About Us

Joseph and Jessica Cotten

Joseph and Jessica Cotten

What would you like to know?

My name is Joseph Cotten, and I’m what’s known as the Principal of Trend Setting Design.  I’ve been breathing air for 34 years now, been married to my wife Jessica for 11 of them, owned an Australian Shepherd + Golden Retriever dog for 8 of them, and have been a lover of good design for at least 25 years.

Joseph’s History with art started in elementary school when he and his mom did a school project together to show how to ride your bike on the right side of the road, and walk on the left side. Joseph spent the rest of elementary and middle school drawing comics in the margins of his school books, much to the chagrin of his teachers.

In high school, Joseph entered the advanced art curriculum track, and had his work exhibited in several Raleigh, NC area shows. Upon graduating in 1998, he entered the School of Fine Arts at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, taking the Fine Arts program’s Design track as his major. Four years later, he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design degree, and in the process already had two paying design clients.

Over the next five and a half years, Joseph worked as a proofreader in a pharmaceutical label printing company, helped set up a Linens N Things store, and spent five years working full time as a carpet cleaner with these amazing people. During this time, he built up a client base as a freelance designer, then in January of 2008, quit carpet cleaning, and officially launched Trend Setting Design.

We help small and medium size businesses understand what makes them unique in the marketplace, and we give them a real world system of content organization, marketing message alignment, logo, fonts, colors, copy writing standards, vision statement, website design, search engine optimization (SEO), and marketing strategy to make sure that they are accurately communicating themselves to their clients.

We specialize in helping disorganized, harried, and stressed business owners develop a new, organized, sustainable system that makes sense to them, and brings them new clients that are buying into their vision.

The Team

Joseph Cotten is the main artist. No matter who does the sketches, brainstorming and consulting, Joseph will have his mouse clicking in Photoshop & Illustrator to get the ideas visualized. Joseph also provides business coaching and consultation. He’s driven by a passion for branding, also known as corporate identity design, so whether he’s doing a brochure graphic design, a logo design, or developing a website, it’s really all just avenues for branding.

Jessica Cotten is one of the creative forces behind Trend Setting Design as a business. She came up with our name and continues to push us forward. She is involved in copy writing, which means when you get your design and it reads like an engaging & creative story, you can thank her for the well-crafted verbiage. Jessica also works on corporate identity & branding jobs as a creative consultant and creative director, and is the quality assurance department for all of Joseph’s designs.

Interns are always around to help keep our costs down, and to learn from the Trend Setting Design method. We choose our interns carefully, looking for flexibility, senses of humor, an eagerness to serve people, and raw artistic talent.

Sub Contractors are pulled in from Joseph’s art school contacts, other business friends, and his brother Ben when necessary. We’ve come to the realization that we should focus on our strengths instead of being a Jack of All Trades operation. When our clients need something that we can’t do, we call our friends to join in on the fun!

Pippen Cotten is the world’s best dog and our faithful pal. Pippen lays around the office all day with occasional spurts of activity. He offers the following services to visiting clients: cuddliness, overly-excited affection, joyful whimpering, belly rub access and foot licking.

So what makes a good designer?

One thing: that designer’s command of the Visual Language.  Just like English, Japanese and Icelandic, the Visual Language has it’s own grammar, punctuation and syntax.  A high-saturated bright red will communicate a thought, emotion or idea differently than a light grey; a slab serif typeface will instill a number of impressions upon it’s viewers that a modern sans serif can either counter or compliment, depending upon the skill of the typographer.  The degree to which a designer can use those visually linguistic elements to communicate ideas, the better his or her designs will be.

My goal is to make life easier for my clients by providing real solutions for them. The word “solutions” is kind of a buzz word right now in America, but it remains an accurate description of what I try to create.  For instance, my web sites come with a content management system so that my clients don’t have to pay me for future updates – I empower them to take on the future updating of the site themselves.

So…if you’re in the Greensboro Triad area, or anywhere in the world (thanks to the magic of the internet), we’d love to help you with any graphic design, website design & development, branding, corporate identity, copy writing, business consultation & coaching, or marketing strategy needs that you have. You can read more about our services on a special page called…Our Services.


Better Business Bureau Member

Better Business Bureau Member


Graphic Artists Guild Member

Trend Setting Design is proud to be an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau and a member of the Graphic Artists Guild.  Both the BBB and the GAG promote high quality, standards-based business practices, with the GAG specializing in arts-based businesses.  The Graphic Artists Guild publishes the only national “blue book” of pricing guidelines for graphic arts companies.

Copyright © 2017 Trend Setting Design.