XXIX1 was never founded, it happened; it grew out of a collaboration that started in 2013 in New York City. We finally admitted we were a real business in 2015 when we had to sign the lease on our own office.
‘Twenty Nine’ – we came up with a system based on milestone career years (or, according to Jacob, because work should feel like being 29 forever).
It occurred to us that, for all the time designers spend re-thinking other industries, we hadn’t really looked at our own as critically. So, like many young people starting out on their own, we set out to do things a little differently2.
And, also like many young people, thought we knew everything.
That worked great for a while – our studio grew, our projects got better, our work was fun, and we began to realize that we had to take more responsibility for our work. That meant being more proactive about the well-being of our team, more transparent about how our business was run, more selective about the projects we worked on, and more thoughtful about our contribution to community and environment.
We saw our friends at Sanctuary Computer thinking about a lot of the same things. We’ve always felt that technology and design should work together as a single unit so in 2019 we formalized our long-time collaboration to become ‘sister studios’.
But still calling NYC home.
And hopefully those around us.
WHAT WE DO
XXIX is a design studio based mostly in New York City and Berlin. We’re a small team that helps people turn ideas into things.
Often those things are brands, products, and experiences (online & IRL) but we’ve also made data visualizations about prison reform, helped big tech companies improve their meeting culture, launched typefaces for global corporations, and very nearly put a giant pizza mural on Sunset Blvd.
We partner with people who are interested in new ways of doing things and are obsessive about quality. We’re as likely to work with first-time founders as with large teams, with artists as startups, to write code as we are to make a poster, to be as concerned about photography as usability. We like variety and new challenges. Our focus, then, is on answering briefs with unique and meaningful solutions.
Conceptually, @telier is an experiment in the relationship between place and practice. Practically, it’s a place for designers (and others) to exchange workspaces. Started as an experiment in 2013 when our studio was split between two cities, it has evolved into a network of people curious in similar ideas.
Sanctuary Computer is our sister studio, with deep expertise in web, app, and hardware development. Our motto is ‘loosely coupled, highly aligned’, combining the agility and specialization of small independent studios with the competencies of a larger team.
Thirty One (XXXI) was a mixed-use space for the (design) community in Manhattan’s East Village. Between 2015-2020, it was home to a shared studio space for XXIX and a group of friends, a design residency, a space for exhibitions, classes, and events, and graphic design store.
(We will be re-opening in a new location(s) as soon as we’re safely able.)
2.2g of CO2
That’s how much carbion dioxide is produced every time someone visits this site*. At ~1,000 pageviews per month, that’s about the amount of carbon 2 trees absorb in a year. You can read our sustainability report to see what we’re doing about our emissions, starting with offsetting all our carbon for 2020 and including:
→ Switching to using a 100% Green Host (Azure, Google Cloud, or an Equinix based provider).
→ Progressively offsetting our whole existence before the end of 2020.
→ Offering a bonus vacation day if an employee takes the train to and from their destination.
→ Breaking out book keeping categories for Secondary Carbon Footprint, to make that math easier in the future.
We’re also helping our clients reduce their own footprints:
→ Offering an innovators discount (10% off our standard pricing) for entrepreneurs working in sustainable farming, renewable energy, ocean cleanup, and other such industries.
→ Including sustainability in our rubric for taking on new clients, so that we can go into new client engagements after vetting their impact.
→ Helping founders introduce sustainability into their launch and marketing strategies.
→ Offering consultancy services in this space to clients and interested parties.
→ Offering to conduct LCA studies for clients with physical products.
On the side of our real work, we made Small Victories. It takes the files on your computer and turns them into websites. We felt like it should be easier for people to make their own websites and self-publish their content online. People (including us) use it for everything from proposals, to interactive brand guidelines, to travel photos, to campaign landing pages.
This is the second version of this website. We launched the first version in 2016 as a ‘temporary’ website but it turned out that we liked it – probably because it doesn’t feel like other websites. It turns out that other people like that as well, so in 2020 we decided to revisit the concept but improve pretty much everything else.
It’s not perfect and never will be. We designed it so it could be updated frequently without being precious about it. It represents some of the ways we think about design and technology: iterate, experiment, be brave, have an opinion, explore, go slow, be authentic. If you don’t assume your audience is dumb it’s okay to ask a little more of them.
Designed by Jake, Jacob, Maria, and Flick.
Built with our friends from Sanctu Compu.
The typefaces are Replica, Times New Roman, and a WIP version of our own custom typeface
We’ve archived the v1 site, built by Michael.