There are thinkers. There are makers. And then there's Chris Ralston, the only person I know who perfectly embodies them both. I've partnered with Chris on projects large and small for more than a decade. The way his brain works never ceases to amaze me. Chris can take even the most superficial creative briefs and use them to develop insights that connect on a deep, personal level. He has a remarkable skill for finding the truth and crafting it into a compelling story. As a maker, no one is as detailed as this guy. He's a master of fonts, paper choices, illustration styles and a million other thoughtful and artful things that put the presentation over the top. The result is always as beautiful as it is smart, regardless of budget.
John CARLTON / Senior Writer
Chris and I partnered together for 10+ years on various businesses. I have never worked with someone with a more thoughtful, purposeful and thorough creative mind. Chris dives deep into every assignment, not satisfied until he fully understands the “why” behind it. He’s a deep thinker, and his thirst for detail around the “why” of each assignment fuels his creative mind. With purposeful rationale for every creative or design decision, Chris is able to tell stories through his work with a balanced recipe of reason, logic, creative juju and passion. Chris is a true team player—as much as he dives deep to understand an assignment, he does the same to get to know and understand people—coworkers and clients alike. This translates to an ability to adapt to different working styles and to connect on a personal level with those whom with Chris works. With a vast background of professional and personal life experiences, interests and passions, Chris brings a unique perspective to the worlds of advertising, branding and creative design. Working with Chris inspires in me new ways of thinking and understanding creative problems to solve. On a day-to-day level, Chris is professional, respectful of other ideas and thoughts, and can be trusted to deliver great creative work on a consistent basis.
Jeff DANIELS / Account Supervisor
Chris is an all-around talent when it comes to art direction, design, and brand story-telling. Having worked with Chris on a variety of projects at two different clients over the years, I witnessed first-hand his craftsmanship. Thoughtful and creative, he always brings a level of professionalism to any partnership that cannot be overstated. Whether it's print, digital, or even environmental design, Chris' passion for expressing the brand in whatever way necessary is also unique. He always comes up with something fresh and unexpected, and it's always on strategy. His knack for stunning typography is a skill that sometimes seems like a lost art in itself these days. He even has a keen eye with the camera, which adds another dimension to his timeless abilities. So whether he's art directing another photographer or shooting the images himself, the true art of making a photo (not just taking a photo) comes through. And the total package benefits because of Chris' vision. We have won awards together, primarily because of Chris's creative talents. But what's even better is his humility and respect for others, making him the definition of the word partner.
Greg MANIS / Corporate Director of Communications, MGP
Chris is one of the most thoughtful creatives I've ever worked with—thoughtful with regard to design and conceptual thinking, business insights and strategy and professional integrity. I worked with him for a number of years on a range of clients and industries. He overdelivers and never lets you down. He always provides creative solutions that you are proud to present to your clients. We even worked together on a number of award winning projects. Though, I love that Chris would often say the best award was accomplishing the client's marketing goals. He's a strong asset to any creative team.
Sarah MILLER / Group Account Director & Brand Strategist
Over our past five years working together, Chris was always a creative partner I could trust to bring thoughtful, well articulated and exceptional design work to every client. Chris by his very nature is a curious and inquisitive designer. He was constantly working to better understand his client's businesses. How consumers perceived them. What challenges they faced. All this translating into creative messaging that resonated with clients and consumers alike. Add to all this, Chris' personal drive for perfection in all that he does, makes him a creative partner I would go to battle with any day.
Mark TRIBBLE / VP, Director of Account Management
Designing something meaningful is no easy task, especially these days. However, Chris makes it his mission and purpose to add meaning to everything he touches. He dives into every project with a deep desire to truly understand every aspect. His passion and his commitment to the team, the client, the work and the artistry result in truly inspired designs. Chris and I have worked together for almost 5 years. There are co-workers and there are teammates. Chris is a teammate, a team player—someone that lifts others up. He inspires those around him, challenges the norm and isn’t afraid to take the path less traveled. Chris is an exceptional art director and an even better person.
Brandi FRYE / Social Media Strategist
As an art director, Chris is a craftsman. His designs are artistic expressions of the briefs. He has a true gift for finding aspects within every project that bring to life meaningful executions. He’s a partner to the team in the creative process. Always asking thoughtful questions that push the creative forward. Chris is a pleasure to work with and has a great talent for design in all channels.
Jacqueline HARMON / Group Account Director
Chris is one of the best people I've ever worked with. His ability to sit in a kick-off meeting, quietly absorbing all of the inputs, and then dropping a bomb that makes the entire room reconsider the entire assignment was incredible to watch, and is something I've tried to mimic in my own career. More than an art director, or graphic designer, Chris is a strategist in disguise and brings that mindset to everything he works on. I hope to work with Chris again as soon as possible.
Kyle BABSON / Brand + Content Strategist
Good design knows no boundaries—it’s timeless and makes you pay attention in a world full of chaos—and RALSTON is really good at design. He can create and tell a brand’s story like nobody else can. It doesn’t matter if it’s in digital or traditional channels, interior design or fashion, you always know when it’s Ralston’s work because it stands out above the rest. He was such a pleasure to work with at Callahan Creek and treats everyone with the utmost respect. If you don’t have Ralston working on your team, then you’re missing out.
Kate NELSON / Digital Strategist
Chris is a killer designer, art director, and maker. He is also a great idea person, concepting partner, and always goes above and beyond. From print to web to social to package design to big branding ideas to logos to everything else, I loved working with him and know you will as well.
Tug McTIGHE / Executive Creative Director
Chris is an amazing talent. He is one of the best art director/designers I have ever had the pleasure to work with. In our modern world of disposable everything and business communications designed for 6-second attention spans, Chris offers design and creative sensibilities that are as rare as they are impressive. On top of all that, Chris is just an all-around great person—thoughtful, respectful and enjoyable to be with.
John KUEFLER / VP, Digital Strategy + UX
Chris has diverse and eclectic interests rarely found in one person. This insatiable curiosity drives him to explore all aspects of a topic to find that element that any audience can connect with which he then turns into an authentic story that is intriguing and relatable. Chris is also an amazing leader, who looks to involve all team members in the creative process and brings out their abilities. As a Print Production Manager it was a joy to work with Chris because he was always on the look out for an ink, paper, or print process that was fresh and reflected the spirit of the story we were delivering. This challenge made me a better Print Buyer and gave me a level of creative involvement in campaigns that was truly rewarding.
Nan LEFFINGWELL / Business Technology Consultant
Chris is a deep thinker with a refined aesthetic and a unique perspective that often generated new, interesting ideas. In my years working with Chris, he demonstrated flexibility, preparation, mindfulness and just good ol' willingness to get his hands dirty that helped me see what a good creative looks like on a day to day basis. He was never one to shy away from a challenge, and in fact, I witnessed him tackle some sizable ones quite gracefully. Chris was, and still is, one of the finest creative partners I've ever had the pleasure of working with, and I hope I get the chance to do so again someday.
Nick KINNEY / Associate Creative Director
Every so often you work with someone who not only delivers incredible work consistently, but inspires those around him with his thoughtfulness and constant resolve to master his craft. Chris is that person for me. I've had the privilege of working directly with Chris on several major branding assignments and in each case his deep thinking, inquisitiveness and skill led to a brand architecture that delighted the client and helped achieve the desired business goals. He is eloquent, polished and professional and I hold him in the highest regard.
Kent STONES / Senior Director Business & Brand Strategy
In an industry that has turned to quick-turn solutions and template-based design, Chris is one of the few creatives I know that truly values craft. He is one of the most thoughtful designers I've had the privilege to work with. He is fervent with detail and is holistic in his approach to problem solving. He thinks through every aspect of the project and returns with design solutions that are both relevant and novel. I can honestly say that just being a part of his process makes me a better creative.
Stefan MUMAW / Creative Director