We may have lost our electricity, but we certainly did not lose power as our web design company's office is still moving full steam ahead! The power outage that hit Chicago with Monday's storm left our office on Chicago's north side dark, muggy and ever so quiet without the hum and buzz of the computers. So we packed up and got to work at Sandy's house, where sandwiches, pop, chips and a very popular pasta salad awaited us. The whole situation reminded me of a recent post on brand strategy that discussed how your company's brand should carry over into every aspect of your business. What a great example this makes! We often talk about the "Sandstorm Way" around the office—which refers to ensuring any aspect of a project is up to our professional standards. Because this is at the core of who we are, it's a key part of our brand. And isn't this a perfect manifestation of the Sandstorm brand in the culture of the company? Electricity or not, we are still committed to delivering the strategic and creative results we're known for.
Last Saturday, June 11, 2011, our User Experience Architect Alma Meshes joined more than 6,000 volunteers in the Chicago Cares Serve-a-thon. They came together to spruce up schools for over 18,000 Chicago students by painting classrooms, creating murals, planting flowers, organizing libraries, painting playgrounds and more!
During last year's Serve-a-thon, Alma and her husband Nick Meshes painted a mural at Mark Sheridan Math & Science Academy (That's Nick with the mural in the photo above). This year they painted a classroom at the same school. Now painting isn't exactly user experience design, but Alma is multi-talented!
We’re so proud of Alma for her volunteer efforts to give back to the Chicago community!
Sandstorm Design recently launched a health care web application for a large insurance company. The interactive experience educates users on Medicare health care coverage options. To offer this helpful tool to an even broader audience, the application has now launched in Spanish!
Over sandwiches and soda, our Technology and Usability Director Michael Hartman talked to the team about new possibilities Drupal 7 features open up and how we can use them to continue to provide exceptional content management solutions. We were inspired enough to keep discussing Drupal long after the last bite had been eaten. In fact, we're still talking Drupal this and Drupal that. And the conversation isn't likely to end anytime soon!
It has been an amazing week for our development team at DrupalCon Chicago 2011. We absorbed Dries Buytaert’s keynote, mingled with other Drupal 7 developers, danced to a song about Drupal (not kidding!), and attended session after session on topics like theming, design, user experience, implementation and configuration. We had a blast and learned a lot!
We’re so proud that Chicago got to host the Drupal conference this year. And we’re so grateful to all those who made DrupalCon Chicago a success. Most of all, we’re looking forward to the future of Drupal, which is only looking brighter and brighter!
Check out our pictures from DrupalCon Chicago!
Sandstorm Design is thrilled to kick off the new year by launching a new web site and brand for Gregg Communications! What started with a web site has grown into a full on partnership to reinvent Gregg’s brand. And it has been so wonderful to have a client as enthusiastic about the process as we are! With a new website and identity, the Gregg brand is now aligned with the quality service and expertise of their staff. We are so proud to announce this launch and look forward to more growth with Gregg!
Visitors of the skating rink at Millennium Park in downtown Chicago this past weekend got a sweet surprise when they were bombarded with an orange hat wearing flash mob. Our own Sandy Marsico was in the crowd of dancers who were shaking their stuff to Queen, Michael Jackson, Beyonce and more. Check out the video here!
There has been a lot of talk around our the Sandstorm Design office about possible “days.” Accent day, musical day, Spanish day (Día de Español), wacky socks day, potluck day. But pajama day is the one that really got our staff excited. So we brought this office talk into fruition and deemed the day after the holiday party Pajama Day. It was already a half-day workday (one of our cool holiday gifts was that the office didn't open until 1:00 PM the day after the holiday party), so coming to work in our pajamas was only appropriate.
It turns out, sleeping in and wearing pajamas is good for business. We were on top of our to-do lists, our brainstorming sessions left the whiteboard overflowing with ideas, and the overall office vibe was relaxed, comfy, and productive. What? Holiday stress? Not at Sandstorm Design.
At Sandstorm, we’re experts at a lot of things – branding, usability, marketing… and general holiday merriment. Yes, at Sandstorm we know how to do the holidays! We gathered Sunday night with our significant others at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba for the annual Sandstorm holiday party. For some of us, including me, it was our first holiday party with Sandstorm, and I’m sure I speak for all of us newcomers when I say it was even more fun than I had anticipated. With sangria in hand (or beer, or margarita), we laughed the night away. Everyone ordered a few tapas, and then the plates just started passing.
Fried goat cheese? Yes, please.
Spicy potatoes? Yup, right here.
Something with mayonnaise? I’ll take it.
Something with bacon? Pass that to Zak.
We ate, drank, and cracked jokes until our cheeks were sore from laughing so hard. Then there was the Dirty Santa game. Alma stole Holly’s #1 spot this year, and got to be the first to pick a present, and the last to steal. Even though we had a private room, I’m pretty sure the whole restaurant could hear our Ooooh’s and Aaaah’s as each gift was unwrapped, and our bursts of laughter when someone would steal a coveted gift (like the Christmas Story leg lamp, or the neck massager, or the vampire Abe Lincoln book). And just when you thought you couldn’t eat, drink or laugh any more, they brought the dessert menu. To make the night even better, Sandy made an announcement that the office wouldn’t open until 1:00 PM the next day. Like I said, Sandstorm knows how to do the holidays.
Here at Sandstorm, we all tend to take on the same mood of the day. You'll know when we’re in our Friday mood because the jokes are more frequent and the laughter is a lot louder. We also get in seasonal moods, enjoying cider in the fall and tea in the winter. And now that the holidays are upon us, we thought it would be fun to deck the halls to accompany our festive mood!
So on this extra wintery Monday morning, the Sandstorm staff arrived to see lights strung, gifts wrapped and stockings stuffed. To add to our already hefty supply of sweets, there are now candy canes, old-fashioned candies, peppermints and lollipops on just about every table. Everywhere you turn there are decorations to remind you of the season. Along with all this snowy weather, we now have a fully decorated office to keep us in the holiday spirit!
Speaking of holidays, I still need to get my Dirty Santa gift for this weekend’s Sandstorm Holiday Party…