Grillo Group puts your message first and good design follows naturally.

Creativity inspired by insight. Collaboration and commitment. Expertise and experience.

We believe our best work is done as a group—designers, strategists, and writers working with a common purpose. We’ve built an exceptional team of talented individuals with varied perspectives and complimentary talents. We believe that the more wide ranging our considerations, the more carefully constructed our solutions will be. We work for and with our clients every step of the way from solid research, analysis, and planning to clear positioning and sound message strategy to expert visual and verbal creative execution. 

We develop integrated marketing solutions to address every need. Brand identity and development. Advertising and sales support. Corporate communication and annual reports. Collateral and packaging. Development and fundraising. Signage and business environments. Books and publications.

 © Steven E Gross  all rights reserved

Maria Grillo Grillo Group

Maria Grillo

Maria can see the forest and the trees at the same time. With logical precision and remarkable intuition, she clears the path directly to the solution. She would have been a great lumberjack. Lucky for her clients, Maria puts her big-picture perspective and problem-solving skills to work for them. She’s focused, but realistic and flexible. “That makes sense. Let’s try it.” 

A Fellow of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, Maria’s talent and achievements as a designer over the last 25 years have been recognized by some of the profession’s most notable organizations and publications: Communication ArtsGraphis PosterPrint, and ID magazines, the New York Type Directors Club, and British Design and Art Direction. Maria has taught aspiring designers and peers how to plan and implement branding and design programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Syracuse University’s Independent Study Master of Arts Program. She has served on the AIGA/Chicago Executive Board and as juror for numerous professional and educational design competitions. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

 © Steven E Gross  all rights reserved

Maria Grillo Grillo Group

Kristin Cullen

Kristin Cullen is an accomplished graphic designer, educator, and author with a master’s degree in graphic design from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Her design work has appeared in national and international exhibits and been published in books and magazines that include American Corporate Identity, Graphis, and Print. Kristin has taught at leading institutions including the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; University of Cincinnati; University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign; and RISD. She has written books for Rockport Publishers, Layout Workbook: A Real-World Guide to Building Pages in Graphic Design (first and second editions) and Design Elements: Typography Fundamentals. Outside of design, her artistic practice explores geometric form, order, and abstraction.


 © Steven E Gross  all rights reserved

Maria Grillo Grillo Group

Max Russell

Max makes words work harder because he does the work before he writes the words. A quick study and a congenital collaborator, Max has a knack for putting clients at ease and for putting up with designers’ exacting demands. “How many words do you need? Zero problem. I’ve got a million of ’em.” As a marketing consultant, planner, and manager, Max has helped scores of organizations in both the private and nonprofit sectors evaluate the effectiveness of current marketing programs and investigate new or alternative approaches for greater efficiency and effectiveness. As a creative team member, he has helped develop, write, and manage highly effective and award winning marketing communications and public relations programs in the fields of manufacturing, finance, banking, insurance, health care, computers, high technology, engineering, education, publishing, and architecture. He is a successful business writer and has collaborated with subject matter experts and academicians on five published books on risk management, corporate reporting and governance, new product development, and strategic sourcing. He holds an MBA in marketing from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.


Content Development
Marketing Collateral
Signage and Wayfinding



365: AIGA Annual Design Competitions 29
AIA National Honor Award, Interior Architecture
AIA Illinois Honor Award
AIGA 50 Books 50 Covers Show
Admissions Advertising Award
American Association of Museums
Publication Design Competition, First Prize
American Banker’s Association
Financial Marketing Awards
American Center for Design 100 Show
British Design and Art Direction
Business Marketing Association, Gold
CASE Circle of Excellence Award
Chicago Book Clinic
Communications Arts Design Annual
Creativity 27
Graphic Design USA
Graphis Poster
ID Magazine
Library of Congress
Los Angeles Art Directors Club
Microsoft Network Site of the Day
Print Regional Design Annual
Society of Typographic Arts
TipWorld Cool Site of the Day
Type Directors Club of New York
USA Today Hot Site of the Day

Books and Magazines

The New York Times
The New York Times Book Review
Creativity for the Graphic Designer
Graphic Design America 2
Non Traditional Design
Chicago Design
Chicago Magazine
Critique Magazine
Communication Arts Magazine
Interior Design Magazine
People Magazine

Client List


Loyola University Chicago
Monmouth College
New York City Department of Education
North Shore Country Day School
Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management
Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, The Center for Research in Technology and Innovation
Northwestern University, McCormick School of Engineering
Northwestern University, School of Education and Social Policy
Robert Morris College
Stanford University
Stanford Fund for Undergraduate Education
Terra Museum of American Art
University of Chicago, Alumni Relations and Development
University of Chicago, Booth School of Business
University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy
University of Chicago Hospitals
University of Chicago, Housing Program
University of Chicago Law School
University of Chicago, Office of College Admissions
University of Chicago Hospitals
University of Chicago Housing Program
University of Chicago Law School
University of Chicago, University Publications Office
University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign, Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering
University of Virginia, Darden School of Business

Not-for-Profit / Foundations / Museums

American Society of Media Photographers
Art Institute of Chicago
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso University
DIFFA Design Industry Foundation for AIDS
Healthcare Financial Management Association
Illinois College of Optometry
Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Museum of Science and Industry
The National Patient Safety Foundation at the AMA
Property Casualty Insurers Association of America
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Zhou Brothers Arts Foundation


Advanta Bank Corp.
CoVest Banc
First Chicago
Greystone Group
Hyde Park Bank
Kemper Financial Services, Inc.
William Blair & Company
William Blair Select Partners


Advocate Healthcare
American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
American Academy of Periodontics
American Association of Neurological Surgeons
American College of Surgeons
American Dental Association
American Medical Association
American Medical Television
Illinois College of Optometry
Northwest Community Hospital (Chicago)
Olsten Health Services
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
La Rabida Research and Policy Center and Children’s Literacy Program
Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center
The University of Chicago Hospitals


Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Chronicle Books
Diners Club
DixieFollett Software Company
Scott Foresman
FinancialAdvanta Bank Corp.
CoVest Banc
First Chicago
Greystone Group
Hyde Park Bank
Kemper Financial Services, Inc.
William Blair & Company
William Blair Select Partners

Business to Business

Answers Media, Inc.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of America
Board Governance Services
Cambridge Integrated Services
Caterpillar Inc.
Cat Logistics Inc.
City of Chicago, Department of Planning and Development
Diners Club
Domtar Fine Papers
e-Security, Inc.
Encyclopædia Britannica
Fort James Corporation
Gallagher Bassett
Juno Lighting
Knightsbridge Solutions LLP
Leo Burnett USA
Mohawk Paper Mills, Inc.
Moline Bearing Co.
Posted Communications
The Principal Financial Group
Towers Perrin
TriMark Technologies, Inc.
Unilever Home & Personal Care
Unocal 76