As we look back on 10 years of Jack Porter, there is a rush of memories, funny stories, valiant victories and of course epic defeats. We’ll save those stories for the book. I think the thing we are most proud of is the culture and strong sense of purpose that we have created over 10 years. That culture and purpose has evolved and gained clarity over the years. Honestly, when we started it was pretty sketchy. We knew we wanted to design bigger and better experiences for our clients, but that wasn’t really defined. We knew we wanted to expand on our team and we had some ideas of who those people would be, but again not terribly defined. There is no question, we had things to figure out. 

With all that uncertainty, we did agree on a few real, tangible, non-negotiables: Coke Classic, real half and half, 72 degrees. Little did we know how much these seemingly arbitrary things would come to represent our culture and purpose. For those old enough to remember, the slogan for Coke was once “It’s the real thing”. And when it comes to our coffee, we do not trust a powder or something that doesn’t require refrigeration to go in our coffee, it’s got to be real and true half & half in all its rich caloric glory. If nothing else over the last 10 years, we have realized that is our role to help our clients discover and tell their real and authentic stories. Not watered down and no artificial sweeteners – keeping it real is what connects with audiences and builds loyalty.

And as for 72 degrees, that has actually been the hardest one to stick to with varying HVAC systems over the 10 years. But really we just hate being hot. The designs and the spaces should be hot, but not us. Likewise, for our clients we don’t want them to feel the heat along the way. We strive to be great partners that make the process as comfortable and fun as we can.

Over 10 years, our team has expanded, our expertise has grown and we are delivering projects for our clients that push boundaries, including the 40’ wing sculpture at University of Louisville, the immersive Matrix experience at University of Miami, and the interactive light projection at Michigan’s Alumni Association, that installs this fall, to name a few. Our team loves an opportunity to innovate, but it is always rooted in a client’s goal. The driver of innovation is discovering the real goal or the challenge that needs to be overcome. Technology isn’t always the answer. Bigger isn’t always the answer. Every client comes to us with a space that isn’t working, there is a disconnect between how the space feels and the real story they want to tell about their program, its history, tradition, values and trajectory. Through discovery, and uncovering the real goals and challenges, our team develops the right strategy for each space. At the end of the day, you can’t get to the right answer without asking the right questions. Understanding our clients is critical to the success of the project. We have been known to show up for those discovery meetings with hot coffee and real half and half in tow. You’ve gotta keep it real.

To our team, our clients, our partners, thank you for the first 10! And we’re ready to push the envelope in the next 10!