SNDLOU: Introducing Tim Frank, director of Gannett’s Asbury Park Design Studio

Courtney Kan: Can you share a little background on your career?

Tim Frank, director of Gannett's Asbury Park Design Studio
Tim Frank, director of Gannett’s Asbury Park Design Studio

Tim Frank: I came into journalism a bit late, after about 15 years as an artist and photographer. These were smaller papers: the Sandusky Register in Ohio and the Sun Journal in Maine (where I was fortunate to get some startup help from Lucie Lacava). We had a lot of fun seeing what kind of crazy things we could get published. It turned out that people often responded well to that element of surprise. The drive to make the work fun became part of our readership strategy.

A chance to work with Tracy Collins and Chris Kozlowski lured me to Phoenix, where I learned to polish the work and maneuver in a large organization. That was followed by an opportunity to run the visuals at the South Florida Sun Sentinel, where we were blessed by a convergence of great photographers, graphic reporters, TV and print designers.

Establishing Gannett’s design studio in Asbury Park, was a daunting task. In addition to launching 15 papers in 18 months, we’ve already been through two hurricanes (in New Jersey?!) and an earthquake. Is it too much to say that this staff is badass?

Almost forgot to mention, been at it 11 years now.

CK: What topic will you be speaking on at SND LOU (if you know)?

TF: Your best ideas only count if you can get them produced. I’ll be talking about how to sell your ideas. If you’re not scaring your boss, you aren’t trying hard enough.

CK: Why are you excited about speaking at SND LOU?

TF: Actually, I’m petrified. But seriously, it’s an honor to be asked. If I can help someone rise above the obstacles to doing their best, most engaging work, that’s really priceless to me.

CK: What inspires you?

TF: Creative people of all types. I am fascinated by their processes.

CK: What is one piece of advice you have for SND LOU attendees?

TF: SND taught me how generous and enthusiastic the people in this business can be. Say hello. Get introduced.

CK: What are you looking forward to personally at SND LOU?

TF: Looking forward to seeing those enthusiastic and generous people.

To register for SND Louisville, click here.

About Courtney Kan

is a designer at The Washington Post and the editor of


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