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Michael Ozan is President and Creative Director of TWIST Creative, Inc., a Cleveland-based brand design consultancy. Ozan and his wife Connie founded the business in 2000 — hence the name, referring to the merging of two creative disciplines; he, a writer, and Connie, a designer. Less than a decade later with a staff of 13 and growing, TWIST has been dubbed the up-and-coming design studio in the region representing such names as the Sisters of Charity Health System, Stark Enterprises and the Cleveland International Film Festival.

Ozan acts as business leader and brand consultant. He works closely with clients — and his team — to identify key messages, central themes, map communications creation and strategic release to maximize return on investment. Brand strategies, developed by Ozan, are intended to "impact culture, instill confidence and inspire devotion."

A proven process is what drives the consultancy's repeat business and brings big names to TWIST's doorstep in Cleveland's bohemian Ohio City neighborhood. New York's Orchestra of St. Luke's, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products, Developers Diversified, and Select Restaurants are among the latest additions to the client roster. Case Weatherhead School of Management recognized the firm as a two-time Weatherhead 100 Company in Northeast Ohio. TWIST has also racked up more than 250 national and regional awards — ADDYs, Tellys and BMA Tower Awards, as well as acknowledgements from Print, How and Graphic Design USA magazines. Among the year's biggest nod is the inclusion in AIGA 365 and the National Design Archives.

Each year, Ozan and his team donate a great deal of time to causes that help to enrich the cultural landscape of the city they call home. For the past five seasons, TWIST has worked pro bono for the Cleveland International Film Festival. Ozan is a member of the AIGA and the AAF.

In this economic downturn, name one thing you have done to weather the tough times. Refine and improve our positioning

If you weren't a designer, what would you be? I am a writer who married a designer. So if I weren't a writer? I love what I do. I get to be part executive, part management consultant, part ad man, part poet and part therapist. I invented this job just for me. I have spent years working for the privilege to delegate the things I am not passionate about.

What's the one thing ALWAYS in your bag that you never leave home without? Other than my laptop I usually have no idea what is in my bag. I am resourceful, not organized.

If you could spend 15 minutes talking to any person, living or dead, who would it be and why? President Barack Obama. I want to help him notice the under utilized value of my city.

If you could work for anyone, a client or on a project, what would it be? The NPR program "This American Life"

ONE THING I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT IS Other than my wife and children, I can live without anything.


The Ten Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelley
When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris


The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

David Bowie during the Ziggy Stardust days

Strength: Intuition
Weakness: Passion

I don't

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