What defines who you are as a person? What guides you on how you choose to act as a corporate citizen? I obviously can’t answer those questions for you, but I can share what guides us at IMAGEHAUS to help make this world a better place to live, work and play.

Compassion. Creativity. Candor. Courage.

The 4Cs. These values have been the foundation IMAGEHAUS has been building upon since I started my own design consultancy back in 2000. In order to be distinctively different, I made a strong commitment to provide $1M in creative services for organizations rich in these values — the 4Cs. I made this commitment by making it part of our marketing plan, with the ultimate goal of building brand awareness and my network, while at the same time helping those in need.

Many people questioned my sanity when I told them my plan — a plan that today has amounted to 35% of our total revenue. I see it differently. How else would I have received the gift of knowing so many wonderful people in a huge community like the Twin Cities as I do today? How can I put a price on these genuine relationships?

So, why did I choose these four words to guide our HAUS? The “why” comes from “how” each one comes to life here at IMAGEHAUS.

Compassion: to understand, in your hearts, the suffering of others and then do something about it. No matter how big or small.

Creativity: to transcend traditional ideas into meaningful solutions and put the power of design to work.

Candor: to be candid, free from bias and filled with honesty and clarity in attitude and speech. Expanding audiences and clarifying the vital messages that compel people to care, to listen, and to act.

Courage: to remain true to our convictions, leading us to act based on our beliefs. To create impact, especially in spite of criticism.

With the 4Cs in place for 10 years now, we surpassed our fiscal goal by giving $1.8M in creative services to date. (We surpass our emotional goal every day.) Those 4Cs are now becoming Foresee, The IMAGEHAUS Giving Program — our ongoing way of paying it forward. I knew this would be a long-term investment. It would build over time into something bigger than we imagined. And I knew it would help tell the story of a distinctively different design firm, called IMAGEHAUS.