This is the story of how Mess was made

Mess is an independent digital design and development agency founded in 2005. Our neck of the woods — Chicago's Wicker Park — is halfway between Madison Avenue and Silicon Valley. We think that's pretty fitting for a team that acts like a startup most of the time. We believe in pushing boundaries while keeping level heads. We approach each project fresh and plan our attack from the ground up. We do what's right, or at least what we think is right. We're nimble. We're clever. And we manage to make some pretty neat things on time and under budget.

We've had the pleasure of working with:

  • Automata Studios
  • Bar Moxy
  • Blue Man Group
  • Breakthrough Urban Ministries
  • Burger King
  • Chicago CBT Center
  • CircEsteem
  • Disney Interactive
  • EVS Sports
  • Faust
  • Flipboard
  • Good Day Monsters
  • Grassfed Apparel
  • Great Lakes Experimental Arts
  • Hachette Book Group
  • Harper Collins
  • Kawasaki
  • Kumbuya
  • L’Oreal
  • Legacy Marketing Partners
  • Levy Restaurants
  • Little Brown
  • Marketing Drive
  • Microsoft
  • Penguin Books
  • Perkins + WIll
  • Pernod Ricard
  • Premium Surge Promotions
  • Red Bull
  • Riot Fest
  • Static Medium
  • Strangers Music Collective
  • Thompson Flanagan
  • uni-ball
  • World Book
  • Zumur

“Mess has been instrumental in bringing our online marketing to the next level. If you get the chance to work with them, you should. They will make you look like a god damn rock star.”

– Courtney Wood

Assistant Director, Online Marketing Penguin Young Readers Group

The Team

  • Brian Wolter

    Mobile Director

    Brian has spent the last decade building software. Lots of different kinds of software. Drawing on experience ranging from interactive media to hardcore distributed systems to mobile apps of every stripe, Brian loves nothing more than pulling a team together to create something amazing.

    Before joining forces with Mess, Brian founded and ran Wolter Group, a boutique firm which specialized in mobile and web development for clients including Cisco, Ford, Tropicana, McDonalds. Brian refuses to move from Manhattan, and we can’t really say we blame him.

  • Jack Shedd

    Interactive Director

    Interactive Director and Partner Jack Shedd brings a decade of experience building digital platforms to Mess. With expertise in multiple disciplines, Jack leads a team of developers, bridging the gap between engineering and creative.

    Jack’s background combines management and engineering roles within design, development and user- experience agencies. His clients have included think-tanks, non-profits, start-ups and enterprises like HP and NEC. Jack has trained developers across the U.S. in modern practices, and collaborated on open-source software projects. His analytical thinking and attention to tech trends facilitates an environment of knowledge sharing that generates leading-edge concepts. In the laughably small bits of free time he has, Jack enjoys fancy food and even fancier whiskeys.

  • Jeff Kelley


    Jeff earned a degree in composition and audio engineering at Berklee College of Music before moving to Chicago after graduation. He began learning development skills while promoting the various bands and creative projects he was working on, and honed his Python, Javascript, CSS and HTML skills at another Chicago startup for five years before coming aboard here at Mess. When Jeff isn’t coding, he’s composing and designing for several Chicago theater groups, running a small local record label and online publication, or making tunes with his band, Vaya.

  • Marissa Mare


    Marissa Mare received her BFA in Graphic Design, with a minor in Drawing, from the Savannah College of Art and Design. While at SCAD, she completed internships in the marketing departments of several local architecture firms, and at design firm Working Class Studio. Following graduation, she moved back to her home city of Columbus, Ohio, where she was a graphic designer for CMH Magazine. One year later she relocated to Chicago to work in the New Media department at Victory Records, while moonlighting as a bartender.

    A voracious reader and a self-professed music snob, Marissa also rules at Tumblr.

  • Mary Alice LeDoux

    Office Manager

    Mary Alice has spent the better part of the past 10 years managing the semi-manageable. When she's not dealing with the Mess we’ve made, she's probably playing dress-up and heading out trying to make the world a more ridiculous place. Or baking.

  • Molly Bramlet


    Molly is an Illinois native, hailing from the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. She majored in Art + Design at DePaul University here in Chicago, were she co-founded the school’s AIGA group, and volunteered in many capacities, including helping kids with homework, and CHIRP Radio. After a Chicago internship, Molly took off to NYC, working with ExpandTheRoom where she worked with clients like Nickelodeon, AMEX, CitiBank, and others. Mess lured Molly back to Chicago and we’re thrilled to have her on the team. When we release her from her duties at Mess headquarters, Molly can be found in coffee shops working on her hand lettering skills, or balancing her love of pizza and IPA’s out at yoga class.

  • Rob Robinson

    Creative Director

    With a decade of interactive experience, Rob Robinson serves as Creative Director and Partner, leading a team of designers and creating awesome looking social stuff and compelling original content.

    Prior to Mess, Rob was at Leo Burnett and DDB Chicago, working for clients including State Farm, Cadillac and Dell. The agency world taught Rob the value of creative cooperation, and he brings a balance of strategic and business-minded thinking to Mess. He's served as a judge for the regional Addy Awards, had work featured in Communication Art’s Interactive Annual and picked up some Effie Awards along the way. Outside of this madness, Rob digs big interactive art (particularly if it's on fire) and wrestling with his muppet-like goldendoodle.