Who we are. Our culture. Our people.
Learn what makes us tick.



CIULLA is a full-service branding and design agency providing a comprehensive array of strategic and creative design solutions for our clients. We are comprised of highly experienced design and marketing professionals who apply a deep knowledge of markets, consumer behavior, trends and design to achieve remarkable results.


Comes big ideas. We work in a lakefront city with a rich artistic heritage, vibrant neighborhoods, groundbreaking architecture and a 'make-it-happen' work ethic. It inspires our wide-angle perspective and sparks our creativity. We speak plainly and to the point. We're practical. Innovative. And passionate about what we do.



Smart, creative, passionate, collaborative, optimistic, accomplished and driven to achieve the best. CIULLA people are skilled strategists, managers and design professionals who contribute the perfect mix of skill-sets, experience and personalities that drive our vibrant culture.


We combine the resources, skill sets, portfolio and global reach of a larger agency together with the agility, close client interaction and extensive principal participation of a smaller design boutique.

Not too big. Not too small. We're just right.


Sam J. Ciulla
CEO, Executive Creative Director


Chris Ciulla
Account Director & Brand Strategist



Sam J. Ciulla
CEO, Executive Creative Director

As a designer, brand strategist and industry thought leader, Sam has been a prominent figure and recognized member of the CPG brand design community. Throughout his career he has held Director roles in three well respected firms in Chicago, the last being the Managing Director of Creative at Lipson, Alport, Glass and Associates with offices in Chicago, Cincinnati and NYC.

In 2005 he left LAGA to start his own firm, CIULLA ASSOC by acquiring MLR Design in Chicago. Sam has been a prominent speaker at industry events, written up in many industry journals and recognized with his staff for numerous design awards from; Clio, LIAA, Mobius, DIELINE, Pentawards, Communication Arts, GD-USA, BXP, PAC. 

He has had the fortune of working with many of the world’s most iconic brands such as: The Coca-Cola Company, P&G, Kraft Foods, General Mills, Nestle, ConAgra, Unilever, Wrigley, Campbell’s, The J. M. Smucker Company, Henkel/Dial, Colgate-Palmolive, Tom’s of Maine, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, PetSmart. Throughout his career he has hired and mentored dozens of people and is very well respected in the design industry. 


Luis Izaguirre
Design Director, The Mentor

I grew up in a south suburb of Chicago, where my parents, from Mexico, immigrated in the early 1960’s. Thanks to their selfless hard work and insistence to better our family through education, I was able to pursue a career in the arts. I chose to be a graphic designer in part to ease the worries of my mom, who had visions that I would end up as the proverbial starving artist, and because design appealed to the analytical, logical part of my brain.

My career began when pencils, markers and T-squares when the primary tools of the trade. At my first job, I distinctly remember being shown the computer room, which contained this small clunky gray box that “great things were expected of.” I have seen that if there is one constant, it is change. With my experience, I have developed a unique ability to adapt to and to lead change in our ever-evolving design process. My eye for detail, calm demeanor and professional manner have made me a valuable team member and provided me the opportunity to work with some of the largest most successful companies worldwide.

My professional career is only part of what defines me. I have had the good fortune to marry the woman of my dreams, ran the Chicago Marathon, saw the White Sox win the World Series, and become a proud parent to my son Carlo, who has made me an expert in all things involving dinosaurs, model trains, sharks, natural disasters and of course Godzilla.

Chris Ciulla
Account Director & Brand Strategist

After an education in Business, with a focus in Marketing, Chris spent time in Europe and after a number of marketing positions, he dove head first into the agency world.

Chris has been responsible for overseeing client relationships including; Henkel/Dial, PepsiCo, Colgate-Palmolive, The J. M. Smucker Company, Nonni’s Foods, Petsmart, Constellation Brands, and many more. He is the liaison between clients and the design staff, translating project needs, business objectives and goals into strategic design-thinking and creative solutions.

Chris likes to challenge the team to think with a fresh perspective, create strong ties with our clients, and bring creative opportunities to CIULLA. Whether working with a Fortune 100 company or an emerging start-up, creative problem solving and helping clients get to a better place is why he loves the agency and the culture he has helped build.

KC Bauer
Director of Finance, Social Director

I am a Southern California native who grew up playing soccer, golf and spending time outdoors. After high school I packed my bags and moved to Switzerland. Soon, the real world called, so I made my way back to the U.S. and was college-bound. I started my college career with a focus on commercial interior design, however I soon realized I had a greater passion for people and public service and switched my path to Urban Studies & Planning. Many years later, my interest in finance set me on a path that lead straight to CIULLA ASSOC.

My role at CIULLA revolves around the day-to-day operations and financial forecasting.

When I’m is not at work, I volunteer time with the Make-A-Wish foundation, spend time traveling, meeting interesting people and eating great food!

Randy Toltzman
Production Director, In-House Bartender

Working with my dad in his woodworking shop are my fondest memories I have growing up. Learning at a young age how to begin projects with a creative approach, trying new ideas that give a unique product to the customer that reflect their ideas, personality and needs was always the goal. Keeping an eye on detail and design from start to finished piece was expected. The real reward was delivering the work and receiving a heart-felt thank you!

After high school I attended a university that offered a 4-year degree in industrial design and architectural model building. My education allowed me to work in Dallas and Chicago as an architectural model maker. I made the transition to graphic design as a production artist for MLR Design. I still find it rewarding today managing production art for clients, designers and printers.

When I’m not at the office I enjoy projects around the house and project homes. My wife and I have renovated two homes and our friends keep asking us when we are going to move into that third fixer upper. For now we are enjoying where we are and travel at home and abroad as much as possible to fill the need for adventure.

Tina Zenzola
Designer, Office Instagrammer

I grew up in Buffalo Grove, Illinois and stayed there until moving five and half hours away to attend Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. I spent five incredible years there developing my skills as a graphic designer in the tight knit but competitive graphic design program. During my time there, I was introduced to letterpress printing and fell in love. I’m the proud owner of a tiny press that I use every chance I get!

Outside of design, my favorite things in life are dogs, food, and wine. When I’m not in the office, I’m either binge watching the latest hit tv show or spending time with my friends and family.

Salman Ansari
IT Director, Guru

Born in Bhopal, India, I migrated to the United States about a quarter century ago. I did my Masters in Micro-Paleontology, but switched fields after being fascinated by the world of computer programming, and learned to program in several languages.

I have a unique distinction of having worked on every model of Apple computers, from Lisa to Apple II, and Apple soft Basic Programming to Desk Top Publishing, to DTV, remote access and to streaming. With more than 37 years of experience with computers and computing technologies, I have installed, developed, serviced, networked, and provided support on virtually every model of Apple Computers. Having a background where a multitude of regional languages are spoken and written, I was one of the leading developers who introduced and facilitated the use of more than 15 regional languages of the Indian subcontinent on computers.

I am an avid reader, a Poet of distinction in Urdu and Hindi Languages, and a short story writer. A collection of my first Poetry Book was published in 2013 and a compilation of my short stories, also in Urdu, are slated to be published in the last quarter of 2018. I have received numerous awards for creative writing and my work has been published in leading newspapers and magazines in the Indian subcontinent.

My hobbies include, music, camping, fishing, cooking, crafting, pottery and being an activist for women’s and LGBTQ rights. I am currently being trained in instrumental Indian classical Music on Sarod, a Stringed Instrument from India. I am proud to be associated with CIULLA for more than a decade and continue to support and enhance our IT strategy.

Samantha Click
Designer, Social Director

I'm a recent NIU grad. When I'm not designing, I love playing video games and hanging out with my dog, Bella.