We Make Ideas a Reality

We help great clients realize great ideas. Custom Designs & Solutions + App Development + Virtual Reality.

Rooted in design and energized by digital, Design Center is focused on creating solutions to streamline your business and spark conversations.

Design Center take visionary ideas from well-conceived concepts to polished communication tools. We pair conceptual thinking with technical expertise and insights to create highly engaging solutions for every user.

Our thoughtful craftsmanship makes them engaging. Our programming expertise makes them powerful.

 
$10,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
1969
Show all +
Saint Paul, MN
headquarters
  • 2040 Saint Clair Ave.
    Saint Paul, MN 55105
    United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 
  • 3M
  • Accenture
  • Andersen Windows
  • Aramark
  • BASF
  • Ecolab
  • Ecowater
  • Epsilon
  • Häagen Dazs
  • The Home Depot
  • Nestlé
  • Renewal by Andersen
  • Uni-Sysems
  • University of Minnesota
  • Uponor
  • Valspar
  • Wagner

Reviews

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Web Development for Automotive Refinish Coatings Company

“Despite the complex nature of our requirements, they've managed to create user-friendly, modern and clean websites.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Mar. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Design Center redesigned and developed two websites from scratch on WordPress, incorporating custom features. They continue to maintain and add to the sites as needed.

The Reviewer
 
100,000+ Employees
 
Detroit, Michigan
Jill Schumacher
Marketing Specialist, BASF
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Design Center created user-friendly, modern websites that have increased overall customer satisfaction as well as internal productivity. Highly responsive and proactive in their approach, working with their team is seamless. They listen closely and provide customized, effective solutions. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm a marketing specialist within the automotive refinish division at BASF, a German chemical company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Design Center?

Our websites were outdated and not user-friendly, so I was looking for a vendor to rebuild them from scratch. Users were having difficulty accessing the information they needed, including legal information, painting procedures, and other technical topics—it was a big problem for us.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Design Center designed and developed both our public-facing website and administrative site used for customers and staff. They met with us to go over our business, goals, and requirements initially and then built the sites on WordPress, incorporating custom features as needed. Currently, they've transitioned into a support role and maintain the sites.

What is the team composition?

We work with a couple of designers and developers as well as a project manager. Throughout various stages of the project, we've worked with around 10 people on their team in total.

How did you come to work with Design Center?

They had previously done some work for another division within BASF, and we were very happy with their deliverables. We also liked that they didn't outsource any of their team members.

How much have you invested with them?

We've spent over $100,000 between the two websites.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in January 2016, and they continue to maintain and add features to the site as needed.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We've received tremendously positive feedback from both our internal team as well as our customers. They've made it much easier for users to access critical information within our highly competitive industry, which has significantly increased customer satisfaction.

The simplicity of the sites has also helped our internal teams perform their jobs better. Despite the complex nature of our requirements, they've managed to create clean and modern user-friendly websites.

How did Design Center perform from a project management standpoint?

They're easy to communicate with and are prompt and accessible. While they provide helpful feedback as needed, they don't try to force any services or their own agenda on us. Our project manager is very organized and proactive, responding to emails and setting up calls as needed quickly.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They're very good at taking the time to understand our business in order to develop tailored solutions. They don't apply a cookie-cutter approach to each client.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I can't think of anything. They've been a godsend for our division.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Mobile App Dev for Food & Facilities Services Company

“They really understand our business, which was a huge help.”

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Oct. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Design Center, Inc. provided mobile application development services, building a product information application for iPads.

The Reviewer
 
10,000+
 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Sales Manager, Food & Facilities Services Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The application was completed quickly, professionally, and to a high standard, with all updates implemented effectively and the template providing a solid backdrop for future development. They are a transparent and streamlined team that is also personable and easy to work with.  

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am a sales strategy manager of a food and facilities services company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Design Center, Inc.?

We needed help with mobile application development.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The app is a tool for our sales team so that they can quickly access all the materials that we have available to them. It creates a more streamlined, customer-friendly way to present the different things that we have available. For example, within the app, there are videos and brochures that showcase all of our equipment. It is essentially like having an interactive brochure at your fingertips. The app was developed for iPads only; our sales team cannot access it via a laptop or iPhone.

What is the team composition?

I work with two people, including a project manager.

How did you come to work with Design Center, Inc.?

I'm not sure what the process was to determine which company we would go with.

How much have you invested in them?

We spend around $30,000 per year.

What is the status of this engagement?

We began working with them in October 2016 and the work is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

The app functions well and we have a really solid template in place. If I send them an update, there’s not a lot of back and forth, which keeps things moving quickly.

Up until a few months ago, we weren’t able to do much when it comes to analytics. However, they recently told me that they have worked with Google Analytics to obtain our data, which is great.

How did Design Center, Inc. perform from a project management standpoint?

It’s a pretty streamlined process. I submit my request, which might be four different ad hoc projects. They will break down the cost and are very transparent about how many hours they will take, as well as the scope of the project.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They really understand our business, which was a huge help. They’re great people to work with and that counts for a lot.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Nothing that comes to mind except for the data aspect. They’re pretty straightforward.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Sometimes there is a bit of a delay in getting back to me with the estimate in terms of timing, but usually they are pretty fast.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    The annual fee is reasonable, but a lot of the updates are ad hoc costs, which are sometimes a little higher than I would expect.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    They’re a great partner.

Sales App Dev for Window and Door Manufacturer

“They excel at understanding our business and challenges and then coming to a swift, novel solution.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$1,000,000 - $9,999,999
 
2012 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Design Center developed an application in Objective-C for iOS. This demonstration tool allows sales representatives to always have the most current information and presentations. The relationship is ongoing.

The Reviewer
 
2000 - 5000 Employees
 
Bayport, MN
Product Manager, Window and Door Manufacturer
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Design Center’s work has resulted in reduced costs for printed materials and training and increased professionalism of presentations. The tool they developed enhances communications and new product awareness. The team impresses with their innovative solutions and commitment.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am a senior product manager of a window and door manufacturer. We provide full-service window replacement. We target and cater to the do-it-for-me segment that is looking to replace their windows and patio doors.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Design Center, Inc.?

Originally, we needed help creating a more professional look for in-home presentations by our sales reps. They were using a variety of sales content via laptop, old three-ring binders, or traditional print material.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We wanted to create something that aggregated all of our content and allowed us to push updates out to the sales representatives. Also, we wanted to create professional differentiation with a polished, nice-looking sales tool. I believe they used Objective-C for iOS.

What is the team composition?

We interacted with a project manager and had conference calls with some of the programmers every once in a while. Lead programmers and the head of programming participated occasionally to oversee things.

How did you come to work with Design Center, Inc.?

We were referred to them by our parent company who had worked with them.

How much have you invested in them?

We have spent over $1 million over the years.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in 2012 and the relationship is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We started on one project with them which spawned subsequent projects that continually got bigger because we were happy with the service and product they were delivering to us.

We have seen in an increase of professionalism in the home presentations and a decrease in sales rep training. We have also seen reductions in cost and the need for print material.

Communication and awareness of new product offerings are quicker and more effective. We now have a more direct pipeline to the sales reps, whereas, in the past, we had to rely on various intermediaries to take the information we provided to them and then cascade it down to the sales reps.

How did Design Center, Inc. perform from a project management standpoint?

The delivery was good based on what we were asking them to do. They really excel at understanding our business and challenges and then coming to a swift, novel solution. That creative iteration and discovery sometimes resulted in a timeline being pushed out but also strengthened the product that we deliver.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I was always impressed with the quality of the product. Their ability to empathize and come up with effective solutions that we hadn’t thought of is their strength and something that has been very impressive to us. They are dedicated to our partnership, which has also been very helpful to us.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, I don’t have any suggestions in that area.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

I highly recommend Design Center for companies that are trying to move away from traditional modes of business and innovate as well as differentiate themselves from their industry.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I have already recommended them.

Training and Operations App Development for Häagen Dazs

“Their focus on design sets them apart.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
May 2012 - Sept. 2013
Project summary: 

Design Center developed an app that facilitates training and manages franchise operations. The app has news, assessment, and interactive learning functionalities and is available via iPad and Android devices.

The Reviewer
 
2000 - 5000 Employees
 
Minneapolis, Minnesotta
Eileen Otoole
Manager of Training and Operations, Häagen Dazs
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The app has increased franchise engagement by 15%, usership by 12%, and employee engagement by 100%. Design Center was communicative and prompt, all while ensuring a seamless design and software integration. Their preliminary research into the business model is fundamental to future development.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the manager of training and operations of Häagen-Dazs shops in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which is a subsidiary of Nestlé USA.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Design Center?

We’d identified an engagement problem many years ago with our franchisees and frontline staff. Our training platform that provides everything a person needs to know to work in and run a Häagen-Dazs shop was also outdated.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Design Center developed the tool we use to reach our 210 shops and over 2,000 employees on a daily basis. Parts of the platform were developed for PC, but most of it is app-based. Users are able to access the app via iPad or Android devices.

They integrated a lot of interactive learning functionalities for us, including hands-on graphics, video, and assessments. They also developed a news functionality that operates similarly to Facebook. It’s completely within our control and directed at our internal customers.

The technology is simple from the user’s perspective. We've kept in mind that the technology we're developing is for people between 16–75 years of age. Design Center has had a very good understanding of this as well.

What is the team composition?

We’ve worked with around 10 resources from their side, including project managers, designers, and developers. Depending on our project, I sometimes meet with their designers and tech people.

How did you come to work with Design Center?

I made a crowdsourcing Facebook post and received a number of replies. Working with a local partner was important for me. I interviewed a number of developers knowing that technology was a big opportunity for us.

Design Center was definitely the most well-equipped group to tackle the project, especially considering that it would be a long-term collaboration. We wanted to continue developing and enhancing the platform over many years. Their capability to do this was a big deal.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in May 2012. We launched the platform in September 2014 and have since used them for app support and maintenance.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We survey our franchisees every two years through a third party’s company. One of the things they measure is franchise engagement, which tells us a lot about the health of our business. Our engagement score went up by 15% over the last two years, which is an enormous jump for this industry. The result is directly related to the communication we provided through the app.

Usership has increased by 12% in 2017, and we’ve had close to a 100% increase in frontline engagement (i.e., people working behind the counter).

The best thing is that Design Center helped build the analytic functionalities that are allowing us to gauge this usage and how it compares to sales, franchisee engagement, etc. We’ve seen a marked improvement in how our system runs. I attribute a lot of this to the app.

How did Design Center perform from a project management standpoint?

I don’t have a lot of visibility into the process because they handle this aspect internally. We do have deadlines and weekly calls. They have a lot of systems in place and haven’t miss any deadlines. They also have excellent communication. If we encounter a bug, they take care of it right away.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their focus on design sets them apart. This addresses what a product looks and feels like, as well as how people will use it. Design Center also works tightly with the technology part in order to make the software work well. They have a great team.

When we kicked off the project five years ago, one of the main designers and key people within their firm went out to one of our shops and talked with us for 3–4 hours about the business. He looked at our flow, talked to people behind the counter, and looked at the issue from a customer’s perspective. This preliminary work helped them get a headstart on understanding our needs and has been the basis for how we develop the app going forward.

Are there any areas they could improve?

We’ve noticed that they’re growing, but it hasn’t impacted the work. I know that Design Center has gone through periods of being very busy, and I sometimes wonder if this affects other clients’ project management.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

App Development for Chemical Production Company

“Their design team is very gifted.”

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
2014 - Oct. 2015
Project summary: 

Design Center developed a standalone iPad application for sales representatives to show materials to customers. The platform has since been migrated to Windows.

The Reviewer
 
10,000+
 
Detroit
Sales and Business Development, Chemical Production Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Design Center’s end product has enabled the sales team to strengthen their presentations. A responsive approach made them feel more like an extension to the internal team rather than an outsourced vendor. They also applied an impressive level of customization to meet the client’s business needs.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We’re a chemical production company. I’m part of the sales organization that sells to automotive.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Design Center?

Our remote sales force would often find themselves without adequate Wi-Fi access when visiting a client. We needed to eliminate this problem to be able to showcase our products or applications to customers.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Design Center helped us develop a standalone app for the iPad. When a sales rep is at a plant, they can quickly and easily get to their book of assets and show materials to customers. It was completed and deployed in October 2015, but has since been migrated to Windows.

What is the team composition?

We’ve had a number of people come in and out over the course of four years. There’s a core team of 6–8 people that consists of developers, designers, and a project manager. Most of my interaction is with the project management team.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in 2014, and the project ended in October 2015. We’ve continued to make enhancements to it.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

The result was a very high quality, professional asset that our sales people are able to utilize to really strengthen their presentations.

How did Design Center perform from a project management standpoint?

They have project management tools that they used. I didn’t have visibility into their processes. There were declines and regrowths as there are with any project. We weren’t always timely in providing data to them. If we had any gaps in our project schedule, it was due to our lack of expediency.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their design team is very gifted. They are very responsive to our needs. We feel as if they’re an extension of our company because we don’t have that internal expertise. They respond to us if we reach out to them. They didn’t just take something off the shelf and change the logo. They built a custom solution specifically for us. We like that level of customization.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Have a clearly defined project map with timelines and checkpoints throughout. Getting things in writing helps keep projects on track.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve recommended them before.