1. Strategic thinking

We craft a digital strategy around you. Our customized approach ensures we provide the perfect fit for your business, every time.

2. Killer Design & Development

Just have a look at our work. We trust it to speak for itself.

3. real results

Our work gets consistent results as measured in traffic, conversions and other key metrics — not to mention a few accolades and awards.

4. edge

We live and breathe technology so that we can understand and apply the latest and most successful approaches to web and interaction.

5. No “B” TEAM

Our tight-knit team of digital professionals brings experience with high profile projects and clients.

6. processive

We know it’s not a real word - but it’s how we describe our proven process that provides a progressive approach to web development.

7. vibe

We really enjoy what we do. We want to make the experience as fun and rewarding for you as it will be for us.

A new breed of creative agency

Manning is a digital creative agency based in Chicago, Illinois. We build innovative experiences for Fortune 500 companies and the nation's leading organizations on a wide range of platforms. Our work has earned awards and recognition including Webbys, Emmys, Tellys and Adobe's Site of the Day.

We don’t try to do everything,
but the things we do, we do exquisitely

We understand digital and bring an objective, comprehensive understanding of how you can effectively engage your audience. We won’t just tell you what you want to hear. We’ll tell you the truth, and how together we can maximize your digital marketing and communications.

We partner with our clients

We have a stake in your success. We’re proud to say that some of the world’s most prominent businesses and organizations count on Manning to provide their digital communication solutions.


Our team of talented artists, developers and digital advocates consistently delivers innovative digital solutions. We bring a passion for our work and a commitment to exceeding your business goals and your customers’ expectations. We apply decades of combined experience in strategy, design, engineering and technology to every job.


Doug started Manning in 1985. His enthusiasm for emerging technology has guided the company’s evolution from television and video production into the creative multimedia agency Manning is today. Most recently, Doug’s interactive work has earned an official Webby nomination as well as Adobe's Site of the Day award.

Doug has more than three decades of experience with strategy, visual communications and writing. Before founding Manning, Doug worked as a Broadcast Producer at CBS News in New York where he also covered the presidential campaigns and traveled on assignment throughout the Middle East and Europe. Doug has written, produced and directed programming that has won numerous awards including multiple Tellys and a national Emmy.


Namkyu brings our interactive projects to life, combining a great eye for design with the ability to figure out almost any programming challenge sent his way. Namkyu takes a systematic approach to web development, writing clean, efficient and well-documented code, and he has engineered award winning projects on platforms as diverse as HTML, Flash and iOS.

Namkyu’s experience includes both large and small development teams for some of the most respected companies in South Korea and the United States. His diverse background ensures easy adaptation to unique challenges, providing expertise and leadership in programming and user experience design.

we’ve been doing the next
big thing for 25 years

Manning got its start in 1985 as a video production company. But as technology evolved, so did we. For nearly three decades, our clients have trusted us to guide their advance into emerging technology.

Embracing Technology

We’ve been at the forefront of a changing industry from non-linear editing and streaming video all the way through award-winning web development, social media, touchscreens and mobile applications.


We’re proud to say that we’ve been honored by the top awards in our industry including a national Emmy, numerous Tellys, Webby and Adobe’s Site of the Day.

FUTURE innovation

We are passionate about the future of mobile and how it impacts user experience. We believe that social media will define the next generation of digital communications.

our process guarantees your success

We’ve all heard horror stories of web projects that have been derailed for one reason or another – often because the timeline and/or the budget were blown up. We’ve often been called in to pick up the pieces.

process makes perfect

Our unique web process is designed to make the experience of developing your site more creative, efficient and effective. We accomplish this by staying within the timeline and budget constraints, and by defining roles and responsibilities for both our team and yours. We will always be accountable for our work, timeline, budget, and the goals we set for results. We want to make a productive and fun experience for both of us.


Sharpie produced its first ever music video featuring music from Chicago indie-rock group California Wives and the creations of thousands of Sharpie fans. Newell-Rubbermaid's Sharpie team challenged us to come up with a way for their fans to show off their creativity online.

The Sharpie Music Video Mashup allows users to combine footage from the music video with their own and other user-submitted Sharpie artwork in a truly unique multimedia experience designed to let fans show off their creativity. Built with HTML5, this interactive music video is a look at the future of the web.


It’s these fans’ ingenuity that inspired us to explore unique ways of using the web as a tool for creativity and self-expression. And so we asked ourselves, "what if each fan could make their own version of the music video featuring whatever artwork they want?"

We challenged ourselves to create a user-driven experience that took advantage of Sharpie's massive library of user-submitted art and the footage from the music video.


What we built was exactly that—the Sharpie Music Video Mashup lets fans search more than 18,000 pieces of user-submitted artwork and then choose their favorites to create their own remix of the music video.


The experience uses custom APIs to enable users to locate artwork and drag and drop to create a virtually unlimited number of experiences.

The web app uses HTML5 to build the Music Video Mashup experience in real-time.


Launched with a TV spot aired during the MTV Music Video Awards, the experimental web app has extended the Sharpie campaign and allowed thousands of Sharpie fans to join in on the fun.


First Student, the world’s largest school busing company, needed to develop a new digital strategy and online presence beyond the company’s old static brochure-style website.

The initiative included rebranding the company online, strengthening the company’s value proposition messaging, improving audience engagement and increasing lead generation.


Before we could develop new innovation for the client, we needed to understand their existing problems. So we turned to the data! Through our SEO research and existing site analytics, we uncovered unexpected audience search terms and behaviors. The Web analytics provided insight into the lack of effectiveness of existing site content.

In order to align with the needs of key audiences, we restructured the navigation, content, and language of the site.

To highlight the benefits of using First Student, we developed and implemented specific content strategies and information architecture centered around a user-based hierarchy, aiming to address the needs of school districts, transportation staff, and parents.

We were able to expedite and launch the first developmental site in just 6 weeks!


We created a custom content management system that allowed for greater flexibility and design creativity.

Here’s a peak at some of our custom page design options from the easy to use CMS.


Strengthening of First Student’s brand and industry leading status.

Improved message delivery was demonstrated by increased page views, higher user engagement and greater conversions.


The Navistar Defense website is the multi-platform centerpiece of a global marketing campaign. With rich multimedia, 3D vehicle models and video messages from top leadership, Navistar is able to demonstrate its capabilities and capitalize on its legacy of excellence.

Navistar Defense is known for making some of the most advanced military vehicles in the world. Our challenge was to also promote the full range of complete lifecycle support, services and capabilities, while positioning Navistar Defense as a company that is redefining what it means to be a defense contractor.


Our solution was to create a website that gives users a 360° access to information about all of Navistar Defense's offerings—from engineering and manufacturing vehicles and engines, to training, spare parts, and field service—creating a stronger connection to the international brand's legacy of excellence.

The redesign highlights Navistar's competitive advantages, including its commercial platform, manufacturing capabilities and unparalled global support.


By putting a premium on multimedia, we were able to show off the company's capabilities by allowing users to explore the vehicles by controlling 3D models or watching videos of them in action.

High quality video showcases the vehicle’s capabilities, including aerial photography from remote-controlled helicopters.

The site boasts a dynamic structure that allows users to sort and filter products by mission, terrain or armor level, which allows for highly-targeted searching.

All that, and the site’s fully mobile format allows for graceful scaling from computer to tablet to mobile phone.


The new Navistar Defense site has set a new standard for defense contractors with its emphasis on multimedia, user engagement and multi-platform support.

Since launch, the site has experience as significant improvement in key metrics such as visits, pageviews, and time on site.

The multi-platform approach has paid dividends as well: nearly 25% of site traffic comes from users on a phoneor tablet.


The Girard Gibbs website represents one of the most technologically advanced and complete embraces of digital marketing in the legal profession. Girard Gibbs is a nationally-respected law firm specializing in class and collective actions, arbitration and other forms of complex litigation.

The firm’s site has a best-in-class user experience with a unique information architecture and updated brand identity. And the custom CMS provides a flexible platform perfectly designed to support SEO efforts.

Strategy & Implementation

In order to meet Girard Gibbs' unique needs, we had to come up with a branding and content strategy able to balance forces that are usually in opposition, while projecting a credible and reliable image that remains accessible and approachable.

The site needed to contain a user experience that was informative and intuitive, while also supporting SEO campaigns.

To solve these challenges, we built the entire brand and site from the ground up. Executing a new and unique content strategy required our development team working to build a completely custom CMS and authoring environment that was flexible but also maintained design and functional consistency.

The whole experience is driven by a new brand identity and interface design by Manning.

New Technologies

The breakthrough concept is "floating content silos" which replace the rigid categorization of traditional CMS solutions with flexible page nesting.

Navigation and page content are generated organically according to the conceptual silos created by users as they browse the site.


The new site is highly optimized for organic search traffic which is up sharply since launch and now represents almost 80% of all site visits. (78.8% to be exact)

The new brand identity has allowed Girard Gibbs to step up marketing and communications efforts.

The new website and CMS have proven to be essential tools in the firms ongoing lead generation, SEO and digital marketing efforts.


Snowflake Workshop is a website that allows users to create personalized snowflake designs and share them with friends. The challenge was developing an interactive experience for the holidays that is unique, and personalized for each user.

Snowflake Workshop features a stunning interface design that blends video and graphics, the site has been wildly popular—generating more than 50,000 unique designs to-date.


We thought it would be cool to let people relive their childhood and make their own personalized paper snowflakes online.

A snowflake-themed card was a natural fit for a company dedicated to protecting unique ideas, and would put a clever and engaging spin on catching up with clients during the holidays.


We wanted to push the experience to feel as 'real' as possible and let users become immersed in the process of creating their snowflake card designs.

Each card design was a completely unique combination of user-generated 'cuts' and could be sent to a friend with a personalized message.

Saved snowflakes fell in a virtual snow shower that was searchable.


We filmed select elements using live actors on a green screen and then composited the footage into our interface design.


The Snowflake Workshop went viral with a virtual blizzard of 50,000 snowflakes created in the first year.

Since launch, the site has received hundreds of thousands of visits from more than 100 countries, and continues to have huge traffic spikes each holiday season.


First Student Charter Bus Rentals is a website that supports North America's largest school bus operator by serving rental customers. The site is the heart of the company’s marketing and helped increase charter revenues beyond original company expectations.


Our strategy was to create a consumer-facing touch point that positioned First Student's buses as an easy, affordable way to transport large groups.

A highly optimized content strategy would bring users to the site via paid and organic search traffic. Then, once on the site, users would be able to easily find out more about the service, request a customized quote, and find everything they need to play a trip—including downloadable checklists. And when they're ready to book a trip, they can either use the online quote form or speak directly with an agent by locating the nearest branch.

The site was branded with a sleek, streamlined interface featuring lots of yellow and accessible language, highlighting the affordability of school bus rentals.

New Technologies

The site is highly optimized and completely designed to offer tailored resources and take advantage of Google's local search.

Dynamic local branch and market pages are generated for each of the First Student locations in 38 U.S. States and 9 Canadian provinces.

First Student Charter features an innovative two-tier quote request function that caters to customers who know all the specifics of their bus rental request –as well as those who are still in the planning stages.


Traffic has been steadily grown through an extensive content siloing strategy that features highly-targeted landing pages with group, trip or location-specific content.

Branch landing pages take advantage of HTML5 microdata in order to further take advantage of local search rankings. Site traffic, and most important quote requests, have risen dramatically between the first half of 2013 and 2013 because of SEO enhancements. This has helped First Student increase revenue beyond original expectations.


Chimps Should Be Chimps is a children's storybook for the iPad. Featuring rhyming verse, lush illustrations, animation and sound effects, the book helps raise awareness about the misuse of chimpanzees in entertainment. The book has been praised by readers and critics alike, and won the Chicago Publicity Club's highest award.


In order to maximize the impact of ChimpCARE's message, we decided to createa piece for the most popular, fastest growing digital platform: the iPad.

The iPad has a wide national and international reach with particular appeal for young parents, one of the zoo's core audiences.

A free app serves as an informative and engaging resource for children and their families, shaping the cultural attitudes of a new generation.

The novel approach also attracts the media and generates buzz, key elements for any public awareness campaign.


Rather than create a traditional educational app, Manning Digital wrote, designed, illustrated, and developed an interactive children's book. We wove the issues of chimp welfare into a story complete with rhymes, animations, sound effects and hidden surprises.

The lush illustrations bring life to the text and emphasize the emotional side of the cause. Supplementary features provide context for the story and share Project ChimpCARE's mission and goals.

The app is perfect for a child to read on his/her own or along with an adult, with the hope of starting family discussions about these issues.


The story provides an interactive experience for children and adults on one of the fastest growing platforms, and also keeps the audience engaged with hidden features that promote repeat usage.


Chimps Should Be Chimps has been downloaded thousands of times and has received significant attention from the press including NBC, CBS, The Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Parent Magazine.

Chimps Should be Chimps earned the Golden Trumpet Award, the highest honor awarded by the Publicity Club of Chicago.

Professional reviewers and iTunes users alike have raved about the colorful illustration style, and have routinely described it as one of the best free children's books available.

Digital strategy drives design,
not the other way around

We strive to analyze and understand your goals, and provide comprehensive strategy and recommendations before a single pixel gets pushed.

Understanding your business, its objectives and how you engage your users is key to any successful project. We partner with your internal team to develop, shape and execute digital marketing strategy.

We help you develop an effective digital strategy that:

We develop an objective,
comprehensive understanding
of your users.

Search Engine Optimization provides an insight into the search behavior for all your key audiences, and how we can effectively attract and engage a broader base of users.

Website Analytics provides an understanding how your current users find you and what they do on your site, and how we can influence behavior and maximize conversions.

User Experience (UX) embodies what people need and want from websites and promotes ease of use and efficiency.

our project
management team

has the digital and social media experience with leadership roles on major corporate and organizational websites.

Throw Away the Frame

Our approach is not to create the perfect strategy document to frame and hang in your conference room as a piece of art. We’re creating a living game plan that will evolve as your business, audience and technology change. It’s a lean, fast, data-driven methodology to define your digital goals, opportunities, implementation strategies and standards for measurement and improvement.

It’s a Digital world

It starts by recognizing the important role that digital should play in your marketing and communications, and a desire to maximize the results from your digital initiatives.

Discovery & Data

We rely on you to help educate us about your business needs and objectives. We bring the digital experience and thinking. The foundation is a comprehensive analysis of your company and your goals and objectives. As important as your insight is the data – both analytics from your existing digital initiatives and thorough search engine optimization research.

It’s Good to be King

We understand that the user is king, and we bring a user-centric approach to our strategy. We aim to understand how they find you online, what their needs are, how you can engage them, and how we get them to take the desired action.

Walk the Talk

We apply the same user-centric approach to implementation, from the information architecture and navigational hierarchy, to user-based design to development.

Achieving the Best

Our motto: Good. Better. Best. Never let it rest, until the good is better and the better is best. Evaluation is a key part of every strategy to learn the lessons of the campaign, and implement improvements. We understand with the development of technology and business that those who rest, will not be the best.

1. Goals

How well does your digital strategy define the online goals and objectives of your business?

2. Audience

Are your key audience segments well defined, including their needs and behavior?

3. Opportunities

What are your opportunities? How well do you understand the potential audience who doesn’t currently visit your site or engage with you online?

4. Pragmatism

Are the recommended initiatives realistic and specific for your business?

Improve Your Search Ranking

Is your company interested in improving its search engine ranking? Manning has worked with a variety of clients including First Student and Girard Gibbs to develop highly optimized solutions and copy that fit their workflow and budget. And our unique strategies have been successful. We've been able to help our clients double traffic and increase lead generation and sales.

White Hat SEO

Our SEO strategy is focused on “White Hat SEO.” White Hat SEO is simply a process of delivering quality content to users who have requested it. Our approach starts with developing this content and then employing techniques for effectively promoting it. We do this by closely examining the data coming in from the site and listening to both the users’ and the site owners’ comments and concerns. We focus on improving Organic Keywords, Pay-Per-Click Advertising, Inbound Links, Markup, and Social Media.

Optimize Your Social Presence

Is your company interested in social media optimization? Manning has worked with a variety of clients including the Lincoln Park Zoo and Newell-Rubbermaid to optimize content on multiple social platforms. And our diverse portfolio of work ranges from enterprise apps to an award winning interactive children's book.


Social media is indispensible for improving communication with your existing audience and reaching a new audience. Optimizing content means that messaging is maximized to the greatest number of users when and to better achieve your business goals.

We see the web as an emotional medium

Creating a successful digital experience is at the core of what we do. Users’ needs should dictate functionality, and desired functionality should dictate the technology and platform.

dynamic canvas

What we love about design is that we work on a dynamic canvas with paints that move.

Technology challenges us and enables us at the same time. Design is part art, part engineering, and part science. We combine all these disciplines together to create an interactive experience.

User Experience is at
the heart of good design

We understand how to audience behavior should influence design, and vice versa. Good design inspires your audience to engage with you.

Creative Originality

We don’t do one-size-fits-all solutions. That means we aren’t out to sell you warmed-over concepts or steer you toward generic website templates. We thrive off of creating a unique design that works for your business.

Our Design Team

has the background and creativity to create exceptional interactive interfaces.

Designing an interface using
UI/UX Best Practices

Is your company interested in great User Interface design? Manning has worked with a variety of clients to design robust and easy-to-understand user interfaces for everything from websites to enterprise apps to an award winning interactive children's book.

UX for Business Applications

All sorts of digital applications — from websites to mobile apps to kiosks — benefit from expertise in the field of interface design. Besides being an integral part of digital experiences like websites and web applications, a good user interface can make an enormous difference in conversions by enabling your users to easily find what they need, engage with your content, and interact with your brand.

Agile Development

Development is not understood by many, but it’s one of the most important tests to judge what digital agency you should be working with.

Our in-house Development Team practices agile software development that relies on close collaboration between the programming team, designers, project managers, digital strategists, and our clients. Our tight-knit Development Team knows more than how to write good, clean code – they understand the goals and objectives of every project. They approach development as a work of art.

Custom Development

Our process is designed to decide platform and execution organically according to the needs of the project. To meet our clients’ needs, our Development Team has created custom content management systems, platforms and apps for a diverse range of projects from complex websites to an iPad children’s book.

The end result of our methodology is that projects are completed on time and with a high degree of flexibility and cost efficiency.

mobile app development

Our mobile app team designs and develops an intuitive interface touch screen functionality to meet the customer requirements of your application. Our project management strategy can provide assistance from initial proof of concept and conceptualization through design, development, testing, launch and support.

ios, android and windows mobile

We can provide custom software development services for the major mobile platforms, iOS, Android and Windows Mobile.

Web Applications

Our team of strategists, designers and engineers can develop a web app for any of the major browsers and operating systems. We apply the same strategy-based process we use for all digital projects to refine and validate concepts, including providing guidance on functionality and features, to make you and your app successful.

Mobile First

Creating a mobile site should no longer be a phase II. The explosion of smart phones and tablets makes it mandatory for virtually every website. The average user in the U.S. spends nearly 40% of their time online using a mobile device according to ComScore’s 2012 report.

Size Isn’t All that Matters

Screen size is critical for mobile optimized sites, but creating a good mobile user experience goes far beyond. We bring an understanding of mobile user behavior to develop a mobile structure that will be successful. Check out how we have implemented successful mobile strategies and experiences.

Dynamic Not Static

Many businesses have had to choose between web solutions that favored either front-end design or back-end functionality. For many, the result is a website that look stiff and boring because the content management system forces every page to fit a static template.

CMS=Creative Management System

We’ve developed a unique approach that gives our clients the ability to manage and control content – but adds a new layer of creativity to allow them to make an almost unlimited range of pages designs that keeps the site fresh. We want our clients to create a truly dynamic site in every sense of the word. We invite you to take a look at what that looks like or set up a demo to see how it works on the back end.

The Magic Touch

Developing an interactive touch screen app requires a different mindset than is required for developing a traditional web interface. We can add a new level of audience engagement and interactivity with a touch screen app.

kiosk to ipad

We have experience with a wide range of touch screen applications from large trade show kiosks to an iPad children’s book . Our process applies a user-centric approach to create an innovative digital experience based on the needs and user behavior of the intended audience.

Digital Video Pioneers

We were one of the early pioneers of online streaming video content, and apply our network broadcast production experience to every project. Our television background and understanding of how to adapt your story to video and mobile formats provides the foundation to create a compelling presentation. We understand that video is an emotional medium and how and when to utilize multimedia as part of your digital communications strategy

Award Winning

Our programs have won the industry’s most prestigious awards including a national Emmy and numerous Tellys. Our team of video professionals has worked with a variety of clients including CBS, ABC, Intel, Navistar, Dow, Schindler Elevator, and the American Bar Association to produce high-quality videos. Our formula focuses on building a great message on top of a thorough strategy, and applying best practices to new ideas.

optimizing copy for the web

Our team is experienced at copywriting for a variety of digital channels including websites, blogs and news sites. We work hard to translate content into web-optimized copy designed to facilitate usability, improve search engine ranking and increase visitor loyalty. Because of our familiarity with the underlying technology, we ensure that your content uses the best practices for any device or platform.

web Copy Optimization for Businesses

On any digital platform, clearly expressing a message is a fundamental challenge and opportunity. Often businesses have prepared copy and messaging, but struggle to translate that message to a digital medium. From websites to apps, online advertising and interactive media, creating a clear, optimized message is invaluable to any business. Potential uses include:

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