June 4, 2018No Comments

Seven Courses – Main Street Kent

Main Street Kent hosted the annual “Seven Courses of Kent” dinner party in downtown Kent at Treno Ristorante, an upscale Italian restaurant situated in the historical train depot overlooking the Cuyahoga River.

Guests enjoyed a delectable seven-course meal comprised of dishes from seven Kent eateries. Each course was paired with a beer or wine selection chosen by a representative of Heidelberg Distributing Company. All-inclusive tickets included the seven-course dinner complete with wine and beer pairings, tax and gratuity.

This event was generously sponsored by Instantwhip Foods, Inc., Portage Community Bank, and Heidelberg Distributing Company. All food was donated by our generous business owners, and event proceeds benefited Main Street Kent.

Guests enjoyed a variety of soup, salad, hors d’oeuvre, entrée and dessert courses from these seven Kent establishments: Burnside Barbecue, Franklin Hotel Bar, Lucci's Place, NINETEEN10, Twisted Meltz, Popped!, Treno Ristorante. It’s a great opportunity to indulge in some of Kent’s best cuisine, all in one night!

June 4, 2018No Comments

Food Photography

Food Photography

Commercial photo studio specializing in food photography for local and national brands, restaurants, chefs, cookbooks, lifestyle and food-related subjects. We can shoot in studio, on location, and travel/lifestyle photography. We know our way around a kitchen, so we’ll stay out of the way, or, better yet, we can prepare your meals in-house and shoot them from our studio, provided you supply us with a recipe. Tired of over-styled food photos? Us too. Our minimal approach to food styling lets the food speak for itself. Our recipe for food photography success is as follows: 1/4c Jackson Pollock, 1/2tbs Francis Mallman, seasoned with natural light and a dash of Daido Moriyama.

We’re Gastronomes…

Who also love food photography! We could all say that we have a long history with food. We need it, after all, to survive. Our founder, Roger Hoover, began life watching his grandfather, Charles, turn flour, a few eggs, and water into divine kluski noodles. The alchemy of cooking has always intrigued him.  It was his grandfather too who inspired Roger’s brother, Josef, to become a chef. In all, there are three chefs in our founder’s family alone. It was only natural that Hoover combined his fine art education with his love for food and became a food photographer.


May 20, 2017Comments are off for this post.

Main Street Kent

Main Street Kent is a non-profit organization that focuses on the promotion, beautification, and revitalization of downtown Kent. The City of Kent, Kent State University, local businesses, and community members support Main Street Kent. Main Street Kent has 12 board members and many volunteers working to improve downtown Kent. Since Main Street Kent’s formation in 2006, dozens of new businesses have opened in downtown Kent, and a hundreds of new full-time and part-time jobs have been created. For every dollar Main Street Kent spends, $27 is returned in private investment.

Main Street Kent works to strengthen and beautify downtown Kent while fostering economic development, historic preservation, and a sense of community.

Main Street Kent's old website was in need of revitalization. They needed a new, responsive website with ecommerce functionality. This required design & development as well as server, data & email migration.

Website Analysis and Information Architecture
We began the process by analyzing all of the content and copy and search engine analytics. We eliminated all redundant or buried pages, scraped all content from the old website, and constructed a more organized site structure by defining strict categorization rules. Once we developed the new sitemap and structure, we wrote SEO rewrites for old pages (either ones that were eliminated or ones with messy URLs) to the new, SEO-friendly URLs. This would be integrated at the very end of the project.

When the client first approached us, they considered using Squarespace for the website. After reviewing analytics, we noticed that Main Street Kent received a great deal of unique daily visitors to the website. Using this data, we decided early on to use popular CMS, WordPress and WooCommerce for shopping cart functionality. WordPress and a dedicated server would allow more control of SEO and would improve site load times due to the amount of traffic they were already receiving. We chose WordPress for a number of other reasons: client familiarity played the largest role, but so did cost. Rather than develop a CMS and/or a theme from scratch, we could begin rapid development from a skeleton theme. This saved a substantial amount of money and time.

Website Design
With information architecture and the sitemap laid out, we started front end design on the website. Since we used a responsive skeleton theme to save cost, we already had a baseline responsive grid to from which to design. It was important to have a seamless user experience between pages, categories, and product pages. The homepage needed to direct the user to popular pages for dining, shopping and event destinations. The client also asked that fundraising pages were placed prominently in the header, body, and footer.

May 20, 2017Comments are off for this post.


CTRL Eyewear is a new brand of smart wearables aiming to change the landscape of the wearables industry. CTRL Eyewear is specifically founded to create the consumer version of innovative eyewear created for the U.S. Special Forces. CTRL is established in 2015 in the Netherlands as a subsidiary of AlphaMicron Inc, Kent Ohio, USA. CTRL Eyewear aims to design, develop and market the world’s most innovative eyewear, powered by AlphaMicron’s vast experience in adaptive military lens technology.

CTRL Eyewear's Website

CTRL Eyewear approached us shortly after the company changed ownership. They wanted to migrate entire website under a new company name. Doing so posed many problems. First, there had to be no loss of SEO, emails, or sales during the process. The criteria for the job was twofold: We had to design and develop an ecommerce website quickly, and set up a Customer Support center for users and the CTRL sales team.

We start every project with research. What is the market? Who does it consist of? What markets could we develop that aren't currently being acknowledged? How do we do that? Magic sorcery. We knew immediately that CTRL's product line was sleek, minimal, and technologically impressive. We didn't want the user interface or design of the website to interfere with strong product photography or video. So, we decided on a minimal grid system and limited color palette. We would use this approach for all digital and print design.

Because CTRL is an international company with many storage facilities, we needed to streamline the ecommerce experience. Instead of sourcing a different website based on location, we moved all of the shipping and purchasing options into the hands of the consumer. One website, one experience, all managed from the backend of the website.

Customer Support Forms
The sales team requested a detailed customer RMA form. The functionality included a form with multiple questions that - once filled out by a customer - would be auto-fed into an XML spreadsheet that logged the answers to the questions, generated a unique return number, auto-saved as a PDF, sent an automatic notification to both customer and the CTRL sales/support team.

May 20, 2017No Comments


The Speedbumps are an indie rock band from the great state of Ohio. Americana-UK calls their carefully orchestrated music "wistful acoustic Folk pop" led by the soulful and rootsy crooner, Erik Urycki. Because their songs are filled with intelligent lyrics underneath complex instrumentation, the band has won Relix Magazine's JAMOFF!, earned an IMA Award, and received Best Band recognition more than once within their region.

Poster Design & Social Media Cover Photos

Rust Creative develops tour poster concepts and social media marketing materials for the Speedbumps. We derive design concepts and marketing material by listening the the band's release, then design posters and cover images from those concepts.

Rust Creative has worked continuously with the Speedbumps on concert posters, promo, advertising, and t-shirt designs.

May 19, 2017No Comments

Last Chance Records

Last Chance Records is a Little Rock, Arkansas-based, independent record label specializing in Americana and indie-rock. They are home to some of our favorite songwriters, including, John Moreland, Tim Easton, American Aquarium, and more.

Website Design, Migration, and SEO re-directs
Last Chance Records asked us to design and develop a website that highlighted the label's extensive roster of some of Americana music's most talented songwriters. Their old website was static with sloppy url structure. There were many dead or missing links. LCR already set up an ecommerce solution so we needed to integrate shopping functionality into the new design. Since all orders were handled off-site, we simply added add-to-cart functionality to the new design.

Every artist page needed to have a catalog of their available records through LCR, as well as tour dates, press photos, social media contacts, and contact information.

May 19, 2017No Comments

Franklin Hotel Bar

The Franklin Hotel Bar is an upscale bar nestled away in a storied lower level of the Franklin Hotel in Kent, Ohio. The plush bar features classic cocktails with the freshest ingredients, craft beers, fine wines and delicious small plate food offerings. It’s a perfect spot for a quiet & intimate evening out.

Rust Creative & Franklin Hotel Bar

Our relationship with Franklin Hotel Bar began in the early stages of business development. We consulted with the owners on artwork, fabrics, seating, and lighting, before we designed menus, ads, and the website. Incorporating elements of an old, New-York style hotel bar, we helped craft a lasting brand that resounds through marketing materials, social media posts, and website content.

Handcrafted Cocktails

We saw fit to complement Franklin Hotel Bar's handcrafted cocktails with an equally impressive Cocktail Blog that highlights their specialty drinks with history, humor, and honesty. This cocktail blog serves as an online marketing tool for localized searches, as well as food and drink aficionados looking for unique cocktails.

Franklin Hotel Bar - Social Media Before Rust Creative

When you run a business, you're always looking for new ways to increase brand awareness and drive sales. Typically, the industry turns towards advertising to achieve these goals. There are alternatives. Recently, we spearheaded a social media marketing campaign to grow brand awareness for the throwback, classic cocktail bar, Franklin Hotel Bar, in Kent, Ohio.

Franklin Hotel Bar's social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) was updated on a semi-regular basis to fair-sized following, but we thought we could differentiate FHB from their competitors by fine-tuning their brand through social media. Their photography was stale, posts needed to be delivered consistently, with a voice that spoke to their market.

Food Photography

Franklin Hotel Bar's photos were grainy and non-professional. We felt that by professionally photographing their handcrafted cocktails and gorgeous small plates in their natural setting would be more enticing to social media users, while visually representing what FHB has to offer. We turned to our photographer to shoot photos of FHB's food, drinks, and handcrafted cocktails.

Rust Creative's food photography better represents Franklin Hotel Bar's relentless approach to delivering fresh, small plates in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.

Content & Copywriting

We immediately saw an increase with social media interactions once we started managing and populating FHB's social media accounts with fresh imagery. We also wanted to deliver content to potential customers in a way that didn't seem ad-driven, so we came up with a strategy to deliver content in the form of blog posts. These posts would be centered around FHB's classic cocktails and written specifically towards FHB's market. Our first post written for Franklin Hotel Bar - Old Fashioned - gained over 3,000 organic impressions in the first six hours.


Rust Creative's social media management, website redesign, and photography delivered immediate results within days of launching. All traffic and engagement was organic.

May 19, 2017No Comments

Taproot Catering

Locally sourced food that complements renowned service. There’s little or no point hiring the services of a catering company if all it provides is mass market produce. Taproot Catering caters for the individual, sourcing local produce to provide that all-important and unique ‘just-for-me’ experience for all of their customers. Only the finest produce will pass the Taproot Catering test – before it passes your lips. In a nutshell, Taproot Catering takes the pain out of organizing your important day, night or week – and add the ingredients that are always changing, always different and always sensational.

Taproot Catering wanted a clean, typography-driven website that highlighted their message of organic, quality food and highlighted some of their favorite dishes. They cooked, we delivered. We worked closely with Taproot Catering to design and develop an elegant, responsive website with clean typography, layout, and warm photography.

Search Engine Optimization & Local Search

Utilizing best search engine optimization practices, schema data, local search listings, and leveraging customer testimonials across all social media platforms, Rust Creative propelled Taproot Catering into the top search engine results for numerous, targeted keywords for their industry - food service and catering.

We started by optimizing listings for their catering business across all of the major and relevant local search properties. This included a mix of search engine directories, social media sites, and industry-specific directory sites. Accurate name, address, hours and phone data that were consistent across all data sources was - and still is - a critical foundational element of local SEO.

We also made sure all image attributes were searchable, and listed with our targeted keywords and markets, as well as writing original copy that reflected the overall Taproot Catering brand.

In combination, Taproot Catering saw immediate results and grows ever more, daily, because of our trust in their product, and their trust in our process.

Need help with restaurant SEO and social media? Contact us. We can help with a free assessment of your digital media.

May 19, 2017No Comments


Instantaneous electronic Tint-on-Demand lens switch to protect your vision and enhance performance. The internationally patented liquid crystal guest-host technology gives you the ability to change tint from light to dark within 0.1 second, which is faster than any other technology available with the main sunglasses brands. Developed for the U.S. Special Forces and now optimized for anybody who wants to enhance performance. All-in-one solution for multiple weather types. No dangerous moves required to adapt to changing light. Hands-off solution for changing sunglasses for optimal vision.

We collaborate with e-Tint on web design, eCommerce management, graphic design, marketing, and more.