New partners join Champaign design firm Spinlight

New partners join Champaign design firm Spinlight

CHAMPAIGN – Chris Phillips and John Turner have joined Matt Hutton as partners in Spinlight, a design and advertising firm in Champaign.

Hutton co-founded Spinlight in 2000 with Debby Winter. She left the firm last year and opened a graphic design company called Winteraven.

Both of Hutton's new partners have been with Spinlight awhile. Phillips joined the firm in 2003 and eventually became the company's senior graphic designer. Turner joined in 2008 as senior copywriter, bringing nearly 20 years of writing experience.

Hutton said he's still the primary owner of the studio but thought it made sense to restructure it more like a law firm or accounting firm. The ability to become a partner is good incentive for people to stay with the firm, he said.

It also encourages people "who join our team that there's no end to what role they eventually take at the company," he added.

Phillips, Turner and Hutton took part in a 25-mile midnight bike ride that benefited Chicago's Friends of the Parks last summer.

"It wasn't too long after that trip that I really started thinking seriously about the three of us becoming partners, and the idea just kind of grew from there," Hutton said.

Spinlight, based at 424 S. Staley Road, C, has a staff of five and is looking for a Web and applications developer.

"The company will still focus on the same things – creative branding. We're not going to change in the foreseeable future," Hutton said.

But Spinlight is branching into new forms of communications, such as content for mobile devices and Web applications, he said.

In a related development, Hutton has sold the Simply Amish store in downtown Champaign to its manager, Ramon Vega.

The store, at 500 N. Walnut St., C, carries handcrafted, Amish-made furniture, as well as general home accessories, bedding and pillows.

Vega, who had been with the store since it opened in 2007, said he plans to keep it much as it is.

"It seemed like a good opportunity. Matt gave me a great price, and it's a good business with a lot of potential," Vega said.

Spinlight has been the advertising agency for Arcola-based Simply Amish and helped the company rebrand itself, Hutton said.

"We still do their catalogs and are involved in that brand," Hutton said. "But the retail thing was not meant to be a long-time thing for us. It was really an expression of branding."

In another project, Spinlight has been rebuilding the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District's website, and the new site is expected to go live in a couple weeks, Hutton said.

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