, Bocce Ball. We break up into teams, come up with fun team names and battle for the win.

This year, Chuck Norris’s Team Mongoose Death Squad won the title. The team, Kathy Hagan Brown, Christina Sokol, Camille King and Mark Stiltner, consistently performed and ended with bragging rights. Here is a fun recap of our annual Bocce Ball tournament.


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Generation Z: The last letter breaks the mold



credit: Adweek


Say hello to Gen Z, born 1995 and after.

If you share my skepticism about demographers who paint entire generations with a broad brush, you might be surprised to learn that many of the traits attributed to Gen Z do hold up under scrutiny. Both of my kids are Gen Zers, and as I watch them and their friends with a researcher’s eye, I’m noticing the tell-tale Gen Z characteristics.

Good news for all you millennial bashers: Gen Z is a different generation. Hard working and ambitious, this new generation values meaning over money, is determined to make a difference in the world and lives with a keen eye turned toward their future.

The defining event in their lives was the Great Recession. Hitting while Gen Z was in elementary and middle school, it was formative. This recession personally touched a whopping 73 percent of Americans. Young Gen Zers watched as parents lost jobs, friends downsized to other neighborhoods, older siblings re-claimed the basement when the traditional route of college didn’t pay off, and many saw their hopes for college dwindle with their parent’s retirement.

I call them “The Practical Idealist.”

  • They are self-reliant and determined. Raised by Gen Xers (the “latch key kids”) Gen Z kids have not been subjected to the helicopter parenting that Boomers gave their Millennial offspring. Thus, Gen Z tends to be more comfortable figuring things out for themselves.
  • They are natural entrepreneurs. According to Sparks & Honey and a 2014 report by Mintel, 72 percent of high school students want to start their own business someday (compared to only 64 percent of college students), and their preferred profession is “social entrepreneur.” I believe this is due to growing up with business role models like Tom’s Shoes and Elon Musk. Watching their parents lose company jobs may have inspired a tendency to trust their ability rather than a corporation.
  • They fear debt but will be the most college-educated generation. Influenced by the Great Recession, Gen Z stays informed about the economy and fears debt. Despite this, 71 percent of high school students say that a college degree is necessary for the career and life they want, and 66 percent plan to attend college. See what I mean about practical?

For more traits, give us a call. 

Two industries they’ll change Banking and Higher Education.

Time will tell if I am right, but I believe this generation will be demanding customers to the fields of higher education and banking.

Gen Z has seen first hand that there are ways other than college to gain an education. Their ideal college will give them proof of ROI and plenty of practical, real-world experience.

Banks should offer ways to save money easily and be transparent with any fees. This group started saving money early and is always thinking ahead. They’ve watched their parents lose half or more of their retirement and have been quick to learn from it.

Also, they don’t trust corporations. But that’s a story for another day.

-Mary Dean, VP, Strategy, and Insights 

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A Colorado Story: The 2016 Colorado Tourism Office Campaign

We set out to capture what it really feels like to visit Colorado. It’s not just about the things you do. But the realization that this is what life is all about.

Filming across the state with Camp4 Collective, we captured moments you could never plan. We covered Colorado from the western slope to the southeast plains, featuring hot springs and horses, fishing and hiking, two national parks and a national monument.

When our team moved into production, we wanted to use Colorado talent to tell this story.

For television and online video, our goal was to tell visual stories that rose above the clutter and delivered a real emotional impact. We worked with Shawn King of Denver band DeVotchKa to find the perfect band because we knew the right music would be essential. Together, we found Shady Elders, a Colorado band. They recorded custom versions of their songs for us to pair with each video. We also selected a Colorado editor, voice talent, and audio production house.

We continued telling the story across print, digital and out of home advertising, including a takeover of Chicago’s Union Station.

In 2015, Colorado set all-time records for total visitors, visitor spending and tax generation. This was the fifth year of consecutive growth for Colorado tourism, dating back to 2011 when Karsh Hagan won the account.

Colorado welcomed 77.7 million travelers in 2015, for a 31 percent increase over five years, compared with a 16 percent national average. This generated a record $1.13 billion in state and local tax generation, a 7.8 percent increase over last year.

“The continued success of the Colorado Tourism Office’s ‘Come to Life’ campaign results from the combination of connecting with and inspiring consumers at a personal level and having a media plan that effectively gets the message to a national audience,” said Denise Miller, executive vice president of SMARI, in a CTO press release. “As a result, the CTO has achieved one of the highest ROIs of any destination nationally.”

Our team can’t wait to get the results back from our 2016 campaign. We think working with the Colorado Tourism Office is a privilege. Every day we get to promote the best product on earth—the state of Colorado.

-Dave Fymbo, Senior Copywriter

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Three trends from the Develop Denver conference

Every year Karsh Hagan attends Develop Denver, a local, community-based conference that brings designers and developers together. Develop Denver helps professionals and students alike by introducing them to new technologies, processes, and philosophies that will help them innovate in the digital world. The conference continues to grow, and this year it has blossomed, partly because of Denver’s growing tech hub.

This year, the topics of discussion ranged from technical presentations about the latest tools and techniques to talks about secondary skills and philosophies, such as presenting and increasing designer/developer collaboration.

Here are some of the top trends discussed. 

1. Developers are becoming tired of the front-end ecosystem.

Right now, the current front-end toolset for web-app building looks something like this: React, Redux, Babel, Lodash, Gulp/Webpack, plus your templating language and testing framework of choice, and more (this is all Javascript). Some people are tired of adding dependency after dependency to their project because you have to spend time on setup rather than building your app. But, there’s an emerging alternative – the Elm Architecture. It’s based on the concept of functional programming and offers everything React, Redux, and the list above does in one package. It’s also supposedly lightning fast, which is crucial for a good user experience on the front end, and it promises to make app architecture more performant and foolproof. It certainly looked impressive and did solve many problems, but with how rapidly technologies change, we’ll see how popular it is in two years.

2. How we interact with computers is changing our behavior towards each other.

Cody Moiseve, an Interaction Designer, highlighted a recent article he read where the author stated that his Amazon Echo was making his daughter a jerk because she was talking to it in a mean tone and that was translating to her interactions with humans.

As developers, do we have a responsibility to program in responses or filters to prevent this negative behavioral change? If so, how much should we try to influence someone’s behavior? I think a good solution would be to have a child setting which restricts access based on certain keywords, plus it could talk back if a particular keyword isn’t used, such as “please.” Ultimately, it’s the parent’s or owner’s responsibility to differentiate between human and machine and tailor their behavior accordingly. To me, this is an interesting subject and as human and computer interaction increases, how will it change both the person and the machine?

3. Designer and developer collaboration.

Collaboration between designers and developers is never perfect, but new tools and methodologies are improving the workflow, helping us design, build, and plan today’s modern apps and web apps.

The basic overview:

  • Design components, not pages – Components are reusable and scalable when you want to add new pages in the future.
  • Make a style guide – Ensuring consistent design is key to a good appearance and user experience.
  • Mood boards showing design systems over page mocks – These will help the client communicate a design direction, reduce rounds of revisions and offer more flexibility if you discover something needs to change later on.
  • Prototype Animations – Animations are critical in providing feedback to the site visitor. They also enhance the “feel” of the product. Principle and Framer.js will help you do this.
  • Design version control – Keep everything versioned so that everyone is working off of the latest materials.
  • Share often – Better to correct something before it’s fully built.

Get involved in the Denver development scene
Everyone I spoke to at Develop Denver was friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. It’s a friendly community of men and women who actually enjoy their jobs and the craft. Whether you’re starting out or have been working as a developer for years, it’s important to get out and see what’s going on around you. If you are in the industry and looking to network, learn, or grow your business, I encourage you to attend Develop Denver and get involved in the Denver design and tech community. A good place to start is going to a Meetup.

-Joe Saperstein, Senior Creative Technologist

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