I am trying to find out what Industrial Design firms in Chicago are doing the best/most innovative work. It’s not always the most well-known names. And, do you think that the design community there as a whole can hold a candle to those in San Francisco with firms like One and Co, Astro, and Lunar or Boston with firms like Design Continuum and Eleven?
I’m thinking River west district has some interesting designers. I’ll try to post the names tommorow. I’m thinking of the area off the Chicago brown line stop, directly south of the stop; furniture design, object design, book design, some amazing work.
I’ll take Chicago over New England any day. New Englanders are so set in your ways that Starbucks had to buy Connection Connection before you guys would try their joe. Many are still drinking Dunkin Donut coffee in protest.
Oh yeah and when did you guys get your first Target?
Lets face it New England is the last market to get anything because you folks are so set in your traditional ways. Chicago is much more trendy. Better place for a designer IMO.
In my opinion, comparing it to SF and Boston-area firms, Chicago is much more of a “meat and potatoes” design community. I can’t think of any firms in Chicago that are as progressive as FuseProject, New Deal, One & Co., etc. Chicago just doesn’t have the access to the types of clients like you have in the smartypants New England area or in the cutting-edge SF area. It’s not a bad thing - just different. I tend to think of Chicago as a little more “down to earth” in its approach than SF or Boston.
I do think a lot of it has to do with the clients near the cities and how adventurous they want to be with design. The midwestern companies definitely have more conservative attitudes toward design than your SF or Boston-area high-fashion or high-tech firms.
And I agree with the previous post - where the hell is spring? I think Chicago is the greatest city in the world, but we definitely get the shaft on weather… BAD!
I agree with this statement-- it’s all fairly “meat and potatoes”. But that said…
Why does geography matter so much? In a global economy, why do design firms tend to stick to local clients? And furthermore, what would it take to make Chicago’s ID community more progressive and experimental? Like someone posted above-- all the pieces are there-- what can we do to make it coalesce?!
I kind of think it’s the other way around - companies tending to stick to local firms. Of course, there are plenty of exceptions, but it seems to be more common than not. Some companies simply want to be able to meet face to face and have a close physical connection to a firm they’re investing so much $ in to develop their products.
That said, I’m in Chicago but have clients all over the place, including New England and California. Some companies are more open to long-distance things than others. I also think it depends on the types of projects they farm out. My long-distance projects tend to be very “front-end” oriented - lots of concept sketching, etc. as opposed to full-development programs.
On a corporate level, things are very global. Using pieces and components for getting product to market is standard business. I am not sure why design is thought to be about geographical location.
On a side note I think it is pretty funny that we all say that we all say that Chicago design is pretty “meat and potatoes.” When I was first interviewing for positions here I went to several firms were trying to explain this concept to me. I am not sure if we as Chicago designers should advertise our mediocrity or “old school” ways of design. It just leaves a funny taste in my mouth. I certainly do not aspire to that.
I think this is dead on from my experience also. I do think it’s interesting though that NE is a little more progressive and willing to take risks with techniques and processes in design and arts but culturally it’s overly traditional, borderline closed off and inbred. But in Chicago, it’s the opposite, design is more traditional with techniques and process, but culturally it’s a much more progressive and open place. Does anyone else see that also?