: : CRONAN : :

A creative strategic identity consultancy. We work with change-makers looking for innovative answers. Deeply experienced in naming, branding and design thinking, with results including TiVo and AmazonKindle. 

Creative Obsession: Creative Summit 26 in San Marcos, Texas

March 30-31, 2012


"Consider Everything...Inspiration, Stimulation. Sparks. They're everywhere we look (if we're looking hard enough) and often in places you wouldn't expect. As Henry David Thoreau said, 'It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.'... the theme of obsessive discovery was the theme of this year's Creative Summit..." with speakers invited by Manhattan-based designer, author, teacher and meta-curator Eric Baker, author of the "Today" series of images, Chris Hill, Heidi Hanna, the amazing HILL studio, and Texas State University professors.

Here's a good link

The student work this year and the judges were awesome. Among the cash scholarships was a wonderful surprise (to us), the : : CRONAN : : award!

10 bits of advice to design students

Download the PDF (1MB)

View the article on Creative Summit

Herself Becomes a Fellow: Karin Hibma receives the AIGA Fellow Award

AIGA, March 16, 2012

"Karin Hibma is a design activist: she is a deep listener who uses her powerful intellect to craft strategy and weave patterns of thought, truth, and story. Karin is a gentle giant of a human being. She is both grounded and visionary-- a feat which is rarely achieved." – Alina Wheeler

AIGA, the national professional association for design, believes designers serve a critical role as communicators, educators and innovators. AIGA sets the national agenda for the role of design in economic, social, political, cultural and creative contexts. The AIGA recognizes designers who havemade a significant contribution to raising the standards of excellence in practice and conduct within their local or regional design community as well as in their local AIGA chapter. The areas of education, writing, leadership and reputation as well as the practice of design are given equal consideration in measuring significant contribution. Karin has won design innovation and excellence in product design awards, been an innovator in all aspects of design and branding and has spoken about the influence of design all over the country. In March 2012 Karin was recognized along with outstanding colleagues and friends, Communication Arts Publisher Patrick Coyne and San Francisco's Hot Studio founder Maria Giudice.

"In everything she does, Karin so naturally exhibits the rare character attributes of grace and talent. Fueled by a genuine sense of love for creating "design that matters," Karin is an example for all us who practice design." – Dana Arnett

"San Francisco is a cauldron of some of the best creative talent in the world. Karin has excelled, with a varied palette of demanding projects that would have exhausted the rest of us. And this from a most beautiful and gracious lady, with enough security not to have an attitude." – B. Martin Pedersen


Read the interview with Karin

Event information

View the testimonials

Karin Hibma speaks at the 2011 Creative Summit

March 26, 2011


This was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Creative Summit. Karin Hibma, strategy partner at : : CRONAN : : , spoke to an auditorium filled with some of the American south's best design students along with their professors. She explained that finding the right questions to ask is, in many ways, is more important than the answers. "The right questions lead to higher order thinking," she explained, "answers are easy to find, it's the questions that hard."

The conference is the unique combination of a regional student design competition and lectures by the some of the most respected designers in this country. This year Karin had the pleasure of having son Nick Cronan on the same stage. Nick is creative lead at Fuse. Nick spoke about his experience in Lift, a design collective he founded with 5 other industrial design students atCalifornia College of the Arts, and working with international brands.


Go to the Creative Summit Site


Michael Cronan speaks at NASA storytelling conference

February 9, 2011

" NASA is in the position to lead our country in developing the scientific literacy we will need to successfully meet our future,"says Michael Cronan, "to do that NASA will employ the world's actual oldest profession, storytelling."

The conference was held at San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences and was attended by the NASA's top communication and exhibition designers. Its goal was to explore "storytelling" as the foundation  for concept development in all creative projects.

The presenters included legendary graphic designer KitHinrichs and accomplished exhibit designers Mitchell Maukand Steve Wiersema. CCA's inspired Director of Research and Planning/ Academic Affairs David Meckel moderated a long, lively panel and audience discussion.

Thanks to Jim Hull of NASA for organizing the conference and bringing us all together.

Gifts presented by First Lady Michelle Obama on the occasion of the 65th Anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly

September 24, 2010

"A special recipe of pickled, hand-picked ingredients from the White House Kitchen Garden, including sun gold tomatoes, okra, cucumbers, chocolate bell peppers, carrots, lemon verbena, and fresh herbs are presented in jars with the First Lady's signature. The jars are topped with original artwork done by California artists, Michael Cronan and Karin Hibma, who were inspired by a photo of Mrs. Obama tending to the garden with children and a wheelbarrow."        

"...to work and collaborate on this project was indeed a pleasure and a privilege." – Michael Patrick Cronan

View White House press release

Go to Alissa Walker's story at Fast Company's Co.Design

Working with : : CRONAN : : Maples Investments rebrands as FLOODGATE.

July 19, 2010

Mike Maples Jr., one of the co-founders of Motive, has been investing "as a hobby" for the last five years under the banner of Maples Investments. Some hobby: his investments include Twitter, Digg, Chegg, Wordnik, ngmoco:), Smule, Kno, ModCloth and a dozen or so other well known startups.

At first he put his own money to work. Then he raised a $10 million fund in 2006, and a second $35 million fund in 2008. And along the way he added an amazing partner, Ann Miura-Ko. They recently raised another $70+ million fund. Maples now admits that his hobby is more of an obsession, and they're changing the name of their fund to mark the milestone. We met Mike when he was a project manager at SGI where we named the IRIS Indigoand Crimson series. He wanted a name and identity for their new firm that really set them apart. As he says, "being different is better than being better."

Goodbye, Maples Investments. Hello, FLOODGATE: Opening the Gates of Success.


Fast Company selects : : CRONAN : : Partners Karin Hibma and Michael Cronan as Two of the 100 Most Creative People in Business.

Fast Company, June 2009

Even before we got the hand-written selection note from Robert Safian, Fast Company's Editor and Adweek's Editor of the Year, the magazine was a "must read" for us. Fast Company is all about being the most progressive, creative and innovative title on the market with news and stories about people and ideas that are making a difference in business today. Recognized for our work in naming and branding, we are honored to be in good company on their list.


See the press release    

View the entire list

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