Creative Crawl: 1 Day, 4 Tours, Nonstop Rain

By Alex Knaisel

After months of constant contact with 4 renown agencies and broadcasting to our members, Creative Crawl had finally arrived. The evening began around 5 pm at Grand Rapids Brewing Company. Students mingled and buzzed in excitement before choosing their travel group. Each group started at one of the four agencies participating in our event, which was: People Design, Experience GR, Adtegrity, and Grey Matter Group.

Once a group reached their agency, they had 20 minutes to tour the space, learn about their work, network, and ask questions before trekking to the next agency. What could go wrong?

Oh, that’s right…the rain.


If you participated in the Creative Crawl, you probably remember the feelings of excitement, curiosity, and wet jeans. Umbrellas and maps in hand, the students were off.

People Design

people design

People design was my group’s first stop. We were greeted with coffee and snacks and led to a collaboration room to sit and chat with People Design’s president, Kevin Budelmann. There he gave us the lowdown on what People Design does best- creative design ideas and strategy consulting.

They’ve worked on the GRAM, UICA, and ArtPrize logos, as well as Grand Valley’s current campaign. They constantly collaborate with outside writers, animators, and video.

Before touring the rest of the agency, Budelmann gave us key advice for young ad pro’s joining the ranks, “It’s really important to be able to switch between different kinds of media. Being outgoing is great, but what else can you do?”

Experience GR

experience gr.jpg

Next on the map was Experience GR, which was (thankfully) reachable via skywalk and not outside on the rainy sidewalk.

Experience GR is passionate about sharing the magic of Grand Rapids, making their mission to inspire people to come to the city. One of their most successful projects has been their partnership with Pure Michigan, which you may have seen commercials for in the past.

They primarily compete with Midwest markets like Milwaukee and Detroit. Experience GR focuses heavily on filling up convention centers- when those are full, so are local hotels, breweries, and dining- and are booking now as far as into the year 2022.



From Experience GR, we plunged back into the storm to find Adtegrity.

Todd Morris, president of the agency, led us downstairs to the main section of the agency, which was lined with desks of creative thinkers- you could tell by their eccentric cookie jars, “Parks and Rec” photos taped to their cabinets, and cat-shaped pen cups.

Adtegrity works with digital, connecting smaller agencies and business clients with their marketplaces. They focus on programmatic media buying, or the automatic buying and selling of media space, audiences, and ads.

When asked what they would recommend for students looking to get serious about the industry, Morris suggested students get Adword certified, a free course where students can pick up all of the lingo and important abbreviations used in day to day agency life. Morris also suggested getting Hubspot inbound certified, even if it’s not what you want to do when you graduate. These are free ways to add some bling to your resume and show your initiative.

Grey Matter Group

grey matter

Our final stop was at Grey Matter Group.

Their space was unique and fun, and you could feel the creativity in the workplace as you opened the door. They had a table ready for us and provided Japanese snacks as they explained a little more about what they do.

Grey Matter handles anything from logo design to web design and everything in between, working with clients like New Holland Brewing Co., Steelcase, and even a software developer based in Japan. “We like to challenge our clients as well as ourselves,” said Jessica, a digital specialist. Grey Matter’s favorite type of projects to work on is the weird, the different, and the out there.

After chatting and getting some advice from Grey Matter’s pros, we had the chance to tour the rest of their building, complete with lava lamps, untouched original brick walls, and plenty of plants.

group photo creative crawl.jpg

So there you have it. Although Creative Crawl was an evening full of heavy (and I mean heavy) rain, I’d still say it was a success. A huge thank you goes out to People Design, Experience GR, Adtegrity, and Grey Matter Group for speaking with us and giving us a tour of their agencies.

Until next time, get wet lakers.


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