"SHSI Certificate of Recognition"
"Best on the Web"

Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
Jump to navigationJump to search

DESIGN MILL. A software and technology firm, Design Mill relocated most of its operations from Elizabeth, Illinois to Dubuque in 2013. The company created mobile applications, 3-D modeling and electronic education for businesses and government clients.

In 2013 the company was selected by Google, a major computer software manufacturer, to participate in its Explore Program. Companies chosen to participate applied for the right to purchase Google Glass, an interactive eyewear not yet on the market, and then experiment with it and develop applications which would be provided to Google as feedback. (1)

In 2014 the company's latest app, Insite, allowed users using augmented reality to pull up digital information like photographs, videos and illustrations when the app recognized the image or object. An example would be a user holding their smartphone or tablet over a real estate print enabled with Insite and having the ability to have a virtual tour of the house. During the JULIEN DUBUQUE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL that year, users could scan the festival's poster and access trailers to watch. (2)

In 2015 and again in 2016 Design Mill was named the Top Innovator from Intel Software Innovator Program. The award was presented in 2016 for the company's work on the Torch Interpretive Projector and its continued focus on augmented reality in gaming and other uses. (3) Based in the Millwork District, the company in 2016 had offices in Dubuque; Quantico, Virginia, and Charleston, South Carolina.

In 2016 the U. S. Marine Corps Systems Command was a core client. In May of that year, the company joined Boeing Daqri, Deere & Company, and Iowa State and Purdue universities in a project to create augmented-reality work instructions using advanced image processing. The company also released a development kit allowing community members to create their own interactive tabletop and sandbox games and applications using its interpretive projector. (4)

In 2017 Design Mill presented at the second annual Technori Dubuque Event. Technori was an organization that held shartup showcases around the nation to help new tech businesses promote and exhibit products to potential investors. Design Mill presented a new virtual reality platform called Precision Reality allowing companies to manage assets in real time. (5)



1. Murphy, Erin. "Local Design Firm Tapped by Google," Telegraph Herald, December 6, 2013, p. 1

2. Yager, Alicia. "What's Behind the Image," Telegraph Herald, June 8, 2014, p 26

3. Barton, Thomas J. "Innovation Sensation," Telegraph Herald, December 31, 2016, p. 1

4. Ibid.

5. Rezab, Matthew. "Tech Startup Event Makes Connections," Telegraph Herald, May 26, 2017, p. 3