Snohomish County Business Journal/LINDA THOMAS

Luminous began in 1996 with two clients and now handles advertising, design and marketing needs for almost 100 companies. The luminaries of Luminous, from left to right, are project manager Shannon Zastrow, company founders Stefan McIntosh and Joel DuChesne, and software developer Nathan LeMesurier.

Published August 2005

Bright guys, bright ideas
build Luminous

By Linda Thomas
Special to the SCBJ

The Luminous advertising team does what large, prestigious Seattle agencies do — Web site design, brand development, marketing — and they do it with only four people based in Everett.

Their decision to locate the agency in an ivy-covered, brick building at Hewitt Avenue and Pine Street is some evidence that the four men who make up the firm are “bright-idea people” as they claim in their own advertising.

“Look at the traffic on I-5,” said Joel DuChesne, Luminous creative director. “We all live here and didn’t want to spend most of our time stuck in traffic getting to Seattle.”

DuChesne and Stefan McIntosh, the agency’s strategic director, both grew up in Snohomish. They started the company in 1996, at a time when major advertising firms in the region were all located in downtown Seattle.

“We had a few people wonder, ‘Why on earth would you open a creative firm here?’” McIntosh recalled. “We’re glad we did.”

Their client list has grown from just two companies nine years ago to about 100 today. While most of their initial customers were based in King County, now Luminous has found success serving “hometown” companies including Fluke Networks, Everett Events Center, Whidbey Telecom, Snohomish County PUD, The Everett Clinic and YMCA of Snohomish County.

“Small and midsized companies have just as legitimate a need for high-quality service, but they usually don’t have access to those larger firms from a cost standpoint,” said Shannon Zastrow, Luminous’ communications director and project manager.

Along with being affordable, they also consider themselves more “approachable” than some of their counterparts at agencies with 20 or 30 employees. Zastrow described the team as “friendly, fun and flexible.”

Advertising industry peers recently recognized Luminous’ talent. The team won two 2005 Summit Creative Awards. The distinguished international awards are presented to the best advertising agencies in several categories. Luminous received one award for their Web site,, and the other for product demonstrations on Fluke Networks’ Web site.

Web development is an area of communication and design that has changed significantly over the past decade. Technology has made it easier for businesses of any size to have an interactive Web site. And consumers expect to get information about companies through the Internet.

“Technology has caught up with clients’ aspirations,” Zastrow said. “Five years ago, it would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for coding and building custom databases to operate Web sites.”

That’s not the case today. Luminous has developed its own software program, Orchestrate, to help businesses manage the content of their Web sites. People within the company can make changes to the Web site daily, even though they might have limited computer skills. The program has over 30 specialized tools to automate the way Web information is presented. A client adds content to areas commonly seen on Web sites —- such as event calendars, frequently asked questions or job listings —- then Orchestrate formats and displays the information.

“My job as the tech guy is to make people’s lives simple,” said Nathan LeMesurier, Luminous software development director. “It’s my passion, and when I hear about how we’ve made someone else’s job easier, that’s the real reward.”

Simplicity is also the foundation of Luminous’ creative philosophy.

Consumer Reports estimates that the average American is exposed to 247 commercial messages a day. Other studies, such as one done by the Newspaper Association of America, put that number much higher, at 3,000 advertisements of various kinds each day.

“People are bombarded with too much information,” agency Creative Director DuChesne said. “We help clients be direct and up-front with a simple advertising message that will get a reaction or an action.”

Linda Thomas is a free-lance business writer based in Seattle.

Luminous Corp.
Address: 2911 Hewitt Ave., Suite 8, Everett, WA 98201
Phone: 425-252-8844
Web site:

Back to the top/August 2005 Main Menu


© 2005 The Daily Herald Co., Everett, WA