Michael Ortlieb

Creative Lead • Visual Designer • Front-End Developer

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I’ve been creating pictorial, whimsical things as long as I can remember.

As early as the first grade, I was drawing panel comic strips, and dreamt of being a cartoonist for my local paper, the Chicago Tribune. As we approached middle school, my brother and I pooled our allowance and lawn-mowing savings for our first computer, and while he wrote most of the game code, I oversaw art direction.

I’m still that kid fascinated by art, illustration and design. By the beauty and force of thoughtfully rendered work, and the mechanics that power and sustain it. That’s what makes me comfortable in the roles of designer and developer: I’m fascinated by both the art and the science of everything I design.

But I’m not just an art and tech geek, I’m also an extrovert: communicative, collaborative, transparent, with an ace track record in customer service. I take every project seriously but keep the creative process lively, satisfying a client’s targets while fostering a spirit of symbiosis and fun. Be that client a major film or television studio, a national nonprofit, a boutique hotel, a political candidate, or an advertising agency needing support, I shine in making the client a part of the conversation… on time, on budget, and on the strategic mark.

I’ve also taught quarterly classes at the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, guiding Introductory students to create their first website, using best coding practices in HTML and CSS, while Intermediate students explored jQuery, Javascript, and Mobile First. I love sharing knowledge with others, and catching that cheery beam of recognition when a student’s overhead cartoon bulb clicks on.

Having relocated to the Chicago area last summer, I’ve been inspired by the tech renaissance in the Windy City, paired with Midwest ambition and a down-to-earth communicative style. I’ve also been a proud member of 1871, Chicago’s Center for Technology and Entrepreneurship.

I also like illustrating, exploring Chicagoland with my family, and belting out a ballad or three at karaoke.