Chicago Design Opportunities

Hello You Crazy Cats!!,

Does anybody have any information on Firms or Companies in Chicago that they could pleasantly recommend?

Any info on what it is like working at IDEO, Big Monster Toys, Rehkemper, Square1 or any other places?

I am a Sr Designer looking for the right job with the right people!!

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!



Change your name if you want anyone to take you seriously.

at least he has a name!

It is just a funny name. This is a serious post. I would change my user name but cannot figure out how to!?

Anybody that has worked at a Chicago Design Firms / Companies and could share any insight I would greatly appreciate it!!

Thanks Mucho!

I was once offered a job at Rehkemper almost 10 years ago. In the rules and regulations it stated that striking a supervisor is grounds for dismissal… I kid you not.

Tensions must run pretty high if they have to include that in their rules and regulations. I ran in the opposite direction. They also gave little to no time off the first several years. This might have changed though. If you do apply be sure to ask what all the benefits are including vacation and sick time. Also ask if they have any type of handbook. This is where the rules and regulations would be listed. There was several other things that I found strange on that list too.

Insight is in Chicago. Have heard good things about them. Herbst Lazar Bell is there too. SRAM (maker of bicycle components) is there and has a good sized design staff. I’ve never worked at these places, but you could add these to your list.

Chicago also has a pretty active IDSA chapter…might be good to get involved there and make some contacts that way!

If I knew of any right now, I would have acted on them months ago! I just “stumbled upon the right person” in October and landed a fulltime design job with Chicago Textile Corporation. I was looking before, but I didn’t hear about much that I could act upon. I would definately look into getting involved or at least acquainted with the Chicago IDSA Chapter. The chapter chair is a great guy, and he’s only been working in the industry for 5 years himself so he is probably more aware of opportunities for younger designers.

I worked at Rehkemper. And as it was mentioned below, Rehkemper can be pretty stressful. Steve and his brother run the show, Steve being the majority owner. They are very agressive, demanding and verbally abusive. Borderline physical. Two in-house dobermans keep things in line durring the day, and keep anyone from “striking” management.

However, they can offer you a learning experience like no other. If you can take it. I personally believe, my time at Rehkemper has made me strong enough to handle owning my own design firm now.

Although I question their management style, they have a talent for success. Being one of the largest and most respected toy design firms, its always fun to design toys!

Links and info on the Chicago Industrial Design scene:

I worked at Rehkemper last year. I primarily had to work with Steve Rehkemper, and he is a nightmare to deal with. He is verbally abusive and his ego is out of controll. You have no voice within the company. One of my co-workers was the mastermind behing the Big Foot they created the year prior, and he never recieved the recoginition or financial benefit for his work. Steve and Jeff Rehkemper took the lime light/financial gain for his idea. I never had anything go that far luckily. It was a day to day routine that Steve went on a rampage, and took it out on his employees. In a meeting one of my other co-workers went over a table the attack Steve, and the cops showed up to take him away. The whole design team was on that guys side, and unfortnetly because of Steve Rehkemper he has assualt on his record. How is that normal or fair? Jeff Rehkemper was also bad, but not as certifiable as Steve.

Every work day I asked myself, “Is this really happening?” It was a horrible job, and I felt beat up after working there. It’s very strange that these two abusive bosses make childrens toys. If I had kids I would keep them away from people like them. Anyone who’s thinking of working there, please take my advice and avoid it at all costs. I love and appreciate the design job I have now so much more because of the nightmare of working at Rehkemper.

Regarding Insight…I’ve never worked there but I know folks that have and they have and they have very positive things to say. I also know they were hiring recently.

So was Radius, but I don’t have any insight into what it is like there.

Man … this has to be a record for a BUMP … seven years !

I’ve been a professional Industrial Designer since 1973, here’s my $.02

With regard to bad-mouthing firms and designers, even if they may deserve it … in an industry as small as ID in the United States, you never know who knows who, or their “politics”.

With regard to your co-worker having an assault charge on this record; no one “caused” it except himself; it’s called self-control. I’d have several assaults on my record if I had let anyone at a conference table goad me into reacting violently to words.

Seriously! love it!

Ha, oops. Didn’t realize it was a thread necromancy. :smiley:

I feel like I’m Marty McFly looking at myself in the parking lot of the Twin Pines Mall.

Not at all. I like that you dug it up. It is also funny to see how raw the forums were.


I dunno, there’s something to be said for kicking the shit (or attempting to) out of a certifiable douche-cauldron.

Then again, if said co-work was a designer, he should have used his skills as a designer to orchestrate a much more fitting, and legal, assault on said douche-cauldron.

If you are so agitated as to be pushed to violence you need to grow up or have grounds for a law suite. I have found it is more fun to be inventive with retribution, just make it be legal.