James Wynne is Director of User Experience for Sandstorm and has been in digital product development since 1996. He has worked as a UX designer for a myriad of clients including large eCommerce brands, mobile device manufacturers and integrated marketing agencies.
So we started a twitter account for Sandstorm. Holly has put together a Twitter strategy for our web design firm and we now have over 200 followers within our first few weeks. Within days we got Obama and the Chicago Cubs to follow us - which was fun to tell my parents as it sounded impressive. Anyway, we're (I mean Holly) is regularly tweeting, and we're testing a few content directions, and building our own case study on our experience with Twitter. As a B2B company, will Twitter just distract us from the marketing that we know works for us, or will it become part of our integrated marketing campaign that we can't live without? Stay tuned and follow us.
Could we be more proud? In our family, we do Family Night Pizza Night every Friday night and Lou's is always my first choice. The only reason we don't pick Lou's every Friday night is because we have to drive 15 minutes to get it, verses the 3 minute pizza place down the street. Either way, we here at Sandstorm Design are just sooo excited to be able to make a contribution to Chicago by creating the ultimate restaurant experience with Lou Malnati's. Maybe one of these days I'll take a video with my iFlip of our "happy dance."
Sandstorm Design, a Chicago marketing and interactive web design agency, has been awarded WBE certification by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). The WBENC is the nation's leading advocate of women-owned businesses as suppliers to America's corporations and the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women in the United States.
To qualify for WBE certification, businesses must be at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more women. The one or more women owners must control daily operations and management of the business as well. All applicants undergo a rigorous approval process to ensure the legitimacy of the business and maintain the integrity of the council.
Sandstorm Design, in business over ten years providing marketing strategy, rebranding initiatives, interactive web design work and usability services, was awarded the prestigious certification in November of 2008. "We are proud and honored to be a certified WBE business and be part of such an inspiring organization," principal Sandy Marsico said in regards to attaining WBE status.
Visit Women's Business Enterprise National Council for more information.
Sandstorm Design has been selected to design, write and build the new site promoting NAR’s Green Designation and the Green REsource Council. The designation is the first of it’s kind from NAR and caters to residential, commercial and property management professionals.
The site will allow users to learn about the designation, sign up for courses, find NAR Green Designees in their area, access member benefits and connect with industry resources. Launch is expected at the end of April. Stay tuned for more information!
JamesHardieColorPlus.com, a site Sandstorm Design was fully responsible building through their user-centered design methodology, is today's webpick on CommArts.com. Sandstorm Design conducted user research, usability testing, designed, wrote, and developed the site. Innovative interactive applications including the Find your Shade Quiz, Product Comparison Tool, and Sample Color Swatches contributed to the editor's webpick.
"We are so proud to be recognized by Communication Arts Magazine for our user-centered web site work," said Sandy Marsico, Principal of Sandstorm Design, "We built the site from the user's perspective and learned directly from homeowners what types of assistance they were looking for to make the best siding decision for their home."
James Hardie Building Products come from a world leader in fiber-cement technology. James Hardie invests heavily in research and development, with a special emphasis on product quality and production efficiency to develop durable and low maintenance siding products, backerboard and pipe.
Sandy Marsico, Principal, Sandstorm Design was selected from hundreds and hundreds of submissions to be featured in the 2009 Woman's Advantage Calendar. The calendar will provide advice for women business owners from influential women leaders across the US and Canada.
Mary Cantando, Growth Expert of The Woman's Advantage, today announced that Sandy Marsico's advice will be included in the calendar which is to be released in September.
"Sandy Marsico's quote was selected because it was powerful yet easy to understand. Her idea is relevant to almost every woman in business today." says Cantando. "Women business owners and those who dream of starting a business will learn so much from the advice provided by Sandy Marsico and the other successful women quoted in the calendar."
The Woman's Advantage 2009 Calendar, will provide sound bites of advice on key business issues including: organization, promotion, sales, and human resources
About Mary Cantando:
Mary Cantando is a nationally-recognized expert on women business owners. She is the developer of the successful Woman's Advantage line of products, geared specifically to women entrepreneurs. As a member of the National Speakers' Association, Cantando provides keynotes and workshops for women who want to grow their businesses.
About The Woman's Advantage:
The Woman's Advantage is a line of information products, including books, workbooks, audio CDs, and calendars designed exclusively for successful women business owners. For more information, call 919-841-0401 or visit http://www.womansadvantage.biz .
Marketing and usability experts at Sandstorm Design have recently moved to accommodate their growing team.
Committed to providing a creative and comfortable workspace, Sandy Marsico, principal of Sandstorm Design, knew the move was imminent during their rush last year. "I am so excited about our new space and growth as a company. This past year has been wonderful for us."
The new space is located at 4619 N. Ravenswood, Suite 300, just down the street from their previous office. The building is a recent renovation, and Sandstorm got involved at the forefront to ensure their desired space.
The office is nearly twice the size of their previous facility, equipped with a larger conference room, a usability lab and a secluded office for the boss. "The space allows me to have the privacy that's occasionally required both professionally and personally," says principal, Sandy Marsico. Director of Usability and Research, Mark Jodlowski, anxiously anticipates the possibilities afforded with the usability lab. "We have been winning such a variety of work lately, it will be exciting to see how versatile we can be with the space."
Since the move, core employees Janna Fiester and Alma Meshes have returned from maternity leave and an on-site IA consulting gig, respectively. With their added presence and Sandstorm's latest hire, senior designer Lisa Janunas, it will be interesting to see how long the space will accommodate this growing company.
For the past couple of years at Sandstorm Design, we have received a countless number of phone calls, email requests, and snail mail resumes from graphic design students interested in learning more information about a career in graphic design, looking for a design job, internship or freelance assignment.
It wasn't, and still isn't, possible for us to answer every email, return every phone call, or reply to every letter. (If we did, we wouldn't have time to actually finish our own graphic design work!) But we wanted to help and encourage newbie designers to get into the design field and enjoy what we consider the ultimate career choice, graphic design.
I hope the SSC gives you some insight into the real world of graphic design, provides you with some information for that research paper, and helps prepare you for your own incredible career as a graphic designer.
Sandy Marsico, Principal
Sandstorm Design, Inc.
So you are on your hunt for a web design or graphic design internship at an innovative design firm, with a great client base, award-winning design work, steller G5's, and nice hourly pay? You are not alone. You are in a crowd of student graphic designers the size of the crowds from the Taste of Chicago. In this economy, a graphic design internship like the example above, with pay, is extremely difficult to find. Not impossible, but difficult.
First ask yourself, would you work without getting paid? Are you truly looking for design experience or are you looking for a part-time job? If you are willing to work unpaid, mention this in your cover letter (and always send a cover letter please). Some companies assume that you want pay with your design internship and don't have it in their budget.
Second, consider all options. Are you looking ONLY for design firms, ad agencies, and web development companies? What about in-house marketing or creative departments at Fortune 1000 companies? Or newspapers? Magazine companies? Many multi-million dollar organizations have superb in-house creative departments and potentially more opportunities. There are many large companies in the Chicagoland area: AllState, Sears, Boeing, McDonalds, Chicago Tribune, etc.
Third, consider local printers. Is there a Minuteman Press or AlphaGraphics near you? Small printers offer design services to their clients since many of their clients cannot afford the design studio prices. Maybe you could walk in and introduce yourself to the owner and offer your services for the summer? This could become YOUR graphic design internship.
Finally, make your own graphic design internship. Okay, so it's not exactly an internship, but you could offer your services pro-bono (free) to your favorite charity or not-for-profit organization. Get involved in your community, practice networking, and build your design portfolio, while at the same time building your community. After all is said and done, a design internship will not guarantee you a design job when you graduate. An internship helps give you some real world experience and keeps you ahead of the competition. There are many excellent designers out there, and in order to compete, look at the best student in your class and realize that he/she is your competition, and the beginning of your networking base.
DO NOT email attachments of your design work if you are not asked to. This means NO list of 10+ jpegs of your work, no multipage pdf files of your work, and no attachments that are close to 1 meg or more. I got 5 MB worth of attachments from a student designer, and he sent it twice to make sure I got them all. What a job search mistake! DO NOT email your resume every week. If a company or design firm is interested and has a design job available, they will call you. Sending your resume every week for a month or two will not help you ever.
DO NOT email your resume to every email address you find listed on the company web site. This isn't a lottery. If a company is interested in accepting resumes or has a design job open, they will generally have an email set aside for it.
DO NOT email your resume without a note or cover letter in the message portion of the email. I won't ever open an attachment if I am not expecting one, let alone one from a random designer who didn't take the time to write me a personal message or tell me anything about themselves.
DO NOT call without having an idea what you want to say. We understand you are nervous, and it is tough to make the call, but practice first. You need to sound professional, this is our first impression of you. Also, don't demand a call back, if you leave a message, leave a time when YOU will call back. Most companies don't have time to call back designers, let alone take down your phone number, and your name, etc...
DO NOT email a resume that is 1 MB or more. You'll clog up mailboxes. Better yet, your resume should be 250K or so... bonus points if it's smaller.
DO NOT call and just leave your name and phone number. You won't fool most of us into calling you back, and even if you did, we wouldn't trust you anymore anyway!
DO NOT give up. Your dream design job may only be a resume away.