RETHINK at 3: big new studio and editorial addition

RETHINK’S three partners at three years: John McGrath, Brian Bullock, Jessica Simmon

Last week, the RETHINK STUDIOS’ staff settled into its handsome, spacious new design studio at 950 W. Fulton Market in the West Loop; a move that coincided with their third anniversary of business.

“We’ve come a long way,” says effects and 3D artist Brian Bullock, RETHINK co-founder, recalling the company’s growth and how they arrived at the right place in the right time in the booming West Loop.

After nearly a decade at Cutters, VFX/3D designer Bullock, and editor/EP Jessica Simmon in 2010 started RETHINK with two employees in a cramped condo living room at Ashland and Ogden. 

The next year, when John McGrath joined them as partner/general manager – he’d been Cutters’ general manager for 20 years  they worked out of his Hyde Park home for a short period.

RETHINK’S spacious main loungeIn 2013, they signed a longterm lease on the second floor of the two-story building at 950 W. Fulton Market. While they waited for the former meatpacking plant to be gutted and rebuilt, they rented space across the street, above world class restaurant Next. 

During this period Sean Graves, director of marketing, joined from ARU. Bullock says, “Sean is the most social being we know. We’re really proud that he’s chosen to carry our brand into the community and is helping us build a growing clientele.”

RETHINK is in the game for the long run, the partners say, with their new 4,300 sq. ft. studio and future plans. The open design studio, with four private suites for client-supervised sessions and a full kitchen, was designed collaboratively by world famous designer James Geier.

Coming soon to the first floor will be a restaurant and an art gallery where the work of Geier and Northwestern University art students will be displayed. Nearby, Google will occupy the iconic Cold Storage building under construction and Robert DeNiro is building one of several boutique hotels. 

Developing a creative editorial group

“People, tools, our clients and our new environment make for exciting times around here,” Bullock says as RETHINK anticipates a substantial growth spurt in business and staff.

A new growth area will be a creative editorial group “of some size and breadth of talents,” McGrath says. “We’re currently vetting great creative editorial talent from the city and from outside.”

“The marriage of great creative editorial, with dazzling design and visual effects,” that RETHINK is assembling under one roof “is just the beginning of where we’re going.” McGrath says.  “Ultimately we intend to be the design shop of choice for every great board that comes out of an agency.” 

Adds Simmon, “Having as many smart, creative people in the room as possible is instrumental in creating powerful content. We have a very talented team who love what they do and we will continue to add creative designers and producers to it.”

Physically, RETHINK has plenty of room to grow.  “We have the rights to another 3,600 sq. ft. for the editorial group and next year we plan to add a 6,000 sq. ft. roof deck, with a 360-degree  view of the city,” says McGrath, light years away from their two-bedroom condo beginnings.