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Hey CM Chicago, Say hi to this month’s Featured Community Member, Andrea De la Torre! Andrea is a visual communications student at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and works at watchLAB. This is actually Andrea’s first time attending CM, she heard about it through an AIGA event last year.

In case you’ve been out of the loop, we started a new series on the blog where each month we’ll shine a light on one of our attendees. It’s another way we try to strengthen our Chicago creative community more every month.

  • Favorite part of your average work day?
    The morning walk from the Monroe blue line to school.

  • Favorite thing to do outside of work?
    I enjoy taking pictures of the industrial scene of Chicago, in neighborhoods such as the West Loop and the Fulton River District.

  • Your answer to this month’s icebreaker tag?
    (If only I had..) unlimited worldwide travel. There’s so much to see, I even have a travel blog where I document the interesting places I travel to.

  • What’s your favorite part about CM?
    What made me want to come out was the opportunity to listen to other artist’s experiences. I left inspired and motivated to create something amazing.

  • If you get the opportunity to speak at CreativeMornings, what’s something you might be interested in speaking about?
    Environmental Design. I would talk about the importance of creating a pleasing and engaging environment. Every space we interact with on a daily basis should be beautiful––our home, the train station, the streets downtown, the classroom, the office, and so on.

Make sure to check out her work on cargo and her photography adventures. Cheers!


We just wanted to say a quick thank you to this month’s sponsor, Steelcase! Without our sponsors we wouldn’t be able to host you all each month and provide delicious breakfast to start your day off right.  

Steelcase has been brining human insight to business for over 100 years by studying how and where people work. These insights have led them to create a variety of workplace products, furnishings and services to outfit any office space. Also we should mention their awesome tagline… “Love how you work.”

Thanks Steelcase for helping making our events possible. Feel free to check out their blog here. See you Friday morning!

Hi CM Chicago! We hope everyone is getting excited for this month’s event on Friday, March 21 at CannonDesign. We wouldn’t be able to do these events without people like them. To shed a little more light on who they are and what they are about we wanted to share this post. 

CannonDesign is a design firm specializing in the planning, design, and engineering of the built environment. Their Chicago studio is home to interdisciplinary practices that shape the way we live, work, and learn. This month our event will be hosted by TheThirdTeacher+ of the education studio, the cities group, and the workplace interiors practice.

TheThirdTeacher+ is a collaborative within the CannonDesign education studio that uses design to shape the teaching and learning experience. Read more about the origin of this mindset in our book, TheThirdTeacher. The goal with The Third Teacher book was to show that the design of a school is intrinsically linked to learning. The book lives on as a tool for participatory design, giving a common language to designers and communities.

If you are interested in working for CannonDesign Chicago, check here for updates. They are currently hiring for corporate interior designers and marketing coordinators.

Don’t forget to register this coming Monday, March 17th at 11AM to reserve your spot. We hope to see you all there!

This month our speaker is artist Matthew Hoffman. Even if you don’t recognize his name, chances are you’ve seen his work; or even participated in one of his projects. Here’s a little preview for our 8:30 CreativeMornings on Friday March 21 at Cannon Design.

What do people know you for?
Cutting phrases out of wood, making stickers, and not being great at small talk.

How is Chicago special for you?
Chicago is home. It’s perfect (minus the winter). It’s the right speed, and packed full of incredible people always working together. Chicago is the perfect community. I wouldn’t trade it for a thing.

What may people not know about you?
I love a good prank. Something that really shocks you out of your day, and gives you a massive belly laugh. (After the screaming has subsided). Those close to me are always on their toes. It keeps life interesting.

What drives your creativity?
I’ve finally realized I’m most interested in creating moments. I’m not ultimately concerned about what it looks like, how it’s made, or where it’s placed. Don’t get me wrong, those things are important. But where it starts and ends for me is to find a way to create a brief moment for the viewer. 

What are you going to talk to us about this month?
I’m going to talk about the one thing I consider myself good at. Being hidden. I suppose, the talk itself kind of destroys that notion. That said, I’ll be focusing on why we shouldn’t stay hidden, and why we should share our work with the world.

Registration opens next Monday, March 17th. Reserve your spot.


Say hello to our second-ever Featured Community Member,Eddie Fieg! He’s a freelance graphic designer and illustrator here in Chicago. In case you missed last month’s debut post, we started a new series on the blog where each month we’ll shine a little light on one of our attendees. It’s another way for us to help strengthen our Chicago creative community more and more every month. This was Eddie’s first time making it to a CreativeMornings event. Afterwards, I wasn’t surprised to hear how much he enjoyed Stephanie’s talk. Here are a few things to know about Eddie.

  • Favorite part of Eddie’s average work (or non-work) day:
    the satisfaction that comes from finishing up a successful project
  • Favorite things to do outside of work:
    visit bookstores, go to comedy shows and watch live music
  • Answer to this month’s icebreaker tag:
    I want to learn how to… speak Spanish. 
  • What’s your favorite part about CreativeMornings?
    getting to meet other hard-working, creative professionals
  • If you get the opportunity to speak at CreativeMornings, what’s something you might be interested in speaking about?
    I’m no expert on the subject, but the moral and ethical concerns of business and design have always interested me and I love discussing it with others. 

Be sure to find Eddie at future CreativeMornings events and say hello! You may also like to follow him on Twitter and check out his work online. Cheers!

Hey CM Chicago! We are happy to announce this month’s host, Design Cloud. This is more than just an office space. It’s a classic studio, art gallery and coworking space. It’s a creative hub; specifically for designers, by designers. Most importantly, this space provides a culture proven to connect, inspire and help designers thrive in every way. It’s a co-working space like no other in Chicago. 

Design Cloud is a space for individuals and teams of 1-6 specifically in the fields of architecture, interior design, industrial design, visual design, branding, design thinking, UX/UI, arts non-profit, mobile design, and web development. 

We are also excited to tell you that for a limited time, Design Cloud would like to extend a ten percent discount to anyone who mentions CreativeMornings before signing up! This offer runs until April 1st, 2014.  

Design Cloud’s Features: 
They have the internet! (38/10Mb) 
Fuel: Snacks, chocolate, LaColombe coffee, and booze. 
AV: Smart TV, projector, record player, laser jet printer 
War Room w/ tools, whiteboards, and 3D printer. Prototype. Get messy 
Community Manager keeps you in the know 
Access to our design/art/tech events 
Lockers and storage for belongings + bikes 
2 Bathrooms, 1 shower 

Sound interesting? Well come check it out at the next event or take a look online at http://designcloudchicago.com/coworking/  

Hope to see you all there!


Hey CM Chicago! We’re excited to announce a new blog post series starting with the new year: the Featured Community Member! Each month, we’ll shine a humble spotlight on one of the event’s attendees as a way to even further connect with our community and get to know and remember each other. Our first Featured Community Member is Michelle Lonnee, who enjoyed her very first time attending a CreativeMornings event today! Here’s a little bit about her.

Michelle is a Digital Producer at No Limit Agency here in Chicago. She also continues to freelance on the side as the owner and designer of Strawberry Blonde Design, a business she started after graduating from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN, in 2007.

  • Favorite part of Michelle’s average work (or non-work) day:
    getting to do what I love for actual money
  • Favorite things to do outside of work:
    read and cook
  • Answer to this month’s icebreaker tag:
    Convince me I should… start a Twitter account. I’m not sure that I could stay within the 140 character limit. 
  • If you get the opportunity to speak at CreativeMornings, what’s something you might be interested in speaking about?
    If I could get over my crippling fear of public speaking, I might talk about Etsy and how it rebuilt my confidence as a designer and provided and continues to provide great opportunities.
  • Any other special thoughts to leave us with?
    I’m really glad to have found this community of creatives. I look forward to making CreativeMornings a regular thing. 

Look for Michelle at future CreativeMornings events! And check out her Etsy store to see all the rad stuff she makes. 


On the last day of the first month of 2014, Eric Siegel spoke to the Chicago creative community about Childhood. He is the founder and lead creative at a small sustainable and eco-friendly toy company, Tree Hopper Toys where he uses inspiration from his sons to guide his entrepreneurial decisions. He sees characteristics in them to mimic, and some to steer clear of but overall he preaches children should be inspiration to a burgeoning business.

"For kids, toys are the tools of the trade.”

Eagerness to learn

"Rid yourself of your pride, get on the phone and ask some honest questions.”

Eric learned the hard way that swallowing pride and simply admitting when you don’t know something is the best way to learn. Tree Hopper got its start selling to flash sale sites, and didn’t find out until after a few times around the merry-go-round that you can charge extra for shipping to the masses. Children have a knack for learning quickly. Sometimes little lessons like this one can be learned quicker if we approach them like our children do.


Best paired with a bit of recklessness, being fearless allows you to take the necessary risks in starting a business. While on a little hike, Eric learned how fearless his son could be, not afraid to run through the woods. For Tree Hopper Toys it meant going into a highly competitive market with almost no knowledge of how it’s ‘supposed’ to be.

"You have to turn off the crap in your head. Kids don’t have crap in their head."



Kids have a relentless pursuit of wacky fun times. Having playfulness in your projects is very important. Although Eric agrees that all things are needed in moderation, he prioritizes setting aside time to tinker, explore and keep the playfulness going.

While being part of the  toy industry does help reinforce his sense of playfulness, sometimes during the manufacturing process he finds it more challenging but even more important to remember how to keep the process enjoyable. As important as it is to be open to lessons from children, it is also important to recognize how a child reacts to a situation.

"The highest of highs, followed by the lowest of lows.”


Children seem to have the best of time, followed by the worst in a matter of minutes. Eric showed us a photo of his son playing in a pile of leaves. It resonated with everyone that he was having the best time of his life. Eric explained that in a matter of minutes something small could crush his entire world, like getting the blue cup instead of the red cup.

Similarly for Tree Hopper Toys, it’s world suddenly collapsed when the cardboard caps to their Match Stacks toy came back in a bland  green instead of the bright green they had ordered. A few PMS degrees off put them up against the wall with customer orders and their reputation on the line. He called his wife, took a deep breath, and worked it out with the manufacture. He had to realize that he had the power to find a resolution.

Acting childish

Overall, starting a business, especially a creative one, takes acts of fearlessness, playfulness and a hunger for learning. So much of which we can pull from looking at the children of the world. When you observe kids, you observe their flaws and their glories. These parallels in childhood and business are essential for beginning a creative project.

Keep an eye out for Eric at Toy Fair this year in New York and snag a fun toy at treehoppertoys.com.