A Bastion of Hard Work & Creative Drive On Chicago’s North Shore
Teddy Roosevelt once called Highwood IL “the toughest town in America.” That may have been a veiled reference to its abundance of taverns back then, but it also reflected the town’s reputation as a bastion of hard-working reliability tucked into Chicago’s North Shore. How fitting that today, Highwood is home to Street Level Studio (SLS), a full-service marketing and design agency that combines a “roll up your sleeves” work ethic with a creative drive and depth of experience that matches anything a Michigan Avenue agency might offer.
A physical representation of the agency’s agility, the space is designed to facilitate fast response and execution
Finding and maintaining that balance between achieving big agency results and delivering small firm service has been Street Level Studio’s mission for almost four decades. Now under the direction of CEO Tanya Fretheim, the 100 percent women-owned agency has a well-earned reputation for a wide range of creative capabilities underpinned by solid strategy. It also offers clients ranging from global brands to regional businesses an exceptional level of attentive service and agile project execution that has become its hallmark. Talk to anyone on the Street Level team and you’ll immediately sense their dedication to getting the job done and going beyond client expectations with a no-nonsense energy President Roosevelt would doubtless approve.
Leadership Team (l. to r.) Diane Landman, Lexie Markarian, Tanya Fretheim (CEO), Cathy Lindner, Brian Fuller
Fretheim is appropriately straightforward in describing Street Level Studio’s work ethic. “Don’t expect just a bunch of order-takers when you hire us,” she says. “We’re solution driven. We’re results driven. We want to help clients identify and address real pain points, whether we’re developing a complex website, producing an award-winning video, or elevating a traditional direct mail piece to trigger omnichannel response.”
Collaboration is a strong point, contributing strategy, analytics, and creative insights to the success of each client project.
Fretheim likes to say, “Street Level Studio is a team of subject matter experts.” And that depth of knowledge is especially evident in the SLS leadership team comprising Creative Director Brian Fuller, Content Director Diane Landsman, Strategy Director Cathy Lindner, Director of Sales Lexie Markarian, and Fretheim. Collectively, they represent decades of strategic marketing and communication experience with enterprises ranging from Fortune 500 companies and leading creative agencies to entrepreneurial businesses and associations. Supporting them is a prolific team of graphic designers, content creators, web developers, and video producers who possess both the specific creative expertise and business savvy to provide exactly what the agency’s diverse clients demand.
A unique and eclectic workspace inspires both creativity and camaraderie
The approach is clearly working well for SLS. Step into their wide-open, eclectic work space (decorated with vintage neon signs, an antique phone booth, local architectural cast-offs, and an intriguing display of Apple computer evolution) and you’re also bound to notice the long wall of awards the team has collected over the years for excellence in digital, print, and video marketing. Recent honors include several GDUSA American Design Awards, as well as two GDUSA Digital Design Awards for an interactive website experience created for Canon Solutions America’s Production Print Solutions division and a robust e-commerce website developed to launch Medline Industries’ FitRight Fresh Start retail brand of feminine healthcare products.
An interactive website experience created for Canon Solutions America’s Production Print Solutions division won a 2022 GDUSA Digital Design Award.
Like Highwood itself, which is currently enjoying a boom in residential and commercial development, Street Level Studio is an incubator for innovative thinking and nimble execution wrapped in traditional values like long-standing client relationships, exceeding expectations, and bringing projects in on time and on budget.
Developed to launch Medline Industries’ FitRight Fresh Start retail brand of feminine healthcare products, this website was a 2023 GDUSA Digital Design Award winner
So don’t let the tough address intimidate you. And don’t let the imaginative office space fool you. When it comes to getting the job done and delivering award-winning solutions for its clients, Street Level Studio is a place that’s all business and creativity. That mindset is at the cornerstone of everything the team tackles and the reason why the agency confidently makes good on its promise to deliver big agency results with small firm service.