What I Wish I Knew: 427 Design

What Akron’s 427 Design has learned in a decade of graphic design, web-making, photography, animation and screen printing awesomeness


You may not have seen 427 Design’s office, which is amazeballs, or recognized their people when you saw them, but you probably have seen some of their work, which is among the most creative you’ll find, here or anywhere. Now, this wild bunch is celebrating 10 years in the business, so their annual open house–May 26 at 4:27 pm, 190 N. Union St., Akron–is even more special-er than usual. To get this party started, we asked Brad and Justin, the guys who started it all, to share something about the lessons they’ve learned the hard way. Visit them online at 427design.com.


Justin Tokos, Creative Director:

I wish I would have known, or perhaps better understood, the value and importance of community involvement and networking. I get a lot of enjoyment from local projects and it makes me feel great

to see our work appear around town.  That “hey we helped with that” feeling never gets old and now it’s one of my favorite kind of project to work on. There’s a lot going on in Akron, and we could have been more in tune to that in the early years.


Brad Hain, President:

I wish I would have known how gratifying and fulfilling it is to be a business owner in a community like Akron. Akron is full of hard-working, talented and gracious businesses and organizations who are doing great things. And we are lucky, and oftentimes inspired, to be asked to bring their ideas and initiatives to life through great design, motion graphics, photography and the other services we offer. If I could change one thing, it’s that I would have started 427 Design sooner.  

I also could have worked more to promote 427 Design early on. We have intentionally flown under the radar, relying on word of mouth and referrals to provide new opportunities for ourselves. Our clients have always been my best PR and salespeople. Our subtlety has become a part of our brand and one of the things that make us who we are. We plan to engage more national accounts, and to make that happen we’ll be marketing ourselves more aggressively in our next ten years.

(Featured photos courtesy of 427 Design)