Below is our recent interview with Mike Kotler, Owner & Creative Director at 1Brand Design:
Q: For those who haven’t heard of it, what is the best way to describe 1Brand Design?
A: We are an award-winning Chicago web design company and graphic design studio that provides full-service creative solutions and internet marketing services. We pride ourselves in being an extremely versatile company with a team of multi-talented independent, creative experts. While other web design companies tend to hire entry-level design and overseas development teams, 1Brand consists of US based expert design and development consultants—each with over 15 years experience.
As a team of seasoned professionals who’ve been around the block and know how to drive effective design and marketing, we’ve been lucky enough to have most of our clients stick around for 10+ years. Our clients love us because we maintain our relationships through amazing customer service and provide services that go above and beyond, in order to drive real results. They know that most larger agencies have incredible overhead and charge astronomical figures for subpar outsourced creative work. We know this because we’ve all worked at these agencies and/or have been part of in-house marketing teams who are responsible for managing design agency accounts.
Our history and our philosophy can be summed up with 2 words. Great relationships. This stems from over a decade of great working relationships with each other and even longer with our personal friendships since college. We treat each of our clients’ brands exactly how we would treat each other. Our reputation has always been that of exceptional work, amazing service and unmatched pricing. That’s entirely why we are celebrating 10 years in business this year!
Q: You’ve recently been featured among the top small business web designers on Clutch; could you tell us something more?
A: Companies have been finding us on Clutch for about a year now, and it has really helped expand our client list while giving us a great platform to be critiqued by our clients with a 3rd party service. We’ve only recently been asking for clients to submit a review because we understand how intrusive and time-consuming that entire process can be. What’s amazing is that we found some of our clients were super excited to tell everyone about us, and were more than happy to give us some free advertising. Right now, we have a 5-star rating, and our clients such as J.G. Wentworth and Recovery Centers of America have given us some great reviews which we really appreciate.
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Q: Can you give us insights into your services?
A: Web Design: We’ve been designing and developing amazing websites for a wide range of industries—from fortune 500 companies to tech start-ups—for 10+ years.
Web Development: WordPress development is our specialty. We use WordPress because it’s the most popular CMS in the world and helps provide each client with an extremely user-friendly, robust and flexible framework for their projects. Our team of developers are all U.S. based and will meet with clients to work with them hand-in-hand on their projects.
SEO & Consulting: When we build a website for a client, we make sure to keep SEO in mind throughout the entire process. Some of our team launched their careers in SEO and we know what is needed to get a site ranked quick, maintain important rankings and what not to do in order to avoid penalties. We also make sure to educate our clients extensively about SEO and help them understand white-hat techniques that will improve their organic presence and/or get them listed in the local ranking—on top of building/copywriting effective marketing and blog content.
Graphic Design & Branding: Our background stems from graphic design, illustration and great branding (hence, the name “1Brand”). We were creating killer logos and building innovative brand identities for clients before web design was an industry. Our teams can help create everything from company style guides to elaborate trade show displays—we’ve had over a decade of experience to learn and understand what works.
Q: There are already a number of web design companies in Chicago, some big names too, what makes you stand out?
A: 1Brand Design is not your average web design company. We are a team of seasoned design and development veterans that also happen to be great friends for close to 20 years. After attending the University of Florida together and early in our careers we all worked at large agencies or in-house marketing departments where we got to learn and grow in our trade. Eventually, we branched out on our own as independents and began to work with each other. We realized that we worked extremely well together as a creative and development team. So, in 2009 we launched 1Brand. 10 years later, we’re lucky enough to have built a great team of clients and have a reputation for amazing services and design. We have been extremely grateful for all of our referrals from word-of-mouth advertising. It really allows us to seek new business that fits us best and enables us to be extra selective about the process.
Q: Who are some of your top clients, and what exactly do you provide for them?
A: Currently, our oldest client-relationship is with J.G. Wentworth. We’ve had to pleasure to call them our client since 2009 and have assisted them with the marketing, consulting and design throughout their growth–including their company acquisitions and IPO.
Along with J.G. Wentworth, our client list includes many small local Chicago businesses from start-ups to large corporations. We recently signed a large stock brokerage firm based in Chicago and are excited to begin their website design project.
Along with others, the Chicago Bears, Hard Rock Cafe and Nascar are all brands that we have helped design and/or produce marketing pieces for various promotional events, or campaigns.
Overall, we’ve found that small business owners and large agencies alike, although may have different short-term and long-term marketing goals, each have a very common need in the web design space. A website that not only is legible and easy to interpret, they especially need a design that conveys credibility and trust. Whether a 5-person start-up or a larger well-known corporation with an outdated website, an exceptionally designed website can give your company, the credibility and trust that’s needed to grow your market online.
Q: What are the company’s plans and goals for the future?
A: Most companies would probably say growth, and have expansion related answers here. While growth is obviously important for us, we find that sticking to focusing on our current clients and expanding our resources to provide more efficient and effective solutions is a better way to improve our business—which will ultimately lead to growth opportunities. We have a small team of all-star professionals and we are very content with the pace of growth. It only makes sense to focus on improving our skills, learning more and finding better and more efficient ways to provide results for our clients.Activate Social Media: