helium creative

The helium tank is our mash up of ideas + art + design + events and everything in between. Work that makes us smile, art that’s all around, events that we hope you’ll join us, or words we’re stitching together. The helium tank is a big window into who we are.

circles conference 2013


helium creative took a field trip to Dallas, Texas in September to attend the annual Circles Design Conference held in the historic Palace Theatre. This adventure introduced us to some awesome designers who offered insight that we just can’t get out of our heads. So, of course, we have to share our favorite speakers with you! Chris, Ryan, Luis and Sofia break down our top 4 and why. Check them out 🙂


Jeff Sheldon
As a fellow entrepreneurial, I connected with much of his discussion, namely: it’s in the details. Many may never even know they are there but all combine to create a unique, trusted, lasting brand.
In addition to these tips:
+ Do what you love
+ Put yourself in your customer’s shoes
+ Use what you make
+ Quality over quantity

Megan Gilger
Megan talked about building a career by following her passions, trusting her instincts and sharing her story. She loved to write, travel and design so she began a blog as an outlet to share her experiences. Her life and journey became an ongoing body of work. That passion project led to a successful and fulfilling career. Her motto: Live. Create. Tell The Story. Repeat.

Ben Jenkins
“What Matters!” was the topic that inspired me the most. Ben talked about how all you need to be happy and successful is the bare essentials; no glitz, no glamour. That if you see more things and stop overdoing,  you will “do beautiful things.”

Lotta Nieminen
What inspired me the most were the stories about her struggles in the beginning of her career, and the determination to overcome fear. Lotta’s dedication to reach goals and take chances inspired me to never fear the unknown and always keep trying, no matter how scared I am of failing. I love that she is a triple threat: a graphic designer, illustrator and art director.



balafive update!

We’ve periodically teased about BalaFive, an upcoming project that we have in the works. We’ve been holding off on showing too much of the developed content because it is super top secret… BUT, like kids on Christmas [or Ryan at Hanukkah]… we can’t wait! So here is a sneak peek at a few pages from the BalaFive website + app that we are in the process of developing. Keep up with us on Facebook or Instagram to see some more in the future!

the gist:
BalaFive Brand Development
BalaFive website
myBalaFive website
my BalaFive App for ios + android

inspirational fridays


Join helium creative every Friday from 12pm – 1pm as we welcome a guest speaker for lunch to discuss what inspires them! We ‘d love to see you there – so just give a shout to say you’re coming! We’ve got some really awesome speakers lined up, check them out 🙂

wanna come? e-mail [email protected] or call 954.333.8900


ashley huizenga
visual artist + display coordinator for Anthropologie

diana fleming-lorenzo
media buyer + co-owner of Blue Daisy Media

kim grijalva
creative director of The Guild Five Forty Five+ visual storyteller

rebecca bradley
co-owner of Cadence + community innovator



tell the story

As planned, I was going to write this blog on what we gained from going to the Circles Conference in Dallas.  I went so far as to outline what I was going to write by taking verbal notes on my iPhone voice recorder like a total pro nerd. This entry had the makings of a real winner – touching on following your passion, the importance of family, blah blah blah.

But that shit ain’t happening.

This hypothetical, life-changing blog was continuously put on the back burner because time seemed to slip away as I found myself spending 12 hour days at our studio, staring at a monitor or talking to clients and vendors on the phone. Answering emails. Scheduling projects. Troubleshooting.

[Hold on the phone is ringing now.]

The time that I had to design or write completely dissipated and I now find myself working extra hours, juggling more work but reaping very little reward. My normally eager creative mind is slowly withering like the 6 day-old white roses I received for my anniversary last week. Poetic. 🙁

One project had the ability to completely consume time, energy, hours and perfectly good opportunities to watch the new Fall Season lineup. Thank God for DVR, but it’s just not the same. FYI the new season of Revenge started last week. Just saying. But where was I? 500 NW 1 Ave.  Also known as the helium creative studio.

I want to get mad. I want to whine like a baby and curse like a sailor. And I do. But that’s not the point. The point is although I can get very easily caught up in the moment, in wanting to punch some faces or get gangsta up in huurrr, at the end of the day nothing changes if nothing changes. I have to shift my perspective.

What I started to realize was that even though this project has grown into a giant crazy, I have learned more from these past few weeks of insanity than I had in awhile. Not only professionally, but personally as well. Finding the silver lining in these circumstances can sometimes feel worse than what’s actually going on. Find the good in something when I’m sitting oh-so comfortable on my pity pot? Hell no. But when the perspective actually shifts, I begin to see the bigger picture. That this small blip of a moment in time is really just part of a larger whole. These sour times [which is the title of an awesome Portishead song btw] have an end and also serve a purpose. Makes me bigger + badder + stronger + and ready for the next big thing that comes my way.

I was always the kind of person who wanted to run. When times got tough and I felt overwhelmed by whatever – a relationship, a project, an awful finale to Dexter – I was ready to say the big F it. I’m out. Done. But there was never any personal growth when I was constantly running. No time to actually stew in a situation, marinate, let my innards boil and get my skin nice and crispy. I was never a well developed meal, always just raw or under seasoned meat. [It’s 9:54pm. I’m still at the office and have not had dinner. My analogies have clearly gone down a culinary route.]

What’s pretty cool is that this whole rant actually does tie into what I gained from the Circles Conference, I guess I’m just taking a different route to deliver it. I am passionate about life. About growing as a person and learning everyday. Whether it be in design, how I see the world or simply how I relate to others. The desire to better myself is always there, the need to never be stagnant and keep developing myself as an upstanding citizen of this here world we live in.

One of my favorite speakers at the Circles Conference wrapped up her talk with a message that hit home:

Tell The Story.

I think that is an awesome way to close this out.



Megan Gilger of Wild Measure and The Fresh Exchange Blog wrote this message for her presentation that made some sparks fly in my little brain.

the helium team outside of the Circles Conference 🙂

Our front row seats during the conference. Taking notes and doodling.

That’s right. I’m official.

[est] of the [est]


For a good chunk of time I felt a self imposed pressure to be the best[est], the bad[est], the smart[est], the most creative[est], the funni[est], the all knowing design guru who could move pixels with his mind and save children from a burning orphanage.  All while fitting in 2 seasons of Revenge on Netflix in a record 10 days.  Emily Thorne has become my modern day Buffy [minus the vampires, but with a whole lot of bloodsucking rich white folk].

So what am I talking about?

Naturally we want to succeed, push boundaries, move mountains – change the world. As someone who has a slight tendency to appreciate being in control, along with an active imagination and will to create, I often set myself up for failure.  Or at least a long hard road of hair loss, sleepless nights and annoying eye twitches.  I innately want to bite off more than I can chew, pushing myself further and further to see what else can be uncovered.  It’s like not wanting to go to sleep at night for fear of “missing something” – which I am totally guilty of.  When in reality the only thing I am missing is a good nights sleep to prepare myself for the next day.

And the metaphor there is that we are our own worst enemy.

I was just talking to someone about feelings of inadequacy and fear when taking on a new [daunting] project.  There is that preliminary period of “Oh shit, can I really do this?” What if I suck? What if I let my team down? Or most importantly, what if I die? [because I’ve always gotta jump to the extreme]

So where does this fear come from?

Having to be the [est] all the time is a rather large feat to tackle. It’s also pretty unrealistic. By nature I am competitive, controlling and creative. A very dangerous alliteration.  Fear is a direct result of this lethal combination, resulting in a need to be the [est] of the [est] and also a love for what I do.  Fear and love are our two main driving forces in life – the biggest motivators that we have as human beings.  Honing that fear, using it as a tool to make productivity stronger is so important. But the cool thing is that fear is actually being driven by love.

When I acted in theatre, I would piss my pants from stage fright before going out in front of an audience.  Not literally. My urine was still somewhat controllable, but it certainly adds to the affect of this story. I was unbelievably freaked out, until finally that invisible kick pushed me on stage and I just did what I knew I was good at.  In retrospect I realize that my fear actually stemmed from love.  I wanted to be the best[est], funni[est], most talented[est] actor ever to grace that low budget community theatre stage. And for those 2+ hours I was. Because I cared. Because I loved it. My fear fueled a fire that allowed me to light a room. [cue the Dawson’s Creek music].

But I guess that’s the point. I’m never going to be the [est] – I mean, not really.  To my family, yes. To my partner, yes. To the other 99.9% of the population, probably not. There’s always going to be someone better than me [hard to believe, I know]. But that’s what makes life interesting. That’s how we learn. Why we push ourselves. That’s what ignites the fear. But it’s the passion, the love for what we do that keeps the stakes high and the momentum going.  We all wish to be the very best[est], but at the end of the day what matters is that we put our best foot forward and trust in ourselves. Because one thing is for certain – you will fail 9 out of 10 times. So make it count the most[est]. 🙂