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Skills and experience

I am a multidisciplinary artist that has experience working on a vast array of projects that required a wide breadth of skills and knowledge. My skills are derived from agency, in-house, and freelance work experience; continuous practice, lessons taught by countless failures, formal education, non-formal education, mentorship, constructive criticism, mountains of books, and a profound curiosity and thirst for knowledge. While I have many tools in my quiver of abilities, the most important is my ability to strategically solve complex design and communication problems through creative problem solving, use of creative processes, critical thinking, research, and through the application of design, relationship building, psychological and communication strategies. Clicking the tabs above will reveal detailed information about my skillset, but here is some general information in case you miss it.

• Strategic brand identity development
• Crafting engaging user experiences and brand narratives to connect with users
• Conceptualization, ideation, and production of innovative digital experiences and creative materials
• Building emotional connections between brands and consumers via value congruency, storytelling and creative strategy
• Leveraging Google Analytics & data analysis to develop strategic frameworks that drive consumers to perform desired terminal behaviors

• Photoshop
• InDesign
• Sketch
• Invision Studio
• Illustrator
• PremierePro

• Graphic design (print)
• Graphic design (digital)
• Design Strategy
• Photographic production
• Professional retouching
• Studio lighting

• Advertising Strategy
• Brand Strategy
• Web Design
• Copywriting
• Critical Thinking
• HTML/CSS (basic)

• Google Ads
• Google Analytics
• Creative Problem Solving
• Social Media Management
• Content Management
• WordPress

Design and branding

I’ve developed brands from the ground up, designed and produced brand assets for numerous clients, crafted engaging user experiences and brand narratives to connect with users and more.

If you’d like to learn more about my experience and see work samples, please check out my portfolio pages under the “work” tab. Until then, here’s what I have experience doing:

• Complete brand identity development
• Brand strategy development
• Logotype and logomark design
• Crafting engaging digital experiences
• Application of design to campaign strategies
• Brand development and brand-book creation
• Cross-channel digital content strategy
• Branded content production
• Packaging design
• Print Design

• Web design
• Graphic design
• Creative strategy
• Advertisement design
• Branded SM template production
• Social media ad design
• Visual storytelling
• Newsletter design
• Content production
• Copywriting

Photography and retouching

I have been producing and retouching captivating images as a professional photographer and retoucher since 2013. I have experience in portraiture, product, event, wedding, music, landscape, travel, location and fashion photography.

Let the images speak

• Studio & on-location production
• Advanced retouching
• Studio lighting
• Light modification
• Use of Profoto, Kino Flo, & Arri equipment
• Use of Einstein and Alien Bees equipment

• Quality control management
• Production management
• Creative management
• Image optimization
• Color correction
• Model direction

Tools and programs

• Photoshop
• InDesign
• Sketch
• Invision Studio

• Illustrator
• Lightroom
• Premiere Pro
• Bridge

• Google Ads
• Google Analytics
• WordPress
• HTML/CSS (basic)

Google Analytics Certified

I was formally trained by Dr. Joel J. Davis, a true Google Analytics and advertising strategy sage, to use Google Analytics and data analysis to develop strategic frameworks that effectively drive consumers to perform desired terminal behaviors.

Google Ads Certified

I am trained to understand user behavior and to leverage advertising and marketing strategy to deliver the right ads with the right messaging to the right people (and not to the wrong people) at the right time. Additionally, I understand how to continuously optimize Google Ads campaigns and pair ads with effective landing pages to achieve maximum ROAS; clicks mean nothing more than wasted money if they do not generate profits. I earned my Google Ads Fundamentals and Google Ads Search certificates after completing a semester-length Google Ads Search course.

Content management, CMS and eCommerce

I have extensive experience using Magento to manage eCommerce sites and using WordPress to build and manage websites.

• Website management
• Content management
• Content production

• Content optimization
• eCommerce product creation

Current Work

Out of the Cave // Into the Flame:
Unexploded Ordnance in Laos; book and exhibition || 2019 – Present

Out of the Cave // Into the Flame is a book and exhibition that will feature powerful imagery and rigorous journalism strategically designed to educate readers about the UXO crisis in Laos. It will illuminate the history of the humanitarian crisis, the work being done to make Laos safe again, and will provide insight that will help ensure progress is made in the future. For more information, please visit outofthecaveintotheflame.com.

• Investigative journalism
• Documentary photography
• Print design
• Strategy

Investigation and Reportage:
Pet theft and the dog meat industry in Vietnam || 2020 – Present

Vietnam consumes an estimated +5,000,000 dogs each year — many of which are stolen pets. Dakota is currently working on several stories that cover the dog meat and dog theft trade in Vietnam. No further information can be provided at this time because of the nature of the subjects being investigated.

• Investigative journalism
• Documentary photography
• Strategy

Hà Nội — a photographic study:
The people and culture of Hà Nội || 2019 – Present

Hà Nội is a city of extreme contrasts; the best and worst of humankind unfolds within it. Dakota is using photography to examine the life and people of Hà Nội that exist beyond the narrow view provided by the tourism industry. Dakota is examining what makes Hà Nội, Hà Nội in this personal project.

• Photography
• Print design

Volunteer work:
Various organizations in Southeast Asia || 2019 – Present

Dakota believes that each of us has a responsibility to try to make the world a better place. All efforts, however large or small, are important. Dakota has spent time volunteering at various schools throughout Southeast Asia, helping Hanoi Pet Adoption, and is currently working on several projects (that require anonymity at this time) that aim to make the world a better place.

• Education
• Social work

Employment History

Graphic Design || July 2018 – Dec. 2018

I joined Compass’ design team to develop agents’ personal brands and to design effective marketing materials that ultimately helped generate both brand awareness and millions of dollars in sales. I created scores of efficacious print and digital marketing pieces—from billboards to luxury marketing books—that exceeded client expectations at Compass. Please see my dedicated Compass page for more information and work samples.

• Print design
• Digital design
• Logo design
• Photography and retouching

Movetic - Branding Agency:
Branding, Graphic Design, and Photography || June 2017

I was contracted by Movetic to strategically develop brand identities, craft innovative digital experiences, and to ideate and produce creative materials for Movetic’s clients. Each project presented a unique set of creative challenges that required close internal and external collaboration, creative problem solving, implementation of strategic creative processes, and a wide breadth of knowledge and skill. Please see my dedicated Movetic portfolio page for more information and work samples.

• Brand strategy development
• Brand Identity development
• Designing brand assets
• Crafting engaging digital experiences
• Photography and retouching

Power Digital Marketing:
Creative Content Internship || Jan. 2017 – April 2017

I worked to satisfy the growing queue of creative needs across Power Digital's content marketing, social media, web development, and internal marketing departments. I began producing exceptional creative for clients and internal use on day one. Here’s what I spent my time doing at PDM:

• Developing creative content strategies
• Developing cross-channel digital strategies
• Developing campaign strategies
• Designing advertisements
• Photography and video production
• Designing client emails and email templates
• Website, blog, and social media auditing

• Web design
• Brand development
• Producing branded content
• Interdepartmental collaboration
• Producing internal and client decks
• Establishing internal & client brand guidelines
• Research

C.O.D. World League Open & Overwatch Invitational:
Coverage for KontrolFreek || Freelance: Dec. 2016

I was flown to Las Vegas, Nevada as a photographer and retoucher for KontrolFreek, which is the leading developer of innovative gaming accessories, to cover the CWL MLG Las Vegas Open — a multi-day eSports and digital culture festival. Over 160 teams – including the largest MLG Call of Duty open bracket ever, competed for their share of the $200,000 prize pool. I shot live gameplay during the event, photographed players and interviews, and shot product photography for the company.

• Event photography
• Portrait photography
• Product photography
• Image editing

Gears of War 4 International Pro Circuit:
Gears of War, Major League Gaming || Freelance: Nov. 2016

I was flown to Columbus, Ohio to work as a photographer and retoucher for the MLG Gears Pro Circuit: Columbus Open, which had a prize pool of $300,000. The Gears Pro Circuit featured more international crossplay and competition than ever before in Gears of War history. Top teams from North America, Europe, Latin America, and Oceania were flown around the world to compete in this Pro Circuit.

• Event photography
• Portrait photography
• Real-time image prep for SM
• Retouching

Artizara: Aug. 2013 – June 2015

Artizara is an online apparel company located in San Diego, California. Artizara has been featured in many major publications since it’s opening in 2002, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, NPR, Bridges TV, and more.

I had an expansive breadth of responsibilities while working at Artizara, where I worked in advertisement production, digital marketing, social media management, graphic design, web design, email and ad template production, photography, retouching, video editing, quality control management during photoshoots performed by other photographers, Magento item creation, content management, content optimization, printing, and mounting.

As Artizara’s primary target market had a very specific and sensitive ethos, my creative freedom at the company was often very limited. Nevertheless, the imperative meticulous attention to detail that the job required taught me invaluable lessons about the tools and strategies involved in running an eCommerce business, the world of business and advertising, and has also brought me to better understand cultures that are often stereotyped, feared, discriminated against, and misunderstood.

Although likes are not an entirely reliable indicator of brand affinity or success on a social media platform, I would like to note that we increased the number of Artizara’s Facebook page likes by 20,800 likes during my 22 months of employment. Before my employment, it took 41 months for the brand to attain 12,600 likes.

• Digital marketing
• Advertisement production
• Production of digital assets
• Social media management
• Graphic design
• Web design
• Photography
• Retouching
• Video editing
• Content optimization
• Printing and mounting
• Website management
• Email template production
• Creative direction

Other Freelance Work

San Diego State University

Bachelor's: Advertising & Journalism, Art Minor

I did not attend San Diego State University to merely earn a piece of paper/degree - I studied at SDSU to expand my knowledge and challenge myself (and to get a degree). I earned dean’s list placement each semester I attended college and was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society; PKP is the nation’s oldest and most selective multidisciplinary collegiate honor society. Although accolades do not necessarily equate to knowledge or skill, they attest to my grit and tenacious pursuit of knowledge.

Additionally, I attended numerous classes outside of my major and continuously sharpened my skills through independent studies, learning from countless failures, freelance work, and connection with mentors who provided valuable insight and constructive criticism. I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and abhor mediocrity; I worked incredibly hard to develop a valuable and well rounded skillset that would enable me to excel in my field.

Relevant courses completed:

• Advertising Campaigns
• Advertising Strategy & Digital Analytics
• Management of Media Organizations
• Advertising Creative Development
• Advertising Strategy & Social Media
• Digital Media Principles & Design
• Social Media in the Digital Age
• Principles of Advertising
• Advertising Research
• Critical thinking

• Media & the Photographic Profession
• Web & Graphic Design
• Media Writing & Reporting
• Intercultural Communication
• World Art in Contemporary Life
• Media Law & Ethics
• Macroeconomics
• Web Graphics
• Photography
• Typography

• Marketing
• Psychology
• Business
• Mass Media
• Media Writing
• Internet marketing
• Graphics Software
• Computerized Illustration
• Hospitality & Tourism Management

Client Testimonials


JJ Villard - 2015 Emmy winner, Film Director, and ArtistComment about Comics are Everywhere! website

Dakota Brinkert did an amazing job designing this Web site. He is incredibly pleasant to work with and very focused on making something cool and easy to update. He came up with the awesome design ideas and he was able to incorporate my documentary's concepts and themes into his overall design aesthetic. He's also a promising visual artist with a great future ahead of him! I highly recommend him and I know he's going to make a mark for himself in the design world!

Neil Kendricks, Comics Are Everywhere!

Dakota first off was very easy to work with on problems from start to finish. He is very knowledgable and not only gave me a great site but thought of ways how it could be unique from everyone else's, which I would have never been able to do. He was very professional about everything. He made sure I knew everything that was going on and what I thought about it, he strives to give you what you want, and not only what he wants. Btw the logo he did up for me was freaking awesome! I'd recommend him to anyone.

Ashlie Torres, Ashlie Photo

Working with Dakota Brinkert to produce an amazing website was a breeze. He understood my needs and wants and was able to deliver efficiently and effectively. He is my go-to for all things 'web'. I highly recommend his services and glad I chose him to build my website.

Marci King, ShooterBee Photography

I collaborated with a very talented student who designed the Web site based on our conversations and exchange of ideas. We talked about concepts that are in sync with the larger documentary project's concept and overall themes...

Neil Kendricks, Comics Are Everywhere!Discussion with a visitor