Archives / 2012 / September
  • Fade In: Milwaukee Film Fest!

    Tags: jay, film, milwuakee

    When I first moved to town, my main complaint was the lack of screenings and resources for cinephiles. It wasn't until I started dating the Education Director of the Milwaukee Film Fest that I found out we actually have one of the bigger annual film festivals in the country, right down the street. It opened yesterday with a huge party at Discovery world, and runs through October 11th. They... read more

  • Our Simplest Pinterest Sharingest Tool

    Tags: matt, development, social

    When confronted with a creative or technical problem I search for a solution.  If I can’t find one, I make one.  That's why I love being a developer. Who says we don't make anything anymore? The great thing about code is that you are working with the most fundamental of tools. Like a metal worker, I don’t do it all with hand tools. One of my favorite tools to use is a... read more

  • Object: Word of the Week

    Tags: wow, matt, development

    An object. Normally we can touch, smell and see an object.  Not so in coding, but we can do one thing just like in real life: interact. Objects form the basis of interaction on the Internet, on your iPad, heck even your toaster may have a basic OOP language. Now before the programmers reading this get their keyboards in an uproar, there are other language types that are not object... read more

  • A Tech Called Hope

    Tags: jay, web, tech

    iOS 6 Maps notwithstanding, things in the digital world always get better. For those of us who are sensitive to the frustrating stall of political progress or the crusty state of art, music or movies, technology offers a source of optimism. That might be the main reason I'm in this industry. The possibility of being able to actually count on things getting better is kind of amazing, if you... read more

  • Good Design Makes Things Cheaper

    Tags: design, jay

    Graphic design used to annoy me because I associated it with style and decoration; essentially it was vanity. I'm going to make my boxes and letters look different and pretty so you'll notice me and my work. I wasn't interested in that. My goal was just to create stuff - jokes, arguments, metaphors, ideas. I worked on ways of presenting things so that the way they looked didn't interfere with... read more

  • We Needed Some Glue, Not The Sniffing Kind

    Tags: jenni, about, ryan, bio

    If the future success of Northern Ground will be based on our first hire, we’re going to be fine. And by fine I mean amazing. Welcome Jenni Madson, employee #1. Man, where do I start with Jenni? She likes to laugh, work hard, laugh, spend time with her amazing family and laugh some more. I met Jenni at Layer One five years ago. The day I started was the day she gave birth to her second... read more

  • Programmers Word of the Week

    Tags: wow, matt, development

    Class.  Welcome to it.  In this weekly series of articles I’ll be covering off on some tech terminology designed to help the marketer in you communicate in the double meaning, acronym-heavy swampland that is what programmers verbally sling around “in secret” on any given day.  Our first word: Class. Like an author writing a character description for a person... read more

  • Infinite Navigation for iPad

    Tags: design, UX, mobile, ipad, app, projects, b2b, jay

    Last week we completed a project to design an iPad app for a $5B global manufacturer. They need to supply customers with thousands of documents: manuals, parts lists, how-to videos, sell sheets, and an iPad is the perfect platform. The challenge was to be able to put any documents they wanted into the app and not be limited in how they were organized. The navigation had to scale to accommodate... read more


    Tags: mobile, strategy, app, b2b, ryan

    Yes, this is a blog post about another blog post. But Aaron Shapiro (CEO of HUGE in NYC) is on point. You should really read it, right now, then come back.  I'll wait. In addition to Aaron’s advice, allow me to offer my own counsel, perhaps more tactically, But remember, regardless of the path you take, this problem is not going away. Speed to market has never been more... read more

  • On Black & White

    Tags: design, branding, about, photography, jay

    There is a reason we are using black & white photography for our site, but it's not a good one... I just like it, and the guys do too. As a designer I have to hope and insist that branding involves more strategic criteria than preference, but when building up design materials to support the branding for Northern Ground, I had the bratty epiphany that... wait, since it's my company I can do... read more

  • The New (OLD) Home of Northern Ground

    Tags: about, photography, studio, ryan, libby

    The expected route was to grab a space in the Third Ward. We wanted something different.  We think we found a diamond in the rough but it will take creative vision and some gasoline to get us there. We happen to have plenty of both. Part of what we want to do with this blog is bring you into the inner workings.  We’re going to have victories and defeats and we think it's... read more

  • Bio: Ryan Janecek, Strategy

    Tags: about, ryan, bio, strategy

    Like an economics professor and a filthy comedian had a love child, Ryan is dynamic and well-rounded. As the fearless voice in the room he fights for clients and the right business strategy, often above our own needs. You want him on your side. Ryan builds digital strategies for breakfast and moves onto, well, more digital strategies for lunch. He also prides himself on being a connector, so... read more

  • Bio: Matt Retzer, Development

    Tags: about, matt, development, bio

    Matt stands above us, in both height and respect. Take any technology you can imagine and bet he's not only worked with it, but probably written plugins for it. If he hasn't, just give him a sec. Matt figures out everything that's possible. The truth is, we all do what Matt says. Not just because he's a natural leader with a patriarchal trustworthiness, but because if he says it, it's... read more

  • Bio: Jay Beckman, Design

    Tags: about, jay, design, bio

    Accused of being either quiet or pretentious, Jay is a hairshirt workaholic and design perfectionist, taking all projects too far in a mission to create things that haven't been things before.  Jay comes up with everything your project can be. As an artist with a rare rational bent,  Jay loves science and math for poetic reasons and sees design as a way to break chaos into... read more


    Tags: about, design, development, strategy, ryan

    Several months ago we sat down over drinks dinner and a spreadsheet. We left that night deciding to start our own digital studio. We have ideas about how to do things differently, better. Welcome to Northern Ground. Does the world really need another shop like ours? What differentiation could we possibly offer? Why would you decide to work with a small studio? Why did we leave... read more