Communication Design & Consulting Since 1999

Design that works.

Successful design serves both your audience and your business.

See the work   →

About Figureground

Figureground is the design studio & consultancy of Nick Zlonis. The Figureground philosophy is that design is not just a visual exercise, but a functional approach to problem-solving and achieving your organization’s goals.

For over 23 years, Figureground has developed successful design solutions for clients including 3M, Thomson Reuters and Larger design firms and marketing agencies frequently turn to Figureground for planning & executing their design projects. As a small business owner himself, Nick also understands the constraints and unique challenges smaller brands face.

About Nicholas Zlonis

Hi, I'm Nick. At the age of 10, I wrote my first line of code on the family’s Sinclair 1000 and have had an interest in programming and computer science ever since. I like to think that this technical passion combined with a formal education in design gives me unique insight combining critical design thinking and deep technical understanding. I enjoy using this insight for real world problem-solving.

Formal Education
M.S. Communication Design, Pratt Institute — 2000
New York, NY
B.A. Liberal Arts, Earlham College — 1996
Richmond, IN
Industry Experience
Principal, Figureground Incorporated — 1999–Present
New York, NY & Duluth, MN
Communication Designer, University of Minnesota Sea Grant — 2004–2006
Duluth, MN
Graphic Designer, The Blank Page — 1998–1999
New York, NY

About This Website


Solution Stack:
Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP
Client Side:
HTML5, CSS3, jQuery
Other Tools:
BBEdit, Firebug, Git, MAMP, SASS, Transmit
Content Management:
Media Temple (mt)


Proxima Nova
Proxima Nova
Web Fonts:

Why Hire Figureground?

Great question – I’m glad you asked.

Experience & Expertise

Technical know-how paired with business experience and visual design skills make Figureground a unique resource for building something valuable to both your brand and your audience.

Value & Efficiency

Each Figureground project is important to us. Avoid the bureaucracy and overhead of large design agencies with a small dedicated studio. Figureground offers more bang for your buck and a more agile, personal approach to your needs.

Passion, Honesty & Integrity

We love producing great work, and great work doesn't come by using cookie-cutter solutions or shortcuts. It is important to Figureground that we do things right, every step of the way. You can expect honest effort and genuine support when we build things together.

Business Information

Year of Incorporation
Founded 1999 — 23 years strong
City of Incorporation
New York, NY
Physical Location
Duluth, MN
United States Employer Identification Number

fig•ure–ground fɪgyər•graʊnd

noun — a property of perception in which there is a tendency to see parts of a visual field as solid, well-defined objects standing out against a less distinct background.