Home » Here’s a little bit about me
Hello, I’m Brad Ellis, and I’m a freelance graphic designer. I’ve created everything from brochures to magazines, flyers to posters, business cards to billboards, and much more.
Here’s the quick and dirty of how I got to this point:
09/1993 to 06/1995 – Oil the Music Magazine (indie music mag where I first touched QuarkXPress)
08/1994 to 06/1995 – The Chieftain (student newspaper at Black Hawk College)
06/1995 to 08/2001 – The 411 (underground print and online hip-hop magazine)
08/1995 to 05/1997 – The Buzz (student newspaper at St. Ambrose university)
08/1997 to 01/2006 – Quad-City Times (started out coloring comics, ended up leading the Features design team)
02/2006 t0 12/2009 – QC Magazine (design editor for glossy city magazine)
02/2010 to 02/2012 – Dark Highlands (anthologies of dark/horror art and stories)
01/2010 to current – Freelance Graphic Designer
I ended up in the design world kind of by accident. Art and the creative process have always interested me, and once was an option as a college major. In the early ’90s, while figuring out what it was I wanted to do, a good friend and I discovered Oil The Music Magazine. What began as a writing gig quickly evolved into getting my hands dirty with layout. It was a glorious time of obnoxious gradients and chunky drop shadows. I was bitten by the design bug and haven’t looked back since.
I went on to become the editor-in-chief of The Chieftain at Black Hawk College in Moline, IL, and then later The Buzz at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, IA. The hands-on experience I picked up helped me land a job designing ads in the Creative Services department at the Quad-City Times. I quickly jumped over to the newsroom, getting my feet wet laying out the stock report and obituary pages. In short time, I was taking on meatier pages like the Q-C Area front and, eventually, Page 1A. A couple of years later, I made the move to the features department. With a little more creative flexibility and a supervisor who challenged me, I produced several award-winning page layouts. I was with the QC Times for 10 years.
The next step in my career came in 2005, with an offer to be the Design Editor of QC Magazine. For the next several years, I was able to design in full-color glossy and bring together some amazing stories and photos of the people and places of the Quad Cities.
At the onset of 2010, a perfect storm of events provided me the opportunity to set out on my own and become a freelance graphic designer.
No matter the scope of your project, I have the resources to make it happen. With about 20 years in the industry, I have a reliable network of highly creative individuals whose talents include photography, screen printing, content writing, and more.
And when I’m not at the keyboard …
I was born in Peoria, IL. About the time I was 4, my parents moved to the QC and were kind enough to let me tag along. Other than a short stay in Davenport during my Ambrose days, I’ve lived on the Illinois side of the Quad Cities for more than 30 years. I met my wife while we both worked at the Milan Hy-Vee back in the early ’90s. We set up camp in Milan and now have two kids.
In my free time, I’m most likely outside, where all the neat stuff is: hiking, camping, biking, backpacking, gardening, etc. I go outside to recharge and bring that energy back to the pointing and clicking of design. I’m a pretty decent cook, I’m no stranger to a sewing machine and I like making things out of wood. I’m easily tempted by beer, egg rolls, Nutty Bars, RC Cola, and the X-Files.