Next Chicago speaker

Neal Sales-Griffin

More info

October 17, 8:30am • Leo Burnett Department of Design • part of a series on Crossover

This month our host and our sponsor are one in the same, and we are delighted to have The Marketing Store supporting our event this month! We also have a second sponsor this month, Braintree! These events would not be possible without our hosts and sponsors, so we would like to take a second to thank them for providing a space AND breakfast and introduce these two great companies to all of you.

The Marketing Store is one of the largest privately-held brand activation agencies in the world. One might ask, what does brand activation mean? Well, from Happy Meal toys to MyCokeRewards, to global promotions like McDonald’s World Cup (McDonald’s GOL!), The Marketing Store specializes in consumer promotions (#1 in sweepstakes and games according to PROMO magazine in 2012), mobile and online activations, rewards programs and major brand sponsorship activations. Their clients include Coca-Cola, Nissan, McDonald’s, Discover, and L’Oreal.  We are so excited to be having our event at the headquarters right here in downtown Chicago. The Marketing Store also has offices across the globe in 12 countries and is part of The HAVI Group.

Braintree is a full-stack payments platform that makes it easy to accept payments in your app or website. Their service replaces the traditional model of sourcing a payment gateway and merchant account from different providers. From one touch payments to mobile SDKs and foreign currency acceptance, they provide everything you need to start accepting payments today. Tons of different companies small and large use Braintree to process and accept payments. Fun fact: Braintree was founded right here in Chicago!

If you would like to learn more about The Marketing Store hop on over to or follow them on Twitter @marketingstore. If you would like to learn more about Braintree take a look here If you were not able to register please feel free to put your name on the Waitlist and keep your fingers crossed… you won’t want to miss this one! We hope to see you on Friday!

We’re super excited to have Erin Huizenga share her insights on the contentious topic of Failure at this month’s Creative Mornings. Through her many endeavors, Erin’s made an impact by educating, empowering, and inspiring the Chicago creative community to pursue their passions and use them to make a difference. Here’s a bit more about Erin in her own words:

What do people know you for?
Being a mover and a shaker (both literally and figuratively!) Making big ideas happen. Bringing people together and inspiring new thought about design, community and purpose.

How is Chicago special for you?
I’ve been in Chicago for 15 years and I’m loving how small our creative community feels to me now, it seems that we’re all connected to each other in little, miraculous ways.

What may people not know about you?
I love, love, love comedians (Brian Reegan and Larry David in particular) and recently signed up for a Second City improv class so I can learn to take life a little less seriously.

What drives your creativity?
Designing for necessary needs and passions, helping people unearth who they are and what they can become.

What are you going to talk to us about this month?
Viewing failure as learning and how we might get comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable.

Keep tabs on Erin @erinhuizenga and mark your calendars for Friday, August 22nd!

We want to send a big thank you to this month’s sponsor, Basecamp! CreativeMornings would be a bit lost without them. Our HQ and all of our chapters use their tools to stay organized and connected to plan our events all over the world. Basecamp is a handy project management tool that lets you share files, conversations, tasks, and a calendar with a group of people. It’s incredibly easy to use, reliable and keeps everything in one place. See for yourself!

This month Basecamp will be providing coffee and breakfast at the talk, and starting in October they will be partnering with us regularly by sponsoring our events each month. We are so excited and grateful to have such a great group supporting our event! We hope to see you on Friday morning!

We are all looking so forward to Friday’s event at Grind and we hope you are too … It’s going to be a great one! For those who don’t know, our host, Grind, is a 22nd century platform that helps talent collaborate in a new way: outside the system. The members-only shared workspace and coworking community was founded by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs and free radicals who would rather work in a community than in a company. Each location provides a high-tech, low-stress experience that eliminates the old frustrations of the office, and replaces them with a frictionless environment filled with like-minded individuals pursuing their passions.

We would like to say a big thank you to Grind for hosting our event and providing the space for us to share this experience this month. If you are interested in learning more or possibly joining their space then hop over to their site to request a tour. Access starts as low as $35 per day and they have plenty of Intelligentsia coffee! If you were not able to register please feel welcome to put your name on the Waitlist. We hope to see you there on Friday!

As creatives in a hard working city full of the hundred year old brick buildings we love to see a master at work. If you have ever seen him painting a wall or hanging off of high-up scaffolding you can’t help but to stop and watch. Ches Perry of Right Way Signs is one of the few sign painting masters in Chicago and we are lucky enough to hear his stories at the next CreativeMorning. We asked Ches a few primer questions to get everyone excited for the upcoming conversation. 

  1. What do people know you for? People know me for my love and passion of sign painting. It was a trade that I stumbled into by accident because when I came here from Canada to go to school, I thought I had enrolled in a school to learn commercial art ( graphic design in current day form). But it ended up being a school that focused on sign painting, layout and design, but all related to signs. I purchased Brownie Signs in Evanston in 1980 from the owner, Henri “Brownie” LeBrun, and my nickname quickly became “Brownie”, the sign painter who in the 1980s and a  good chunk of the 90s, was the sign painter in Evanston that lettered almost 90% of the signs in that community.
  2. How is Chicago special for you? Chicago is special for me because its where I got my start in sign painting, developed a successful career and raised a family. Its also special because its a town that value and promotes creativity and art and that has helped me be successful.
  3. What may people not know about you? People that know me really well know that I am a die hard hockey fan. What people do not know is that at age 64 I still play a few times a week. Back in the 1980s I would play 3 times a week on top of 18 hour work days. 
  4. What drives your creativity? The completed project drives my creativity. Knowing I am putting my mark on Chicago through sign painting and the appreciation our client and the public have is what keep me going. Seeing what starts out on an 8”x11” piece of paper and ends up on the side of a wall, 20’x50’ with 50,000 people seeing each day is what drives my creativity. 
  5. What are you going to talk to us about this month? I am going to talk about sign painting as a lost art and trade, the process, the revival of sign painting present day and the future of sign painting as a business. 

You can see Ches’ perfect serifs and sorts all around Chicago and meet him in person Friday July 25th, where he talks to us about Heritage. Registration begins at 11am on Monday July 21st.

Introducing our latest Featured Community Member: Julie Morelli! As co-founder (and designer, printer, maker) of both Letterform and Nourishing Notes, Julie stays busy doing work that she loves, but still takes time to attend the occasional CreativeMornings Chicago event. Her smile and laughter are contagious (we know that photo above has you smiling too, at least on the inside!) and a joyful part of the creative community, near and far. Below are a few neat things to know about Julie:

  • Favorite part of Julie’s average work (or non-work) day:
    My favorite part of any day is crossing a big task completely of my list. It’s an amazing feeling (often followed by pastries).
  • Favorite things to do outside of work:
    Cook, eat, and travel - preferably all at the same time
  • What’s your favorite part about CreativeMornings?
    While I always leave CreativeMornings energized from listening to the speaker, what I really love is seeing all the members of my creative community so early in the morning. Most times we see each other at night - conversations are much different over coffee than beer.
  • If you get the opportunity to speak at CreativeMornings, what’s something you might be interested in speaking about?
    It’s nothing new, but I would certainly talk about the mistakes, the missteps, the stupid things I’ve done along the way. You can see our polished work on the internet, what I think would be interesting to hear about are the challenges we’ve come up against and how we got through them (or gave up or whatever the case may be).

Be sure to say hi to Julie at future CreativeMornings events, and follow her on Twitter via @NourishingNotes and @LetterformInc. Cheers!

This month we are happy to have Razorfish sponsoring our event. We are so excited to have them on board and providing a wonderful breakfast and seating for all of you! We just want to give them a huge thank you for supporting our event, and here is a quick look at who they are and what they do.

Always pushing the envelope and looking for the next big thing, Razorfish helps its clients make sense of the unknown in order to drive change and transform their business. As one of the pioneers of marketing in the digital age, Razorfish blends technology, creativity and media to tackle each new project. The agency’s world class capabilities in strategic consulting, experience design, brand building, technology platforms, data services, retail/commerce and media services enable ground-breaking work for some major brands including Delta Air Lines, McDonald’s, Mercedes-Benz USA, Microsoft, Nike China, Unilever and Uniqlo. Their team of 3000 experts spans 19 regions across the globe with an office right here in Chicago!

To learn more about Razorfish and see their work follow Razorfish on Twitter @Razorfish and check out their site here. 


We hope you all are getting excited for tomorrow morning, and are pumped about all of the great events happening for Chicago Design Week! We are more than happy to be a part of the design week calendar and that our events get to bring so many cool people and projects together. However, none of this would be possible without the support of our hosts. So without further ado, we would like to introduce you all to this month’s host, MINIMAL, which just so happens to also be this month’s theme!

MINIMAL is a local Chicago studio, located in the Fulton Market district of the West Loop, working on building and creating iconic brand products and experiences for a diverse range of industries including everything from technology and medical products to furniture and environments. Their new multiple bow-truss structure features a 5,000 square foot design studio, a rapid prototyping lab, a massive event space, and collaborative cafe for creative cross-pollination.  The global design studio was founded in 2007 by Smithsonian National Design Award Winner Scott Wilson, our speaker this month, and has been on the rise ever since. MINIMAL works with a range of clients from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, making big ideas come to life and proving time and time again that being “simply disruptive” is a winning strategy. Known for their self-incubated ventures and groundbreaking use of crowd funding with TikTok+LunaTik, they have been credited with kickstarting Kickstarter and the DIY movement for designers and entrepreneurs.

We would like to say thank you from everyone to MINIMAL for hosting our event! Feel free to check out MINIMAL’s site or follow them on Twitter @MNML_Studio and @ScottWilsonID to learn more and see some really awesome work. Don’t forget to put your name on the waitlist if you were not able to secure a ticket. Looking forward to seeing all of you tomorrow!

This month our friend and guest Victor Saad is coming to IIT Institute of Design to talk about Freedom. Victor’s most recent venture, Experience Institute, gives students the freedom of experiencing the real world workplace to serve as their education. We asked Victor a few questions to get you all ready for his talk this Friday.

What do people know you for?
People know me for bringing people together, taking risks, telling stories, and reimagining how we learn. 

How is Chicago special for you?
Chicago is home. I was born here and I’ve been formed here. People in this city have taught me everything I know about business and design, but more importantly, they’ve shown me what it means to care for others and build things together. 

What may people not know about you?
I once walked into a stranger’s home in Wisconsin and was licked by a lion and hugged by a lemur.

What drives your creativity?
I believe, wholeheartedly, that we can do more good together than we can do apart. So, I want to make things that inspire, teach and connect others. 

What are you going to talk to us about this month?
White space as common place. 

Join us this Friday, May 23rd at IIT Institute of Design to grab a bite, a cup of joe, and some inspiration to close out your week. 

Ask Victor about that lemur @victorsaad.


We are so excited to introduce this month’s host and sponsor, IIT Institute of Design. They have generously offered for both roles, and we could not be happier to have them on board to support this month’s talk. IIT Institute of Design is a highly ranked graduate-only design school located right here in Chicago with a range of Masters programs and even a PhD program in design, and they have some pretty cool stuff going on. So, without further adieu, here is a message that they wanted to share with you all:

Throughout the centuries, communities around the world have gathered to build together. Everyone had a job and everyone pitched in. A few days later, the people would step back, the dust would settle, and a new barn would stand in their place.

We’re not planning on building any barns in the middle of Chicago, but we are planning on coming together to make some awesome stuff. Meet BarnRaise, a new event run by graduate students at the IIT Institute of Design.From our roots as the New Bauhaus, IIT Institute of Design has always believed in the power of making. Today, as the United States’ largest graduate-only design school, we still love creating things. You can find us in the shop or mocking up a foam core model, but you can also find us building a framework to develop a company’s strategic plan. We advocate creating in the tension between theory and practice, form and function. That’s where great design lives.BarnRaise is a new, immersive, two-and-a-half day experience that combines the best of thought leadership with the energy of building physical and digital prototypes. Designers and other problem-solvers (from Chicago and beyond) will form teams that are hosted by leading design firms around the city.  Each team will then be partnered with a local organization to design solutions around specific challenges related to urban safety. Mornings will start with energizing talks before we head off to our respective project bays. We’ll build until the final bell rings, at which point, we’ll gather and proudly display our prototypes in a public exhibit for all to see. Concepts will be shared. Local partners will be equipped. Cheering will ensue.We’d love for you to join us in our first BarnRaise. Check the ID website for more information and please be in touch if you’d like to be involved. We’re looking forward to designing tomorrow with you.
So we would like to say a big thank you to IIT Institute of Design for making our event possible. We couldn’t do it without their help. If you are interested in learning more about IIT Institute of Design or BarnRaise please check out their respective sites. We hope to see you all May 23 for Victor Saad’s talk on Freedom at IIT ID! Registration for this month’s event opens on Monday, May 19 at 11:00 AM CDT.