Illustration by jessica b

Chicago is a vibrant and bustling place for graphic designers to take part in innovation, creativity, and inspiration. In this quick guide, we delve into a list of industry giants and small boutique studios. Whether you’re looking for some inspiration or looking to collaborate, this guide can serve as a starting point, showcasing the diversity of designers Chicago has to offer.

We’re starting off with some of the top and well-known companies.

Pivot Design

Pivot Design is a mid-sized, woman-owned and independent branding agency located in River North. They specialize in strategy, branding, social media, websites, event design, and collateral systems, among many more. They also do print publications, retail promotional materials, and work with nonprofits.

From the design lens of care and community, they focus on wellness.

Some notable clients of Pivot Design include Lurie’s Children’s Hospital, Rags of Honor, and Time Warner Cable, BioLife Plasma Services, University of Chicago, and many more.

See more on their website.


Recognized globally, featured on Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Fast Company, Artversion is an award-winning creative agency and design consultancy focusing on web design, UI/UX design, and branding. Specializing in digital design, user interfaces, and design language development, as well as multimedia print design. Their team of comprised of designers, developers, and strategists. They have a user-centric approach and methodology that pushes out visually stunning, intuitive, and accessible design.

Some selected projects of theirs include: Philharmonic Studios, Volvo, Kitamura, Aiwa, Hilton, Ximedica, and Lingo Live.

Check out their website for more information.


ColorJar focuses on brand strategy and design that focuses on redefining brands that shape where people work, play, eat, and live. They boast industry expertise, working with over 100 clients across different industries from hospitality, digital, consumer products, real estate, fitness, government, impact ventures, architecture, to finance.

They’ve worked for notable clients including: One East Wacker, Google, 10 & 120 South Riverside, Bank of America Tower, Navy Pier, Swish House, Gene Siskel Film Center, Lettuce Entertain You, Blue Plate, Hide + Seek, Shapter, 3L Living, and Kenect.

Gulo Solutions

Gulo Solutions is a Chicago based and Cincinnati based digital design agency specializing in delivering impactful user experiences, web design, SEO, and Conversion Rate Optimization. From design to development, to ongoing optimization, they aim to drive traffic, sales, donations, sign-ups, downloads, and more. Gulo has worked with over 200 nonprofit organizations, and has come up with digital solutions for big organizations such as: Walt Disney World, The CDC, Harvard Medical School, Dunbar Armored, and Pew Charitable Trusts.

Learn more about them here.

Firebelly Design

Firebelly is a socially conscious creative studio specializing in strategic design. They are equity-centered, with accessibility, inclusion, and diversity at the front of their mission.

Not only do they provide design services, they also provide resources and education. With programs like: their apprenticeship experience Camp Firebelly, Reason to Give, Typeforce, and Firebelly University, community is at the forefront. Their longest running program, Grant for Good, allows them to work with nonprofits without the resources to work with an outside agency.


SO Dsgn is a branding and industrial design studio based in Chicago founded by Rotimi Solala, head of industrial design, and Candace Solala, head of brand design. They are a smaller studio with big impact and value. They deliver high quality work through rigorous work ethic, high standards, and extreme ambition and passion.

Their services cover brand design, industrial design, packaging design, visualization, and art direction. Some of their notable works are the Stryd Running Pod, Youtube In the Groove, Youtube Exhibit, Shade Matcha, HumanCentric, Alt Pen, and Vue.

Their approach to design starts with storytelling; creating meaningful narratives that express their clients’ vision, purpose, and values. While working closely with their clients, they openly share their process while offering expertise to clients. With an adaptable, flexible, and efficient approach, they can take on projects concept to launch, or tackle a specific design challenge.

Check out their website here.

Bark Design

Bark Design, founded in 1997, has worked with organizations throughout the entire city. From Chicago Public Schools, the City of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, the Field Museum, UChicago Medicine, to Rush University Medical Center, and Forest Preserves of Cook County, and many more.

Their process behinds with discovery, then moves through the 5-Ds: Discover, Define, Design, Develop, Deploy. With services like branding (logos, strategy and positioning, etc.), message (communication strategy, campaign messaging and development, mission and vision development, copywriting, social media, etc.), print, interactive, and more, Bark Design is there to creative brand’s unique voice to establish themselves.

Learn more about them at their website here.