Tactical Expertise

Tactical Expertise_500x300While “Fresh Thinking” is the first part of the Custom Direct brand promise, “Real-Time Solutions” is where the rubber meets the road. We’re known as “ the people who get things done”. People who deliver on our promises and do so repeatedly.

Our drive to deliver your results ON TIME comes from our background in direct mail catalog marketing. Every ‘drop date’ is sacred. Even one day late can mean thousands of dollars in late or lost revenue. LATE is not an option.

With a team of in-house designers, developers and producers – and a network of resources that understand EXACTLY what we need, and when we need it, we’re able to meet the most challenging deadlines and schedules with ease.

Photography – Studio + Location

Throw a rock in Chicagoland and you might just hit a photographer. But don’t throw the rock. Just perform a quick web search and you’ll find hundreds of photo studios and freelance photographers. But which one will get the job done for you, on time and on budget?

With more than 25 years of experience, from working in film to digital, managing weeklong location shoots, or cranking out 300+ product shots in record time, we deliver.

Recent projects range from beautiful and expansive interiors for a Romanesque Basilica in Chicago to dramatic and lively retail interiors for a French cooking school. And if product photography is needed, our in-house digital studio can quickly and cost-effectively capture your image, whether you’re launching a national cosmetics campaign – or selling bike locks online.

Critical Color Prepress

To us, color is always critical. Online or in print, color greatly influences our decisions and emotions; to buy or not to buy, that is the question. Equally important is the decision: To Return or Not to Return.

Ensuring the product images in pixels or print represent the real-life product helps manage the consumer’s expectations and can dramatically reduce costs associated with returns.

Critical color demands an understanding, not just of the tools of the trade, but of how we use those tools to meet the demands of a catalog production cycle with hundreds of pages and thousands of products.

We do it every day. Let us manage your critical color assets and help deliver on your consumer’s expectations.

Project Management + Asset Management

Custom Direct began in the mid 1980’s as project managers for the direct selling, direct mail and catalog industries. Hundreds of thousands of pages with a multitude of versions in various languages have been managed and processed by the Custom Direct team – on time and on budget.

From creating a simple brochure to developing a website with an ecommerce solution with hundreds of products – we’re great at managing and delivering integrated print and digital projects.

We employ best practices and the latest project management tools, including Basecamp or Project Turf. The best tool we use, however, is our brain: our experience knowing where a project can go astray and our knowledge of how to keep it on track.

Strategic Sourcing

“I’ve got a guy…” Hey, it’s Chicago, where everyone’s “got a guy” who they can go to for one thing or another. And if you don’t have a guy, you have search engines. Aside from Google, Bing and Yahoo, there are hundreds of proprietary search engines designed to help you find the right person, service or product. Whom do you choose and whom do you trust?

Custom Direct’s strategic sourcing services can help you quickly find the resources that meet your needs for pricing, delivery and quality. Whether you need a specialty short run digital book printing or a skilled programmer for a specialized, custom web application, we’ll find the resource and make the referral – and we can even manage the project for you.

  • Joyce Hothan, Executive Director
    As a non profit organization telling our story is so important to us. The Custom Direct Team spent a lot of time listening to us in order to capture the essence of our mission and organize our website in  a way that tells our story efficiently and effectively. We couldn't be happier with the product! Your responsiveness allowed us to move the project from start to finish without delay. Thanks for your high degree of professionalism, wonderful team work, understanding of our resources and passion for helping us improve our social media message!
    Joyce Hothan, Executive Director
    Glen Ellyn Children's Resource Center
  • Jill Foucré
    The leadership and staff at Custom Direct have been instrumental in all phases of the relaunch of the Marcel’s website. Because they understand our business so well and are aligned with our functional and stylistic needs, we were able to go from concept to design to implementation in a very reasonable amount of time. The team at Custom Direct is creative, resourceful, budget conscious, flexible, and reliable. When challenges are encountered, they find solutions rather than simply reporting on the challenge. They answer the questions I don’t think to ask and they stay focused even when I create distractions or ask them to research something that ends up being an unimportant detour. Custom Direct is a key partner to our growing business.
    Jill Foucré
    Marcel’s Culinary Experience
  • Elisabeth Landt
    Custom Direct worked closely with us at The Quarry Cable Park as we launched our new website. They were able to help us design, brand, and launch a fantastic website which is not only user-friendly, but seamlessly incorporated changes that we made along the way. We riddled the team with challenges and they went above and beyond to quickly find solutions. They had the ability to ease our minds and the expertise to balance our needs and wants. The Custom Direct team exceeded our expectations and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.
    Elisabeth Landt
    The Quarry Cable Park & Grille
  • Maynard Wood
    We enlisted the help of Custom Direct to modernize existing literature and develop new brochures for our participation in a trade show as well as for use in our sales efforts through our field sales force. It was a pleasure working with Custom Direct. They developed three brochures that were creative and of high quality. We were extremely pleased with their performance and are going to involve them in more of our literature and marketing projects.
    Maynard Wood
    Torque Technologies, Inc.
  • Jen Nelson
    Custom Direct’s strength is not only that they provide collaborative design, coordination of photography and complete follow through to the printed piece, but the high standards of the quality they produce are hard to duplicate in the marketplace. Another thing that helps alleviate my stress is that I have no worries once Custom Direct has committed to a project. They do it, do it well and have hit every single deadline (and there have been some really ‘there’s no way they’re going to pull this off’ deadlines)!
    Jen Nelson
    Colony Brands
  • Robert Levy
    We hired Custom Direct to modernize our corporate logo. They did such a great job, we decided to use them to create a corporate capabilities piece. Next, they designed our signage for trade shows and the graphics for our booth. We are always pleased with their professionalism, creativity and attention to detail. They go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure they get us what we need ahead of our deadline and right on budget. I recommend them to anyone seeking a creative/corporate communications firm!
    Robert Levy
    Tele Business USA
  • Brian Hartman
    From the start, Custom Direct took the time to understand our business, our needs, as well as our clients’ needs (Bank of America; First National Bank of Omaha). The outcome of this insight has not only led to the proverbial ‘meeting and exceeding expectations’, but setting a standard and level from which we rate our other vendors. Custom Direct offers us a partner with a deep understanding of creative and production. More importantly, Custom Direct offers the people and resources that care about our clients as much as we do.
    Brian Hartman
    Inte Q – formerly SHC Direct, LLC
  • Barbara Babler
    Custom Direct has been a valuable partner to The Swiss Colony for more than 25 years. They have provided valuable problem-solving research, direction and support in printing, prepress, art direction and photography projects. We look forward to their continued support.
    Barbara Babler
    Colony Brands - The Swiss Colony
  • Darrin Schmidt
    In converting our workflow from in-house to an external partner, Custom Direct made the transition as painless as possible. The professionalism of this group is second to none. It has been a pleasure to work with them and we look forward to continuing our association.
    Darrin Schmidt
    Rite at Home Healthcare Products, LLC
  • Ursula Andreasen
    I just wanted to thank you and your staff for designing my new web site. It turned out beyond my wildest dreams and has brought many complements from my staff and clients. The new design so complements my operation and it has already brought many clients to my shop.
    Ursula Andreasen
    Ursula Hair Design, The North Shore’s Premier Hair Salon
  • Michelle Bailey
    When working with Custom Direct on a project I feel like they are part of the AMP team. For the past four years we have worked together on what I consider a huge project. It involves over 400 images each year, some come in as film, others are digital. And did I mention it falls in my very busiest part of the season? But Custom Direct makes the process pretty painless. They truly are pros when it comes to color. And what really makes everyone happy here is they are competitive with pricing and I have never had any surprises at billing time.
    Michelle Bailey
    Andrews McMeel Publishing
  • Karyl L. Mandel
    After over 35 years, we changed our name, moved our offices and needed a new identity – quickly. Custom Direct was able to guide us through the process with their creativity, timeliness and professionalism. Their follow-through, attention to detail and personal consideration for our needs was extraordinary.
    Karyl L. Mandel
    Teitelbaum & Mandel, Ltd.
  • Kelly Carlson
    The team at Custom Direct goes that extra mile and have become an invaluable and trusted part of our marketing team here at AMES Taping Tools.  We’ve been working with them on a wide array of projects including (but not limited to) retail sales circulars, advertising materials and website maintenance.   They really embrace the brand and help maintain the brand integrity in any request we’ve sent their way.  In addition, they treat each request with a sense of urgency that has been unmatched and we couldn’t be happier with the results.
    Kelly Carlson
    AMES Taping Tools.
  • Cheryl Murphy
    We have worked with Custom Direct for over 4 years.  They have an excellent creative eye and our magazine looks so much better than it did before.  Custom Direct took the time to understand our business and our clients and they help us throughout the entire publishing process.  If I ever forget anything, they remind me and make sure each issue is complete.  They are organized, meet deadlines, and their process makes it very easy to work with them. I highly recommend Custom Direct for magazine layout, design, and publishing.
    Cheryl Murphy
    Community Associations Institute - Illinois