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The Highland Story

Where we've come from and where we're headed

Highland | A digital experience agency

Highland was established in 1999 by Brian Sutherland, who got together with some friends around his dining room table to provide technology solutions to small businesses and community organizations. His vision was to build a small company that employed people who cared about one another and did meaningful work.

Throughout our history, Highland has been committed to honoring the whole person. We’re an organization that recognizes and develops people who are motivated, live with integrity, and share our core mission of working for the good of other people.

Today, Highland is a digital experience agency. We help mission-driven companies research, design, and build digital products and experiences that help people flourish.

Our purpose is to make a measurable impact on human flourishing in the world. We believe that what we make and how we work should make it a little bit better to be alive: for us, our clients, and their customers. 

We believe “mission-driven” expands beyond the nonprofit sector. With experience as our guide, we’re focused on working in the sectors of physical and mental health, financial wellbeing, and community engagement. We honor ourselves and our clients by being diligent in our pursuit of work that truly matters. 

Who we are is what sets us apart. We’re from intentionally diverse backgrounds and previous careers. When people work with us, they notice how we create space to be present, calm, and focused. How we work isn’t magic: we create small, skilled, empowered teams that work hand-in-hand with our clients, guiding them through our proven processes and teaching along the way. The way we work and the results we produce can’t be copied, because it comes not just from our process but out of who we are.

We’re distinctly Chicagoan and believe in work that hits close to home. We honor our big shoulders and Midwestern roots by staying humble, working hard, and saying hi to our neighbors. We don’t aspire to be slick or trendy. And we aren’t enamored with the capitalist dream. There’s a good way for people to be, and that’s more important to us than wealth and profit.

We are creatives and makers. We’re honest, vulnerable, and kind. We hold creativity and exploration in balance with discipline and focus. We are not satisfied when we design something wonderful; we are satisfied when it exists in the world. 

We’re committed to Highland as a place for human flourishing in our corner of the world, and keeping it that way for decades to come.