October 16, 2017
Jean-Luc Laube

8+ years later, I'm still consistently giving out the same message.

John Luke Design & Habitat for Humanity - Lehigh Valley Directors

When I was 17 I started JohnLukeDesign. Joseph Facchiano was my first customer & JoFash was the first logo I designed. I then worked at Harned Durham Energy and managed their marketing. In one year I:

1. Launched (Est to be #1 Online Oil Delivery Company by gross sales)
2. Rebranded Nature's Source - later purchased by The Water Guy
3. Redesign all sales collateral for the commercial HVAC department.

At the end of that year, I landed a contract with Habitat of Lehigh Valley. A few years later, a close relative of mine forgot what my business was called.  I then decided that I needed people to remember my brand name. So I looked up my competition to see what worked for them.

This is when I digitally followed 401 Creative led by Curtis Johnson, and Sayre Design led by Mike & Nancy Sayre as my local competition but most of all somebody I should imitate. I became obsessed. Learning about 401's activity I quickly became aware of the American Advertising Federation. I eventually went to my first AAF event in 2014. Not to compete but to admire & to study.  I wore the most colorful clothing because I wanted to be photographed and remembered. knew that if I went and studied my competition in my teens I would beat them in my twenties. I had no other choice.  While my friends were accumulating student loans and telling me I should've gone to college I was working 90 hours + per week. 

I also moved out of my parents house when 19 with nothing but a whiteboard, markers, one fork and a hammy down mattress. Around this time, I opened up my office in Bethlehem on Broad St because of good friends like Sheila Nemeth who were there to help me. Mike O’Rourke and Bill Kline drafted out my first press release and published it on Lehigh Valley Business. Mike, the publisher came into a marketing committee I was leading and handed me the newspaper with a brief article highlighting my business.  People rooted for me and I’m forever grateful for that. Even WFMZ wrote news article about me titled “Patronize an up and coming local entrepreneur” >>

And now all of my relatives know my business name by heart. I would say the majority of them can draw the JohnLukeDesign logo and some of them can draw the Clickable Click logo.  My thoughts are: if a brand is really great - your relatives should be able to draw your logo from memory.

Then, I worked at Digital Feast for a year and helped to do the marketing for many of the top brands in the Lehigh Valley. During this time I also helped Ed Pawlowski establish his brand and digital go-to-market strategy for his Senate Race. I later co-founded an award-winning startup with Noah Drabinsky, a dear friend of mine, called Studly. This app competes against most learning management systems. Check it out.

I then went back to do Clickable Click full time. Trying to figure out how I was going to get noticed, I started writing controversial posts.  I decided I didn’t want to design boring letter heads anymore and wanted to do something a little bit more daring.  So I started a movement.  I figured:  Mayor of Allentown is under 50+ indictement - I know the guy - I think he’s innocent.  Let’s make some noise.  This is when #WewantED was born.  So after a few small content generation posts on facebook the traction elevated.  However, It wasn’t good enough.  I wanted more.

So I bought myself 8 dollars worth of children’s chalk paint and went to downtown Allentown in the busiest hour and started painting.

I painted, “Land of Innovation”, “Te amos Allentown”, “#WeWantED”  and my new Allentown logo.  I wanted everyone to know I think the Mayor of Allentown is innocent but most of all - I also wanted to get noticed.  I did not stop until I got arrested.  That night the mayor left me a voicemail asking me to stop associating his name with my marketing. Next day I was in the paper, I had hundreds of text messages and over 30 missed phone calls. A few days later after talking to his wife Lisa Pawlowski I decided it was best if I would leave them alone.  My mission was for people to get convinced that the Mayor was innocent. However I decided that creating doubt to the public mind was enough for me.  And I have to say, I would get arrested all over again to make a public statement like that again.

Now some people may not know this, but this was a rough time for me.  Friends called me and terminated their friendships with me.  Relatives told me how they thought I was crazy.   I was in a battle with not only the world but my loved ones. However, I got everyone's attention.

But I reminded myself,

 they said I should've went to college and got a degree too.  

So I kept writing the more clickable the better.  I made a mental decision to try to blog once every day - except for Sunday. I realized that if i could get people on my site that would be a win.  EVEN if they didn’t know what I did. I can confidently say that my website gets more traffic than any other marketing agency in the Lehigh Valley. Including the SEO God's that they think they are.

However, my passion for making Design a synonym to my name has not finished.  I remember when a friend called me.

“Don’t you think you should focus on just Clickable Click instead of designing these new pages all the time?’

I responded, 

“You just said something profound.  Do you know what it is?”
“I used the word designing, huh?”
“Yes, you used the word designing but also the word instead - as if these new pages are in replacement of Clickable Click rather than in addition to or in unison of.  Do you realize that at the end of the day I’m still designing. You’re thinking about how things are not correlated but missing how they are.  I’m designing. Me. John Luke is Designing.  Jean Luc is Designing.

See there’s a point where you stop caring what people think and you realize what you want and how to go after it.  Do you know how many people disapprove of #4Hundredto4Million page I just started on facebook? Almost everyone.

However, it turns out my strategy works. Last week I was invited to be part of the Beta Social Networks for Creatives called SOHOMUSE started by Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin.  I’m the CMO & Art Director for an event tomorrow (October 17th) in Manhattan with major celebrities and media outlets coming like; NY1, Bloomberg and PIX 11.

Even though I got robbed, I borrowed a friend's macbook and design RESS.NYC over a weekend.

To sum things up: I’m a relentlessly ambitious designer and I will not stop until I become one of the world’s best.  8+ years later, I'm still consistently giving out the same message. I've declined job offers from Microsoft and other world-renowned marketing agencies to paddle my own kayak. I want to mold shape cultures and always produce

Thanks for the Click.

Photo Credits: Francesca Farrisis