Our History

Anita Brightman turned on A. Bright Idea’s first lightbulb in her Bel Air, Maryland, home office in 1996. Since then, we have expanded our physical footprint and capabilities. Over 25 years, we adapted and lit the way in an ever-changing communications landscape. What started as sole-practitioner public affairs and graphic design consultancy has grown and evolved into a full-service advertising and public relations firm serving commercial, nonprofit and government clients of every size. And today, we number 40 creatives with offices from coast to coast. Ultimately, we owe thanks for our quarter-century journey to our employees, partners and clients!

Join us in reflecting on major milestones as we celebrate our silver anniversary!

1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Nothing is more powerful than an idea
Inspiration sparked for Anita Brightman, Founder and CEO, when she recognized the power of blending verbal and visual communications— with the goal of one day moving out of the spare bedroom of her home and into an office.
Launched financial industry experience with consumer education materials for APGFCU.
Began working on the largest public affairs contract for the U.S. Army, eventually growing to provide dedicated visual support and ultimately serving as the prime contractor.
Expanded from a sole-practitioner with the hiring of our first employee, a graphic designer.
Began relationship with first website design client.
First goal obtained—moved into new office space in Bel Air (Anita and T.J.'s first condo!) showcasing Anita's flair for interior and spacial design.
Anita earns Master's Degree in Publication Design from the University of Baltimore
Anita obtains Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America.
"The Little House"
Relocated to an office building at 208 Archer Street in Bel Air.
T.J. Brightman joined the agency as vice president of client services. Now serving as agency principal advisor.
Cobey Dietrich joined the agency as a communications specialist supporting the agency’s expanding portfolio. She now serves as executive vice president of verbal and visual communications.
Celebrated 10-year anniversary.
Certified as a small business by the U.S. Small Business Administration and entered into the 8(a) Federal Contracting program.
Chad Mitchell joined the agency as chief financial officer bringing the agency to 10 employees.
Anita nominated for Athena Award, recognizing exemplary leadership and advancement of women in their professional communities.
Harford Award
Recognized by the Harford County Chamber of Commerce with the distinguished Harford Award.
Debuts new headquarters next door at 210 Archer Street, housing our expanded full service creative team.
Melissa Mauldin joins the team bringing industry insights to support ABI's banking and commercial clients. She now serves as vice president of verbal communications.
Personalized icons appear on employee business cards—your first on-the-job creative assignment when you join the team.
Awarded first contract with Defense Logistics Agency in Philadelphia, PA to design and support production of large-format wall graphics. The multidimensional design features graphics, textures and displays, with the team leaving their mark by signing one of the flags displayed (at the request of the client).
Orioles Opening Day tradition begins.
Westward Expansion
Established our first West Coast office in Sonoma, CA continuing our services in support of clients from coast-to-coast.
Awarded a multi-million-dollar contract from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to support National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, mobilizing millions of Americans to "take back" unused meds.
Bringing our brand identity expertise to the wine and hospitality industry, developed a unique wine label for Mathis Wine.
Celebrated 15-year anniversary.
A Creative Campus
Bel Air campus expands to three buildings with the opening of 315 George Street, for our flourishing integrated marketing, communications and creative services.
Reached an important milestone in support of our first U.S. Army public affiars contract—Chemical Materials Activity end of operations and the disposal of chemical weapons ceremony.
Top Honors
Anita elected to prestigious Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) College of Fellows. Recognized during the gala event as part of only 2% of PRSA members to achieve this distinction.
Expanded support for drug misuse prevention and eduction, awarded contract with the National Institute on Drug Abuse for publishing and communications support.
Certified as a Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB).
Hosted first annual ABI Summit, building our culture of collaboration.
Anita awarded Most Influential Marylander award by the Maryland Daily Record.
Leading the Way
Anita invited by Small Business Majority to participate in White House Business Council Leadership Summit.
Celebrated 20-year anniversary.
Awarded the PRSA Maryland Chapter "Best in Show" for for the U.S. Army National Guard's Action Events Program where we achieved "Exceptional" status by the client.
Named one of the 50 fastest growing private companies by the Baltimore Business Journal.
A New City
Expanded to the Media Capitol of the World with a new office in Burbank, CA.
Named agency of record for RouteSmart Technologies including strategic communications planning and website redesign.
Named agency of record for MLB's Baltimore Orioles including strategic communications and consulting, marketing and advertising.
Established a formal relationship with eLittle Communications through the SBA’s Mentor-Protégé Program, fostering the growth of small and minority businesses.
Growth abounds, ABI grows to 40 employees.
Lunch with Santa tradition begins.
Culture of collaboration goes virtual as the agency continues to get creative during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Client relationships grow, as the agency now counts services for 390+ clients.
Quickly growing out of our original space, the Burbank office relocates to a storefront office in the heart of downtown Burbank.
Creative campus expands with the opening of 309 George Street, building out or in-house audio/visual production and studio space.
SILVER anniversary
A. Bright Idea celebrates 25 years!
The future never looked so bright!
Cheers to the next 25 years.