Best of Blogs: Designslinger

0 Posted by - July 14, 2014 - BEST, Resources

One of the main things that WendyCity is about is sharing the BEST of Chicago architecture and history.  Who’s doing what?  Who’s good?

Well, there is one BLOG that covers Chicago architecture and history like no one else: It is one blog you simply must read.

Tour guides, docents, historians, architecture and design aficionados alike read and love Designslinger.  You may dog-ear the AIA Guide to Chicago, but you find Designslinger its indispensible mate.

Designslinger is a two-man labor of love.  Business and life partners Jim Nedza and Mitch Sutton make up the incredible creative team that photographs, researches, and writes the weekly posts on Chicago architecture.

Before I ever met them, I was quickly and completely impressed with the quality of their blog: the photos are colorful, crisp, and clear, the articles are thoroughly researched, and the buildings they choose a fascinating sweep through the city.

But now that I am privileged to call Jim and Mitch my friends, I see first-hand the passion and generosity behind Designslinger.


In 2009 Jim and Mitch, both in their early 50s, decided to retire from the movie business in L.A.  Both successful creatives who had worked in art departments, they maintained their interest in all things design related.  And they weren’t ready to sit back and retire upon moving to Chicago.

Jim had studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology and is a native Chicagoan.  As they settled into their new home, they began exploring the architecture and history of the city and decided to build a blog to document it all.  Naming it Designslinger allowed them the freedom to make it anything they wanted over time.

After a couple of years of writing five times per week, Designslinger found its groove.  Jim and Mitch focused only on buildings they could photograph (with historic photos via links) and those for which they could convey the story in roughly 700 words or fewer (the biggest challenge in the beginning).  They committed to making their posts accessible to a varied audience.

Their site aptly describes what they are about: #architecture #design #history  *exploring the convergence


One of the stand-out qualities of Designslinger is that their research goes deeper and further than the usual sources.  Even for those who know Chicago well, reading Designslinger always promises something new.  They say that depth sometimes requires “mind-numbing research to dig a little deeper into who some of the other players were in the construction of the structure…the story behind the actual site and the neighborhood – because we saw all of those components as integral parts of a building’s history.”

Their work and dedication, relentless publishing schedule, and savvy social media paid off.  Thousands of people (like me) quickly found them and became dedicated followers.

The Reader’s Deanna Isaacs also discovered Designslinger early on and profiled Jim and Mitch in 2011 – the first time we had actually learned the identity and seen the guys behind Designslinger (with their mysterious selfie by The Bean!).   Designslinger also made The Reader’s Best of Chicago 2012 issue.


Jim and Mitch have recently gone to one weekly post – and, my, how many of us look forward to Wednesday mornings!

They have also created a print-making venture called Designslinger Studio, through which they sell their bold, graphic, colorful, architectural handmade prints.  They draw, carve linoleum, ink, and pull each print by hand.  Like their blog, their prints tell powerful stories.

Jim and Mitch are excellent and generous bloggers who, through Designslinger, have greatly enhanced our knowledge and awareness of Chicago.

To stay in touch with Designslinger:

Website:   Subscribe to the email list to be notified of new posts.

Twitter: @designslinger







  • jim & mitch July 14, 2014 - 5:20 am Reply


    Thank you very much for including designslinger in your “Best of Blogs.”
    What a great way to begin our week!

    • Wendy July 14, 2014 - 9:26 am Reply

      My privilege and pleasure, Jim and Mitch!

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