Founder + Creative Director

Joe Grossmann


Joe is a strategist, a writer, and a designer. Jell represents the convergence of his interests and experiences — a branding firm driven by research and analysis, grounded in real-world business, and informed by decades of technology exploration. 

Joe is passionate about his clients, his staff, discovering new things and sharing them with others, and contributing to the greater good. He believes that everything happens for a reason and that all human behavior, no matter how odd or unpleasant, makes perfect sense. Our primary job as communicators is to watch, listen, and learn.

Ancient History

In the ’90s, Joe authored three books and numerous magazine articles on digital design and was the Senior Editor and Art Director of Digital Chicago and Digital New York magazines. He has worked over 27 years as a graphic designer, marketing consultant, and technology consultant.

In the early 1980s, he co-founded a software company, Enabling Technologies, that published a series of groundbreaking graphic programs for the nascent Mac and Windows markets. 

Before turning to technology, marketing, and design, Joe studied and conducted research at The University of Chicago (B.A. and A.B.D.) under the guidance of Israel Goldiamond, with publications in both behavioral research and auditory neurophysiology.

  • free-form

  • persist • learn • umami • content • economy • constructional approach

  • food

  • al pastor • yebeg wat • panko • tortilla soup • galbi • risotto

  • music

  • In C • Einstein on the Beach • Freddie Freeloader • Rise • Sunday Morning • Redemption Song • Gymnopédies • Flash Light • Discreet Music

  • books

  • 420 Characters • Studs Terkel’s Chicago • A Scanner Darkly • Asterios Polyp • True Believers • After Dark • Tender as Hellfire • Wilson • Kafka on the Shore • Freedom • Gentlemen of the Road • American Tabloid • The Hummingbird’s Daughter • A Conspiracy of Paper • Werewolves in Their Youth • What is the What • Dark Star Safari • The Boat

  • periodicals

  • Wall Street Journal • New York Times • The Chronicle of Philanthropy • Fast Company • Crain’s Chicago Business

  • casts

  • On the Media • Freakonomics Radio • Under the Influence • Marketplace • TechCrunch • Frontline • Check Please! • WLUW • CBS Sunday Morning

  • creatives

  • Miles Davis • Philip Glass • Chuck Close • Third Coast Percussion • Kurosawa • Amadou & Mariam • Charlie Harper • Banksy • David Lynch • Carter Family • David Byrne • Bibi Tanga & The Selenites • Milton Glaser • Max Richter • Ólafur Arnalds • Nils Frahm