Blog 2017-06-16T12:25:27+00:00

Our Blog

Do You Have What You Need to Effectively Market Your Business?

February 2nd, 2018|Comments Off on Do You Have What You Need to Effectively Market Your Business?

Let’s face it; if you have a business, marketing is an essential component for success. Whether you are selling a service or a product, you need to tell people about it. That’s where the use of good marketing tools plays a huge role. The first step is to identify who you’ll want to sell to. [...]

Dieter Ram’s 10 principles of good design

January 26th, 2018|Comments Off on Dieter Ram’s 10 principles of good design

Often times in graphic design, we need to look outside of our industry to find inspiration. I was doing some reading recently and stumbled across the words of Dieter Ram. Dieter Ram is an industrial designer and has spent most of his life creating some truly iconic designs for electronics, furniture, and other household items, but [...]

Sites We Love: Pottermore

January 15th, 2018|Comments Off on Sites We Love: Pottermore

As Thunderstruck's resident Web Designer and giant Harry Potter nerd, I thought I would take my blog this month to give a shout out to the beauty that is the Pottermore website. Pottermore, for those of you out there who aren't as obsessed with the magical world created by J. K. Rowling as I, is a [...]

  • Thunderstruck Design 2018

Happy 2018!

January 2nd, 2018|Comments Off on Happy 2018!

Happy New Year everyone! Well, 2018 has come in and brought along some extremely cold temperatures here in East Central Illinois. It was minus 11 degrees this morning. Other than the cold, I'm especially excited about the upcoming year. The Thunderstruck team and I have several new initiatives on the agenda for 2018. To name [...]

Graphic Means | A Documentary for Designers

December 8th, 2017|Comments Off on Graphic Means | A Documentary for Designers

Recently I had the chance to see the new documentary "Graphic Means" that explores the evolution of graphic design production from 1950s through the 1990s. The Documentary focuses mainly on the drastic transition in the design and printing industry, as new machinery and technology made way for the digital processes we use now. As someone who [...]

Thunderstruck….. Still not the AC/DC song.

November 17th, 2017|Comments Off on Thunderstruck….. Still not the AC/DC song.

As we've covered before; our name isn't based on the AC/DC song, but you'd be surprised how often we're asked. Every now and then we run into a cover of the song that's so unusual that we share it around the office. This probably isn't new to many of you since it has over 97 [...]

Thunderstruck Visits the Illinois Fire Service Institute

October 24th, 2017|Comments Off on Thunderstruck Visits the Illinois Fire Service Institute

Early last Friday morning, the Thunderstruck Team (+ one) visited the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute upon the invitation of Jill Sauer. She gave us a personal tour of the facility and we had the opportunity to witness RIT training first hand. Instructor Jeffrey Kraft from the Chicago Fire Department was also on hand [...]

5 rules for logo design

October 13th, 2017|Comments Off on 5 rules for logo design

Logos are some of our favorite projects to work on. They allow us to learn about our clients, build a visual identity for their message and cater their website and additional materials around that identity so that they all mesh together as a consistent idea. I thought it might be helpful to go over a [...]

Google Fonts, a Web Designer’s Best Friend.

September 29th, 2017|Comments Off on Google Fonts, a Web Designer’s Best Friend.

We all know when it comes to design... Typography is important. Like REALLY important. Whether you are designing for print or web, figuring out your typographic aesthetic and hierarchy is one of the most important steps to any design. One typographic tool that has been making life easier for designers and developers for as long as I have [...]

Stepped Back In Time

September 22nd, 2017|Comments Off on Stepped Back In Time

WE STEPPED BACK IN TIME, TWICE! My husband Ralph's family has held family reunions for many years.  This year made it their 43rd which was held in Denver, CO.  There are suggestions/votes to which cities we would visit for the next two years.  Once suggestions are made and votes have been counted for the most [...]

Illinois: Bad for Business

September 15th, 2017|Comments Off on Illinois: Bad for Business

After two long years, Illinois lawmakers finally passed a state budget. But not without a 5 billion dollar tax increase. Once again, taxpayers like you and I shoulder the financial burdens of this state thanks to our elected officials. Thank you very much. With the passed budget comes a 67% increase to businesses, up from [...]

Printing Process: Pantone vs CMYK

September 8th, 2017|Comments Off on Printing Process: Pantone vs CMYK

As designers, we constantly think of how things will be reproduced as we’re working on a design. Being in this mindset, I recently noticed that often the first time a client thinks about this is when it’s time to look at printing prices. I thought I’d take a minute to try and clear up any [...]

Uncreative Thoughts Every Creative Person Thinks

August 25th, 2017|Comments Off on Uncreative Thoughts Every Creative Person Thinks

Being creative means feeling like none of your ideas are creative. Seriously, it’s like a rule. Here’s the thing, being creative is harder than one might think. Actually, no… being creative isn’t the hard part; convincing yourself that your idea is creative and good enough is what’s difficult. It’s like no matter what we [...]

Website Peace of Mind for Only $85 Per Month

August 22nd, 2017|Comments Off on Website Peace of Mind for Only $85 Per Month

Keeping your business WordPress website maintained and up-to-date is a critical function to help your site operate smoothly and attract new customers. For a small monthly investment, count on Thunderstruck Design to make sure plugins are kept up-to-date, fix minor problems before they become bigger problems and to make daily back-ups. To sign up, contact [...]

Thunderstruck. No, not the AC/DC song…

August 18th, 2017|Comments Off on Thunderstruck. No, not the AC/DC song…

Ever since we rebranded as Thunderstruck, we often get the same question about our name. Is Rod a giant AC/DC fan? The answer would be no (well, at least as far as I know.) In fact the name has nothing to do with the iconic metal band song at all. The name stemmed more from Rod's affinity for meteorology [...]

A Blast from the Past!

August 4th, 2017|Comments Off on A Blast from the Past!

Just yesterday, Heather Sinclair, who was my first hire at Richard Newman Associates when I served as their art director, stopped by and handed me these pieces that she had in her file. Wow, talk about taking a walk back memory lane! The year... 1985... these pieces were part of a three-part marketing campaign for the [...]

Pens to Lens: A Fun Way to Give Back

July 28th, 2017|Comments Off on Pens to Lens: A Fun Way to Give Back

Every year I like to participate in a local program called Pens to Lens. What is Pens to Lens? Pens to Lens is a program in the Champaign-Urbana area that brings students, film-makers, and designers together. Students from grades K-12 submit screenplays to a screenwriting competition. Professionals then donate their time and some of [...]

Social Media Countdown to Our Website Launch

July 14th, 2017|Comments Off on Social Media Countdown to Our Website Launch

Approach for Using Social Media to Help Launch Our New Website: What do you do when you have an event to promote? A countdown of course! Our plan of action was to start one month before with a vague and mysterious post about something BIG that's coming. Then we would wait until two weeks before reminding [...]

Web Design Process

July 7th, 2017|Comments Off on Web Design Process

Ever wonder what it takes to get a website up and running? Since we just launched our own new website, we thought it would be a great idea to explain the general website design process here at Thunderstruck Design: Initial Consultation At Thunderstruck, all of our projects start with an free [...]


June 30th, 2017|Comments Off on ONE WORD — APPRECIATION

Rod is always talking about client relationships. I just want to share that one of our long time clients came in a while ago and gave me a hug, mentioning that it was good to see me and I had been missed (been a while since we’ve seen each other). It was great to be [...]

My Greatest Gift

June 23rd, 2017|Comments Off on My Greatest Gift

In honor of this past Father's Day, I would like to share a letter written to me by my daughter Leah when she was just a little girl in middle school. The letter was part of a class assignment where the students were asked to choose someone for "Outstanding Person of the Year". They could choose famous [...]

Our New Website has Launched! 🚀

June 19th, 2017|Comments Off on Our New Website has Launched! 🚀

OUR NEW WEBSITE IS LIVE! What better way to send off the old website than to kiss 😘  it goodbye on #NationalKissingDay!?! After working on updating our website for several months now, we've officially launched 🚀 it. The purpose of this redesign and update wasn't to throw the old site completely out of the window, [...]

Find your voice

June 16th, 2017|Comments Off on Find your voice

Working here at Thunderstruck Design, I love when a branding project comes through the door. Sometimes when I meet with a client, they think that their brand begins and ends with their logo. Although the logo is our first step in visually presenting the brand, it is just one piece of a much larger puzzle. [...]

Wendy’s for the #win on Twitter

June 1st, 2017|Comments Off on Wendy’s for the #win on Twitter

It's no secret that the Wendy's Twitter account is one of the best out there. They have taken engaging with customers to a whole new level! Wendy's started to shake things up in 2017 when someone decided to try and call them out on their "fresh, never frozen" tagline. Boy, was that a mistake! Little did [...]

HOW Design Live | A Designers Experience

May 26th, 2017|Comments Off on HOW Design Live | A Designers Experience

So How Design Live 2017 just ended and all the emails I have been getting about it lately reminded me about my own experience at the HOW conference back in 2015. For those of you who don’t know, How Design Live is a annual conference that brings designers from all over together to network, share knowledge and marvel at everything [...]

Being an Administrative Assistant

May 19th, 2017|Comments Off on Being an Administrative Assistant

Being an Administrative Assistant Being an administrative assistant can mean a lot of things. As for me, I learned on-the-job. Meaning that in the beginning of my career, I learned on my own to master the skills that I know today. In high school, I did not know what I wanted to do as far [...]

Does anyone remember what this was for?

May 12th, 2017|Comments Off on Does anyone remember what this was for?

This my friends is a proportion wheel. It was used in the time before computers to calculate scaling of graphic design elements such as images, height and width of design elements and more. How it works is very simple: just measure the design element you would like to scale (up or down); use one of [...]

Design History – NASA

May 5th, 2017|Comments Off on Design History – NASA

When I was kid, I was obsessed with 2 things; monkeys and space. Since I couldn’t become a monkey, I figured an astronaut was the next best thing. Luckily I found common ground for both interests in NASA. Obviously the astronaut plan didn’t pan out, but I still have an appreciation for their logo, which [...]

You did it, programming, you did it! You’re 70!

April 26th, 2017|Comments Off on You did it, programming, you did it! You’re 70!

This month we are celebrating the birth of the modern programming paradigm as the first code was successfully executed on ENIAC, one of the earliest electronic general-purpose computer, in 1947. This machine was no laptop, heck, it wasn’t even a desktop! Measuring in at eight feet tall and eighty foot long. It didn’t come with [...]

Why Use Social Media for Your Business?

April 21st, 2017|Comments Off on Why Use Social Media for Your Business?

Is Social Media Marketing worth the time? Social media isn’t really a new thing, but maybe for your business it is. Marketing on social media platforms can seem like a foreign concept, and sometimes doesn’t even seem worth the effort. So, is it worth the time and energy to use social media as a marketing [...]

Meet the Team: Bolt

April 14th, 2017|Comments Off on Meet the Team: Bolt

Mascots are fun right? We think so too. Thats why we would like to introduce our mascot here at Thunderstruck Design: Bolt. Bolt was born in December of 2016 when a one of our designers wanted to make something fun for the office. He was gifted to Rod on Christmas and fast became an integral [...]

Take Time to Play

April 12th, 2017|Comments Off on Take Time to Play

In the creative business we are constantly confronted with deadlines and quick turn-arounds which can be very stressful on creative people. Sometimes the ideas ‘flow’ quickly, often times they do not. Creativity can be a struggle. That’s why it’s important to take a break every 90 minutes or so and just have a little fun. [...]

Meet the Team: Hazel

April 7th, 2017|Comments Off on Meet the Team: Hazel

It’s me Hazel. The voice you hear when you call Thunderstruck Design. I grew up in Gibson City until my junior year in high school. I then moved to Champaign to finish high school. Moving from a small town to here was quite a change for me. Luckily, I met a few of my classmates [...]

Meet the Team: Rod

March 31st, 2017|Comments Off on Meet the Team: Rod

Hi, I’m Rod, the owner of Thunderstruck… but it’s not about me… it’s the team that makes this place special! I’m originally from the beautiful hills of Wheeling, West-By-God-Virginia… and I got to get back at least a couple of times a year to get my “hill fix”. I moved out here an eternity ago, and [...]

Meet the Team: Michael

March 24th, 2017|Comments Off on Meet the Team: Michael

Hi, I’m Michael I’m a designer here at Thunderstruck Design. I was born and raised in Hillsboro Il, a small town about an hour north of St. Louis. I am a graduate of the Illinois State University graphic design program and I love logos, branding and all things visual. Outside of the office, I can [...]

Meet the Team: Jason

March 17th, 2017|Comments Off on Meet the Team: Jason

Hey there! I’m Jason… Im about three things… Code, Coffee, and some other “C” word. Probably cookie… I’m a self taught, curious, code/web enthusiast. I’ve always approached life with questions such as, “How does this work?”, or “If I take this apart, can I get it back together with extra parts?” The day I upgraded [...]

Meet the Team: Abby

March 10th, 2017|Comments Off on Meet the Team: Abby

Hey, I’m Abby, but my friends call me Gail. (I guess that makes me Abigail.) I’m a graduate from the University of Illinois where I received a B.S. in Advertising. After finishing my undergraduate degree, I went on to get a Graphic Design Certificate from Parkland College. After interning here at Thunderstruck last summer, I [...]

Meet the Team: Anne

March 3rd, 2017|Comments Off on Meet the Team: Anne

Hi! My name is Anne (pronounced Ah-Nah – it’s weird I know). I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and spent part of my young adult life in central/southern Illinois until I found my way to Champaign after college. I have been working at Thunderstruck Design as a graphic designer ever since I graduated from Illinois State University with [...]

Congratulations, You’re in Sales

February 22nd, 2017|Comments Off on Congratulations, You’re in Sales

When I started my business back in 1995, one of the hardest things I had to learn was how to sell. I had to sell my ideas and concepts to my clients. I had to make those cold calls that everyone dreads. It wasn’t easy, and I hated doing it. I thought I would just [...]

Respect the Brand

November 17th, 2015|Comments Off on Respect the Brand

Establishing a Strong Company Image (This article is an excerpt from a marketing workshop presented to the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce) In today’s global economy, your brand image is your handshake with the world. Through the internet, we can communicate with individuals and businesses half way around the world in an instant. It’s imperative [...]

Central Illinois Business Interview

October 6th, 2015|Comments Off on Central Illinois Business Interview

I recently was interviewed on Alex Ruggieri’s radio program, Central Illinois Business, which aired on October 3, 2015 on WDWS. Alex and I discussed the importance of branding for companies, our recent rebrand of Thunderstruck Design and my role as Chairman for the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce. If you want to listen to what was discussed, I [...]

Follow Your Passions

April 17th, 2014|Comments Off on Follow Your Passions

What lights you up? What interests do you have that you could do them all day… effortlessly? And now for the big question: Is this what you are doing currently? Entrepreneurs know how to turn their passions into business. They find what they love to do and then dive in 100% and turn their dreams [...]

Up the Ante with Cross-Channel Marketing

March 5th, 2014|Comments Off on Up the Ante with Cross-Channel Marketing

When developing a direct marketing campaign, it’s a good idea to think in a much broader scope than a single media approach. Research has shown that using a select choice of multiple media, referred to as cross-channel marketing, can greatly increase your customers and prospects response rate… often as much as 35%. Today, many marketers [...]

Starting the New Year with an Open House

February 17th, 2014|Comments Off on Starting the New Year with an Open House

Well, it’s been 3 months since we changed our name from Roberts Design Company to Thunderstruck Design, and we wanted to celebrate with an Open House. On Tuesday, January 21st, the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce dedicated Thunderstruck Design with a ribbon cutting ceremony starting at 4pm. Immediately following, attendees enjoyed themselves with wine, cheese [...]

Reinventing Your Ideas: How the Little Things Yield Big Results

January 5th, 2014|Comments Off on Reinventing Your Ideas: How the Little Things Yield Big Results

(NOTE: The following article is based upon a presentation at the 2013 HOW Design Conference by Johnny Cupcakes, a.k.a. Johnny Earle) On a cool and rainy Monday evening in San Francisco this past Summer, I had the pleasure to listen to a dynamic presenter and entrepreneur… Johnny Cupcakes. For those of you who might not [...]

Holiday Greetings from Your Friends at Thunderstruck

December 15th, 2013|Comments Off on Holiday Greetings from Your Friends at Thunderstruck

As we wind down 2013 and turn our focus toward the upcoming holidays, I want to take a moment to reflect back and give thanks for the many blessings we have received over the course of the year. As many of you are aware, 2013 was one of transition for all of us here as [...]

Corporate Giving… Why it is Good Business

December 1st, 2013|Comments Off on Corporate Giving… Why it is Good Business

For the past several years, I have served as the Community Service Director for my Rotary Club, C-U Sunrise in Champaign. Part of my role includes working with the Volunteer Services Chair and Committee to develop some volunteer opportunities for our club members. This got me thinking about the many local businesses that contribute so [...]

The New Reality: Augmented Reality

November 17th, 2013|Comments Off on The New Reality: Augmented Reality

The face of marketing and communications are constantly changing. Developing technology is a driving force behind how we interact with customers. Think about it, in just the past year alone, we’ve seen an explosion of QR codes being used on everything from ads to business cards to signs. NOW, HOLD ONTO YOUR HAT… there is [...]

Roberts Design is Now Thunderstruck Design

October 1st, 2013|0 Comments

Well, it’s finally official!  As of October 1, 2013, Roberts Design Company, Inc. is now Thunderstruck Design. After many, many months of preparation, we are excited to make this announcement. We hope you’ll share in the excitement too. You’ll begin seeing our new brand immediately… so be on the look out. So why the name [...]

Post-Recession Trends in the Design Business

September 17th, 2013|Comments Off on Post-Recession Trends in the Design Business

Here’s a news flash, the Great Recession is over. However, the effects still linger. It’s a different world now and the fallout continues to trickle down. There are some positives that came from this event, providing your company survived it, and that’s the fact that it opened our eyes to how high off the hog [...]

10 Things a Design Firm Will Want to Know Before Starting a Project

August 13th, 2013|Comments Off on 10 Things a Design Firm Will Want to Know Before Starting a Project

When hiring a design company or graphic designer to work on a specific project or campaign, many details need to be brought to light before beginning. Fortunately, a good design firm or designer will know what to ask to help make the process easier for the client. Typically, we question clients to get a good [...]

What’s Your Design Strategy?

July 2nd, 2013|Comments Off on What’s Your Design Strategy?

When beginning your next marketing project, do you ever think of the “design strategy?” This is an industry term among graphic designers usually spoken when we first begin the process of gathering information about a specific project or campaign. When we speak of a strategy, it refers to putting together a plan to achieve an [...]

Getting it Printed (Part 2)

June 1st, 2013|Comments Off on Getting it Printed (Part 2)

Print Specifications and Bid Evaluation In last month’s article, we covered how to identify and select the right printer for your print job. This month’s article covers basics on how to specify your print project in terms your printer can understand and how to compare your printing bids once they have been received. Once you [...]

Getting it Printed (Part 1)

May 1st, 2013|Comments Off on Getting it Printed (Part 1)

Selecting and working with printers When managing a print project, you need to know some of the capabilities of many printers. Each project is unique, and based on types of equipment and other factors, certain printers may be better suited for the job than others. Having two to three primary printers in different categories can [...]