A Year of Beginnings


Once upon a time—specifically, almost a year ago, in winter 2014—we had the idea for an educational framework that utilized the power of storytelling to help teach communication skills to children. A year later, Li’l Stories is being used by educators at several schools around the country. As 2016 begins, we would like to thank everyone who supported the project and helped make it a reality, especially those who backed our Kickstarter campaign, which exceeded its goal and was successfully funded at an incredible 143 percent! Your support has allowed Li’l Stories to reach thousands of students, giving them the opportunity to start the beginnings of their own narratives—as storytellers and lifelong communicators. Read More

Connecting a Community With Design

Image of the Red Hook Fest, June 2014

Introducing The Hub at the Red Hook Fest, June 16, 2014.

When Hurricane Sandy hit New York City in October 2012, the waterfront neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn, was largely unprepared for the storm’s fury. The physical vulnerability of the area was matched by a fragile system of communication that left many residents wondering what to do, both during and after the disaster.

The Hub is a new communication system that will make sure Red Hook stays informed about future emergencies—and everything else that’s going on in the neighborhood, one of New York’s most exciting places to live, work and visit. Working with AIGA/NY’s Design/Relief initiative, Li’l Robin developed the project as part of a team that includes the design studio MGMT. design, the non-profit strategists Amplifier Project, and the communications specialist David Al-Ibrahim.

Red Hook is particularly close to our hearts: Li’l Robin founder Anke Stohlmann lives in the adjacent neighborhood of Carroll Gardens, and has seen first-hand the effect Sandy has had on the community.

Read More

The Graphic Designer-Entrepreneur

In addition to commissioned work, many graphic designers are now creating self-initiated projects that allow them to extend their practice in new ways. We recently launched our first product, Li’l Stories, a series of cards that provide storytelling ideas for parents. In this post we take a look at other designer-entrepreneurs who have taken on a new kind of client—themselves.

If designers have one thing in common, it’s the desire to make things. This is usually engaged for an external client, but many graphic designers have been scratching the creative itch by becoming entrepreneurs themselves, launching their own product lines and authoring their own projects. The online space has helped enable this, offering an easy platform for direct sales and distribution. For most designers, the impetus for these new ventures seems to be less about developing a new profit center for their businesses—though that is certainly a possibility for some of the most successful—and more about designing something solely guided by their own vision.

Read More

Publishing as a Group Activity

Illustrations from Li'l Stories

We recently used Kickstarter to successfully launch our project Li’l Stories, and we’d like to share our own story of how the crowdfunding platform became an important part of our design process—and how it may point the way to a new kind of publishing.

Like many designers, we’ve dreamed up ideas for more projects than we know what to do with—products that were never realized because we had no idea of how we could find the funding to get them off the ground. Kickstarter is a remarkable crowdsourcing platform that helps you find backers for your creative projects. Along the way it helps you shape the marketing for your product, as well as your plans for fabrication and distribution. Best of all, it allows you to get to know the people who back your project—your potential customers—who become an important part of the process and have a rooting interest in your project’s success.

Read More

Introducing Li’l Stories

Li'l Stories cards

In addition to our client work, we often come up with ideas for personal projects that we’d like to pursue and develop. This month we’re pleased to announce our first Kickstarter project, developed in collaboration by Li’l Robin’s Anke Stohlmann and her husband Richard Baker, and inspired by their daughter, Luna.

Luna loves stories, and when she was younger Anke and Richard told them to her all the time—in the morning, on the train, over dinner, at bedtime. But sometimes they found it challenging to tell a captivating story on the spot—coming up with a funny, mysterious or whimsical plot on demand is hard. (Luna may be Anke’s toughest client.)

Thus we’ve created Li’l Stories, a series of cards that stack the deck, so to speak, with elements—characters, locations, and objects—for the start of a good story. The cards are tools for parents to help make storytelling a little easier and a lot more fun. We’re launching the project via Kickstarter, and our supporters will be able to contribute their own ideas for cards in the series.

Read More