Firebelly Design

Firebelly is the real deal. We care about the work we do so much so that we don't take on projects we won't be proud of or will just feel like production work. We also push each other to be better at our craft, whether that's designing, coding, researching or communicating. We work together to make each other better. We share our ideas and want to hear yours. 

We care about how our files are set up, organized, how our time is managed and that we get to leave on-time every day. We genuinely enjoy each other's company and spend time together outside the studio, sometimes on trips to beautiful places as a group. We make sure we have a healthy lunch every day and offer options for fitness class before work in the studio. Don't worry, we have plenty of showers so none of us stink after sweating it out together. We're smaller than some but bigger than others. Just the right size to keep the family feeling. We love our personal lives too. And helping teach and mentor each other and the greater community. We invest in education and find ways to help you pursue your personal passions. Firebelly is unlike just about any place we've ever worked. Some call it a dream job. Others are still surprised that it feels fresh and exciting almost 10 years in. Everyday is an adventure.

We hope you have the experience, hard skills and kickass work on top of an honest and thoughtful approach. We hope you care as much about how your files are setup, how you talk about your work and how you invest in outside pursuits as we do. We hope you love the process as much as the outcome, even when the outcome is nowhere in sight.

Is today the day for something new?
We hope so.

Tell us about yourself.

Submissions are now open for the 6th Annual Showcase of Emerging Typographic Allstars. Twenty-five typographic and letter based designers/artists will be invited to take up 10' x 10' of wall or floor space at the Co-Prosperity Sphere in Bridgeport on February 13th, 2015. Each artist and installation will be included in our annual catalog. To see selected works from past shows, click here.

Submissions Due - Jan 9
Lineup Announced - Jan 13
Opening Night - Feb 13

- sketches of work in progress or images of existing work you would like to include
- description of the work you would like to include
- 150-word (or less) artist's bio
- images of past work

Please keep all files under 5mb. Collaborative projects will certainly be considered. And please be aware we rarely accept typeface submissions.

Send Submissions and Questions to

Type - n.
1. A number of people or things having in common traits or characteristics that distinguish them as a group or class.
2. A person regarded as exemplifying a particular profession, rank, or social group: a group of executive types; a restaurant frequented by tourist types.
3. A small block of metal or wood bearing a raised letter or character on the upper end that leaves a printed impression when inked and pressed on paper.
4. Printed or typewritten characters; print.

Almost all of our work at one point or another comes down to "Type". We type emails and proposals, we design or decided on a type for a brand, we choose directions based on the type of client we're working with and emphasize their type throughout our design process. We type. They type. We all type.

What a word! A simple four-letter encapsulation of what we do here at Firebelly. We type. And we type really well.

This is why we're excited to announce our entry in the Type Directors Club 60th Annual Communication Design Competition. Win, lose, or draw (no pun intended), we hope that our "type" of work (pun definitely intended) is recognized for what it is: good design for good reason™.  Entries are accepted through December 13th, so don't miss out! Type on!

Seriously. For a good portion of our working day, Firebelly Design is silent. It's not that we don't enjoy talking to each other- get us around a taco-filled table, and we're a bunch of giggles. It's not that we're not busy- we're juggling 19 projects right now. It's because we're a group of get-er-dones. Every part of our process is active. We gather, we try, we test, we collaborate, we decide, we build, we rebuild, we focus, hone, and perfect, then we bring it all together.

We don't really sit and talk. But in the next few weeks, we have four speaking engagements lined up for our team. We had two last week alone. And we are ready to say what we think!

We feel lucky to have so many opportunities to share what Firebelly does best - good design for good reason™. We get excited about the possibility of affecting change, and we hope that our talking about what we're doing will inspire people to... something. To design. To create. To work. To speak. To act. For Good.

Want to come hear Firebelly roar?  

AIGA Design Conference in Minneapolis: Dawn will be on a panel titled "Effecting Social Change Through Design" on October 10th.

University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana: Will and Nick will be speaking to students and reviewing their portfolios on October 18th.

The Apple Store on North Ave: The Firebelly Team will be reuniting with collaborators from IDEO and CDOT for a behind-the-scenes look at the Divvy Bike Process on October 29th.

SEEK Conference at Northern Illinois University: Will and Nick will be speaking at a one-day design conference put on by the students of NIU on November 16th.

Part of what is so amazing about design, is that it takes an entire brand, project, team, company, or any other entity it wants and tells its story in one immediate impression. So much about design is discovering what lies beneath, and making it into a piece of art that the consumer understands and resonates with.

We get a huge kick out of the communion that is design, which is why we're spending a few days this week at the Sold-Out STORY Chicago Conference in River North. We'll be hanging out with thousands of creative types who have flocked to our gorgeous city to explore the role of art, and stories in every day business.

We're excited to hear about what other people think about telling a story, and we'll be even more excited to include these ideas in all our future work.

Here's to a Happily Ever After!

Our Strategy + Account Manager, Nick Adam, gets a lot of emails. A LOT of emails. A few weeks ago, he received this one from a Sundae Li in China:


The book “Holiday Design—THE FESTIVE & THE JOYFUL” is officially published. First congratulations on making it to the final publishing. I want to send you my heartfelt gratitude for your help and support in the process.

I hope we will keep working together on our other books in publishing more of your coming works in the future. It has been a pleasure working with you on this book and getting to know your brilliant work is nothing less of an honor to me. I look forward to seeing more of your works.

Best wishes for your coming endeavors!

Have a lovely day!

We did have a lovely day, Sundae, reviewing the awesome e-book full of miniaturized cross-cultural celebrations. Thank you for including us! We are so joyful.

Holiday Design

Hello again, friends,

We're back, and we have been busy. We have 18 new projects up on our site; we've had another Camp; we've had two new interns come and go; we've added two more members to the Firebelly Team. We're growing. We're changing. We're still creating good design for good reason. We're excited to share it all with you (and I promise, I won't leave you hanging again).

So we celebrated it all by going bowling at Lucky Strike. And we had a blast. 

We're a lucky team. We work together on projects we care about, with people we enjoy hanging out with, in the best city in the world. 

If that's not a perfect ten, I don't know what is.

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Last Tuesday, Reason to Give had its annual Back to School event. They gave out school supplies, back packs and clothes to get our families ready for the new school year. Great job to Shannon Medic & her volunteers for organizing the event and thanks to all the donors who helped us provide these kits to 60 kids.

Last month's Reason to Give home makeover project was one of my favorite weeks of work since I started at Firebelly two years ago. When everyone showed up on the first day at the Singleton's house, I don't think any of us could have imagined the incredible transformation that was about to happen. There was so much to get done and even though it seemed like an impossible task at the start, we did it.

We painted, laid new laminate flooring, landscaped the front and back yards, fixed plumbing leaks, updated bathroom and kitchen appliances, replaced moldy drywall, hung curtains, and brought in new furniture and linens. Perhaps more importantly, we worked together, gave lots of high fives, had a few sing-alongs, made new friends and helped a family come together to love and appreciate their house again. Maybe it would have been shorter to list what we didn’t do.

PaintingWe can’t say THANK YOU enough to the Home Depot for the manpower, supplies + know-how, Anderson Pest Solutions for getting rid of the bugs, Rebuilding Exchange for the materials, Service Sanitation for the bathrooms as we fixed all the plumbing, Knockbox for the coffee to keep everyone awake, Colorphonic for the banner, Shannon Downey for the fantastic furniture, Coyote Logistics for sending a small army of workers and all the other amazing volunteers who showed up with smiles on their faces ready to get dirty and do some good. We couldn’t have done it without you + loved meeting y’all too.

And last, but certainly not least, Shannon Medic (Reason to Give’s Executive Director) is a rockstar. She had the vision for the project and got all the right people on board to make it happen. She’s also the only person I’ve ever seen do this much manual labor with perfectly polished nails. You go Glen Coco.

Watch the before + after video and read more about the project on Reason to

Friday April 13th through Sunday April 15th is Reason to Give's  very first Home Makeover Project. The studio's Project Manager Lindsay is on the job with Reason to Give Executive Director Shannon, a crew of Home Depot contractors and a team of hardworking heart-forward volunteers. I even saw great guy Kyle LaMere of I Shoot Rockstars helping out. 

Reason to Give is our flagship program founded in 2007 impacting the lives of Humboldt Park residents. Reason to Give allows online shoppers to directly purchase or donate money toward goods that children and families genuinely need. Participants of the program attend monthly educational workshops taught by professionals on everything from computer skills and financial planning to healthy eating on a budget and active parenting, giving them the tools + resources to help them help themselves.