Substance is a Chicago-based creative agency focused on strategic visual communication. We partner with both corporate and not-for-profit clients to develop messaging that inspires thought and promotes action. Our work is based on developing visual communication that is driven by the strategic objectives of our clients, not by stylistic trends.

Buckminster Fuller once said “When working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”

That comes pretty close to describing our approach and why we are called Substance. Our areas of practice include:

– Corporate Identity Development
– Sales and Marketing Print Collateral
– Interactive Media
– Advertising (Print and Online)
– Direct Mail
– Environmental and Exhibit Graphics

Matthew Brett
Owner, Creative Director

Matthew founded Substance in 2005 on a chilly autumn morning, sipping coffee in Barcelona on the steps of the Miro museum. The basic philosophy was simple. Create enduring visual communication based on a strong conceptual direction, stripped of artifice and stylistic “of the moment” gimmicks or trappings.

Matthew began his professional graphic design career in 1992 producing corporate branding programs, print collateral, and interactive design. His work has been recognized by such publications as Communication Arts, Print Regional Design Annual, Creativity, Graphic Design:USA, UnderConsideration and The One Show. Matthew received his BFA in Graphic Design from Kent State University and began his professional design career in 1992. He has been a guest lecturer and design critic at the University of Notre Dame and Columbia College of Chicago.

Alyssa Conrardy
Co-Founder and President, Prosper Strategies
As the president and co-founder of Prosper Strategies, Alyssa Conrardy is on a mission to help nonprofits realize the full potential of marketing so that the nonprofit sector can realize its full potential to change the world.  Alyssa is recognized as an expert by nonprofits across the country thanks to her ability to craft and lead marketing and communication programs that advance nonprofit missions and drive social change.

She has a strong focus on helping nonprofits integrate marketing into every aspect of their strategic plans and on utilizing research and data to inform campaign strategy. Thanks to her background in journalism, she is also highly skilled at weaving together traditional and digital communications, storytelling and data.

Alyssa is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin School of Journalism and Mass Communications, where she earned a degree in Journalism & Strategic Communications with a concentration in Cause Marketing.

Lindsay Mullen
Co-Founder and CEO, Prosper Strategies
Lindsay Mullen is co-founder and CEO of Prosper Strategies, the leading marketing consultancy for nonprofits, where she brings strategic vision and a growth mindset to the firm, its clients and their missions.

For more than a decade, Lindsay has worked with leading nonprofits and foundations that are committed to solving some of our country’s and the world’s greatest challenges in the areas of education, healthcare, homelessness, workforce development, social services and more. She is passionate about working with organizations to redefine and reimagine their brands, marketing strategies and messaging, so they become powerful tools that drive mission impact.

Lindsay spearheads the creation of transformative communications strategies for Prosper clients. She’s skilled at carefully crafting messaging designed to incite action among varied and unique target audiences and has done this for organizations including Teamwork Englewood, the Momentous Institute and the Great Books Foundation. She also helps nonprofits navigate complex communications challenges. For example, she worked with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to support communications strategies related to the lease of the architect’s archives and collections to the Museum of Modern Art.

Prior to starting Prosper Strategies, Lindsay worked in public affairs at Chicago-based Resolute Consulting, and in public relations at Washington, DC-based Susan Davis International. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin School of Journalism and Mass Communications.