We Are Family: Topic Creative Services Agency

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While most offices relegate fun and family to after hours or special events, playtime and relationship-building are ingrained in the daily culture of Topic Design, a Cincinnati-based creative services agency that specializes in design, development, social media strategy and public relations. In addition to its collaborative, supportive atmosphere, the 14-year-old firm counts generous paid time off, free parking, lots of donuts, an office dog and walks in a nearby park among its many benefits.

Located in a 100-plus-year-old building, Topic has an open concept that helps facilitate communication and teamwork among the firm’s 12 employees. The space originally functioned as a Paramount Pictures studio and has also been home to the Cincinnati Ballet, Putnam Candies, Precision Lens and Brand Photography. Undoubtedly, the spirit of ideation and creation runs strong throughout the turn-of-the-century industrial structure.

Meet Cincinnati’s “Topic” – A Creative Services Agency

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Topic’s digs: We reside at historic 1216 Central Parkway near the Pipefitter’s Union and Memorial Hall in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine. Photo credit: Ryan Kurtz Photography

The layout and vibe also make the venue ideal for taking a spin on one of the Razor scooters lying around the office when staffers need to get their blood pumping and creative juices flowing.

“We have the ability to take breaks when we need them, whether that’s a scooter ride, jumping on a trampoline with a bullhorn and eating a donut, kicking a punching bag or taking our office dog, Tula, for a walk,” says Cheryl Besl, Topic’s public relations director. “We work hard to provide our clients with the best while having fun and being excellent people.”

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Tula, Topic’s director of security and keeper of confidential information with Public Relations Director Cheryl Besl. Photo credit: Ryan Kurtz Photography


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Ryan Cayabyab, senior designer, travels around Topic on one of the modes of transportation. Photo credit: Ryan Kurtz Photography


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Emily Rossetti, account manager, enjoys her work on the team trampoline. Photo credit: Ryan Kurtz Photography

Topic intentionally incorporates variety not only in the services it offers clients, but also in the perks it offers its staff of designers, programmers, copywriters and marketers. A mix of cool office space, rich history, happy people, strong leadership and generous benefits keep employees engaged and energized.

The studio features high ceilings, big windows and wood floors, with all teammates gathered in one open space. A black dry erase wall with neon markers and a white board on wheels help enable the collaborative, creative process.

At Topic Design, employees are treated as family, and a fun, supportive office culture keep staffers and clients satisfied.

“As Topic Design employees, we not only love our jobs and the work we create, but we also love how we do our jobs and the area that we do it in,” says Emily Rossetti, a 2013 Xavier University graduate and account executive at Topic. “Working at Topic definitely has its perks. As a recent grad, friends and family are always jealous of the environment I work in, because of our ‘work hard, play harder’ attitude.”


Sean Davis, a developer at Topic, shares a great idea on our dry erase wall. Photo credit: Ryan Kurtz Photography



Warren Harrison, senior developer and Sean Davis, developer, doing math all the time. Photo credit: Ryan Kurtz Photography



The fact that Topic’s office is located in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, home to the country’s largest collection of 19th-century Italianate architecture, helps with team-building and attracting new employees, too. Once deemed one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the U.S., this area is gaining national attention for its remarkable revitalization. “We’re lucky to have Washington Park in our backyard, and bars and restaurants within just a few blocks,” Rossetti says. “Team lunches or happy hours—at places like Japp’s or Bakersfield—happen regularly. During those times, it’s our chance to come together as a whole team and create the bond we call our Topic Family.”

In fact, the concepts of “family,” “team” and “friendship” are woven throughout the fabric of Topic’s company culture. “We’re a true team, Everyone’s ideas are valid and we all champion a good one,” Besl says. “That kind of group enthusiasm gives us freedom to dream up crazy ideas and make them awesome. We love our jobs and the work we create. We’re not just coming to ‘work’ every day; we’re coming to a location to hang out with our friends while we create art and words and websites that we’re proud of and believe in.”

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