When it comes to things like branding and photography, they’re subjects I’m very interested in but I don’t necessarily excel at…so when someone does it really well, I can’t help but gush over them. If you want to know the best of the best when it comes to graphic design / video production / brand development, things of that nature…then you need to know Potluck Creative like yesterday. And let’s see who’s behind all that creativity, shall we?
Cue: Mikey Litchfield and Sam Jorden. I met them both on a video shoot a few years ago (actually my Timehop reminded me it was exactly two years ago yesterday). We really bonded because we all actually went to the same college, one where everyone seemed to be obsessed with it but we…just weren’t. After that, I knew we’d be friends. We didn’t know each other during our university days but I’m really glad we know each other now. I have no idea what’s in their special sauce but Sam and Mikey just make everything look SO DAMN GOOD. Exhibit A: Owen & Alchemy. I already raved about how fantastic Anne Owen is in last month’s CCF Loves, but when it comes to the bad-ass-ery that is O+A, that’s one part Anne and one part Potluck (actually many parts Potluck…sorry Anne!) Their branding, logo, menu, and labels that I flip for…that’s all Mikey and Jordan. Like I said, I don’t know how they do it but I do know that I dig what they do. The world is filled with graphic designers and photographers but it takes real taste (which cannot be taught) to do what these guys do. So why are they so amazing? Let’s find out.
Why did you choose to live / establish your business in Chicago?
We both grew up near the city and for both of us, Chicago just has had this pull. We work closely with the hospitality industry and as far as we’re concerned, Chicago is the best restaurant city in the country. It just makes sense for us to be here, which is convenient because we love it.
Top three favorite things to do / see in the city?
1) Go to a BYOB restaurant. It’s not even a competition, Chicago has the best BYOB restaurants in the world. Lately, we’ve been on a Filipino kick, whether it’s an old favorite (Isla Pilipina) or the new kid on the block (Small’s BBQ). 2) Get lost at Jung Boo Market. We cook a lot – we actually hosted a 7-course dinner party this past NYE for 30 of our favorite people. We had a course that we garnished with pickled mushrooms. Even though they sell them at our local grocery store, we couldn’t resist heading up to Jung Boo Market in Avondale on our quest for beech mushrooms. Needless to say, we left with a lot more than that. 3) Take a bike ride. Between all the working and eating, we tell ourselves we don’t have time to exercise (aside from the occasional pushup contest in our studio). So we make it a point to ride our bikes as much as possible – to the grocery store, to a photo shoot, to Chinatown. Chicago’s made a big push to make the city more bike-friendly and while it’s got a ways to go, we appreciate all the work that’s gone into it.
What’s the most memorable moment in your career so far?
Without a doubt the most memorable moment for us was getting to work with the late Windell Middlebrooks (aka. the Miller High Life delivery man). His TV persona was no facade. We met him on a shoot for Miller High Life in Topeka, KS – aside from being a non-stop laugh attack, Windell was a genuinely great guy and a pleasure to work with.
Any words of advice for someone trying to get into your field?
Ask questions. Be your own biggest critic. Dress for the clients you want, not the clients you have. All of Brendan Sodikoff’s restaurants (Bavette’s, Gilt Bar, Maude’s, etc.) have a secret BYOB policy – as long as you’re willing to give away a glass of your wine to someone else in the restaurant, you’re allowed to open a bottle without a corkage fee.
How did you guys come up with Potluck?
Potluck Creative started as a place where we could collaborate outside of our respective fields (Mikey being a photographer and Sam being a graphic designer), so it felt like we were each bringing something to the table. We still have a heavy focus on design and photography, though as we’ve grown, there’s been an increased concentration on video which allows us to work together in partnership with some of our favorite brands (Food & Wine Magazine, Solemn Oath Brewery, Rabbit Hole Magazine).
Just killin’ it right? Also, great tip on the Brendan Sodikoff BYOB policy. I’m going to take them up on that. Who’s with me?