April 2, 2018

Element Cinemagraph Showcase Series: Q&A with Creative Director Mike Tessmer

This month marks the halfway point of our cinemagraph showcase series. So far, designers Ann, Victoria, Jenna, and Aaron have put their skills to the test to explore cinemagraphs in their own innovative way. The cinemagraph showcase series is a fun opportunity for our designers to demonstrate their talent and unique styles without limitations. We love seeing our designers’ personalities and hobbies come to life through the blend of the cinemagraphs’ still imagery and movement.

This month, we challenged our creative director, Mike Tessmer, to craft his own cinemagraph using elements that inspire him. Find out what Mike has to say about his masterpiece and personal hobby below in his Q&A.

Check out the live cinemagraph on the Element Facebook page

Q: Where did your inspiration come from for this cinemagraph? The custom Element cribbage board?

Mike Tessmer: I really enjoy building things. It’s a great outlet after working in the intangible world of advertising all day. Crafting an actual object gives me a different creative satisfaction that I just can’t get from building creative for websites or emails.

cribbage board

Q: What’s the most unique thing you’ve ever made or built in your workshop?

Mike Tessmer: That’s a tough one … I’ve built so much stuff in the shop it’s hard to pin down one thing.

I’ve made all the bikes in the Element offices, built props for photoshoots, custom cabinetry in my kitchen, Halloween costumes, a dollhouse for my daughter, and even rebuilt the carburetor in my Packard. Right now, I’m building new railings for my front porch, a 4-foot foul ball target for the high school softball team, and a fairy garden house carved out of a tree branch. It really runs the gamut.

Wow, Tessmer, it sounds like you’re a jack of all trades. For those who haven’t seen the awesome bikes in our De Pere and Neenah offices, take a look:

element bikesQ: As the mastermind behind the cinemagraph series, we’d love to know how you thought of the concept.

Mike Tessmer: The cinemagraph project started after Aaron Graff shared a tutorial he was researching. I thought this would be a great follow-up to our designer illustration series from last year.

We totally agree. We love seeing the unbound capabilities of our talented design team. Nice teamwork on this concept, Mike and Aaron! PS … If you didn’t catch Aaron’s music-themed cinemagraph, check it out here.

Q: What’s the one tool you can’t live without?

Mike Tessmer: My table saw. It’s the workhorse of my shop. It opens building possibilities way beyond what you can do with just hand tools. I’ve been using the same table saw for 27 years, and it’s been invaluable.

Note: He still has all 10 fingers, too!

Q: If you could be one type of wood, what would you be? How does it relate to your stylistic design preference?

Mike Tessmer: It would have to be maple. It’s a hardwood that is strong and durable, but it has a delicate grain that makes it visually very versatile.

I think it relates to my design style for the same reasons: a strong base design with small, intricate details throughout makes each piece unique.

We love your creative thinking, Mike! It ties nicely to how cinemagraphs are created – blending subtle video movement with bold still photography.

Find Your Perfect Mix

At Element, we always balance detail-oriented concepts with big picture strategy to bring brands to life and meet vital business goals. Read how cinemagraphs can boost engagement in social media and digital advertising in our recent blog posts or contact the creatives at Element to see how we can keep your content fresh and engaging.


CanuckThe Unofficial Element Spokes-Moose
Canuck is a surprisingly intelligent and humorous character that could talk your ear off. He loves life, learning new things and, most of all, sharing new insight with people. He’s adjusted well since emigrating to the U.S. from Canada and settling down at Element. In fact, he’s taken strongly to blogging about marketing, branding, social media, and the Element office happenings. He’s still very loyal to his homeland, insisting that hockey is the only real-man’s sport, pancakes are acceptable at any meal, and Canadian beer is superior to the swill made everywhere else.