Dan Tello ’07 designed and implemented the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website, “You Are Here.” A site where kids learn about advertising techniques, target marketing, business competition, and more. Photo courtesy of "You Are Here" web site.
by Cheryl Brugel—Cedarville, Ohio
October 7, 2009
Want to teach your children to be smart consumers? Then check out the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website titled “You Are Here,” which was recently designed and implemented by Cedarville University graduate Dan Tello ’07. At this site, kids learn about advertising techniques, target marketing, business competition, and more — all from a fun, interactive trip through a virtual mall. Much of its appeal is thanks to Tello’s creativity. He did such a good job, in fact, that the website recently received an American Graphic Design Award of Excellence from Graphic Design USA magazine. This design competition is one of the largest in the country, recognizing only 15 percent of the more than 8,000 entries.
Tello’s interest in design began much earlier. In elementary school, he loved art and drawing. And in high school, he enjoyed putting together websites to illustrate events in his life. Initially, Tello entered Cedarville intending to focus on video production as an electronic media major, but soon switched to graphic design.
“That’s where I found my niche,” Tello said. “I became part of a tight-knit community where I could increase my knowledge of design, develop my artistic talents, and be sharpened by others with similar goals and passions.”
He credits his Cedarville professors for giving him a solid foundation in art and design, allowing him to quickly land his current job. In fact, two weeks after graduating, Tello was hired by JDG Communications — now Sage Communications — in Vienna, Virginia. It was there he was assigned the FTC website project.
The FTC had contracted with Sage to design an educational website for kids ages 8 to 16. Although Sage had started working on the project, Tello’s boss hoped his new employee would have the insight and creativity to tackle the job. In the fall of 2007, Tello presented his concept for the site to the FTC, which chose his from among several other designs. He then spent the next two years working tirelessly to bring his idea to life.
“Working on this website has been the opportunity to put into practice everything I have ever done in my life,” he says, “from doodling in class when I should have been taking notes to working on youth group skits as a counselor at summer camp.”
You Are Here
When you visit the site, you will meet Isaac and Emily. These characters lead you through a virtual mall of interactive games meant to teach the next generation of consumers. You will also hear Tello, as he voiced several of the characters, including Isaac. Besides illustrating everything on the site, Tello wrote 80 percent of the script, directed the recordings, and coached the readers. Plus, he rigged all of his illustrated characters for animation, directed the scenes, and even animated select scenes. But although his “fingerprint” can be seen all over the sight, he worked closely with his colleagues throughout the project.
“The entire site was programmed and assembled by Sage’s resident genius, Jim McIntyre,” Tello admits, “and all of the ‘good animations’ were done by freelance animator Rachel Anchors.”
The FTC plans to introduce the website to children in public schools and libraries this fall.
With his work for this project complete, Tello has turned his attention to other clients. He plans to design and submit a logo for the renamed Washington D.C. Jazz Festival and is working on a website for the General Services Administration. Though he’s had a pretty impressive start as a graphic designer, Tello’s desire is still pretty basic: to be a good example of Christ through his work — a passion that was reinforced during his time at Cedarville.
Tello and his wife of two years, Rebekah (Nettekoven)’06, are busy moving into their first home, juggling work and Rebekah’s graduate classes, and finding time to relax and enjoy life with friends, family, and each other. While he dreams of someday starting his own design firm with a couple of close friends, Tello admits that, for now, he’s thankful for the many opportunities God has given him to use his talents in art and design.
Department of Art and Design