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When you think of images of a record store, there is a good chance that not much hope pops into your head. CD sales are at an all time low and have almost no future now that everyone is streaming their music digitally. Vinyl sales are starting to improve, but only due to the nostalgic feelings of certain collectors. Record stores around the country are closing due to declining business and the emergence of new technologies.

One record store in St. Louis, Vintage Vinyl, is actually picking up the business due to frequent guest appearances from Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, Rise Against, and an entire slew of indie rock bands. While the attention that hosting these bands brings is spectacular, the advertising made by a local design agency called Boxing Clever is quietly pulling the strings. Each month the agency is commissioned to design a new poster for a national band who stops by the store for an in-house record signing.

When one thinks about cutting edge design in advertising, St. Louis is one of the last places anyone would ever consider for breaking ground. Boxing Clever is turning the Midwest on its head with their unique philosophy which extracts the sweet science out of strategy and design. The agency uses every visual medium to promote their clientele: social media, print, interactive, and in-store.

The Website

When you first visit the agency’s website, you are greeted with a spectacular mix of HTML and Flash design work. There is a video of Boxing Clever’s work as the background, which sits upon layers of semi-translucent patterns that make the interesting concept achieve astounding results. Rotating cubes display the agency’s work and an Arial navigation bar juxtaposes the more elegant design with something straight out of Dreamweaver.

Adobe Ideas

Creative Director, Bryan Yap, has recently been featured on the Adobe Ideas webcast. He was featured because of his integration of the Adobe Ideas iPad app with traditional desktop design methods. The adaption of Adobe’s latest technology is sure to gain positive PR exposure for the agency and St. Louis with graphic designers and advertising professionals around the country.

The Bangles

Art Director, Joe Stephens was recently asked to create artwork for The Bangles on their most recent visit to Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis. He created a series of five different colored posters, all featuring a minimalistic typography approach and an interesting cross-hatch design reminiscent of some brands of playing cards.

Chambord Vodka


Boxing Clever has taken home several ADDYs and gained national media attention for their recent campaign featuring Chambord Vodka. They chose to use a multi-platform interactive campaign featuring social media optimization, a brand new website, an iPhone app, and several point of sale advertisements. The motif is mostly pink and friendly. One ad identifies the target urban market by using the slogan “Respected Everywhere.”

Finlandia Vodka

The adult beverage industry flocks to Boxing Clever because of their innovative approach to design. The agency decided to create a series of promotional, print, and digital pieces that show off the refreshing, crisp, and cool nature of Finland while emphasizing that the brand is the number one imported choice of two of the largest vodka consuming nations, Poland and Russia.

Design Ministry

Boxing Clever isn’t all about working hard and creating ground-breaking work for clients, they are also all about indulging the creative fantasies of their staff. The design Ministry section of the website details the extra-curricular activities of those within the company. This part of the website features all of the Vintage Vinyl posters, a series of spoof ads mocking iconic brands, and Photoshop Tennis which pits members of account services against each other in a design contest.

In a city known for its conservative design practices, it is good to see that Boxing Clever is stepping up their creative game and showing the city what good design is. It always pays to take risks when you are in an art related field, because the worst that can happen to you is your client will want you to restart the project.

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Posted by Jessica Wagner

This guest post was written by Jess Wagner, a freelancer writer living in San Diego, California.


  1. Thanks for the kind words, Jessica! We really appreciate the compliments. We’ve got a lot of fun stuff going here and its great to know that its being noticed! Anytime you are in the Lou, please feel free to stop by. We’ve got a great ice cream and martini bar just down the way. You’ve certainly earned one from your Boxing Clever friends!

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