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The Independent Group (US) is a multidisciplinary design practice that collaborates with a diverse group of individuals, groups, organizations, and commercial clients to create distinctive work that establishes meaningful, lasting connections with their audiences. We are dedicated to forward-thinking initiatives that promote education, sustainability, and positive social impact.



Profile


The Independent Group has engaged social and civic issues since its inception, by designing projects that educate, inspire, and mobilize. Our policy-based work for non-profit organizations and municipalities transform cities and the overlapping systems that exist within them—social, political, technological, infrastructural.

We design with many organizations to create tools for civic education and engagement at local, national, and global scales. Issues include safe and sustainable transportation, equitable approaches to building and development, education, social justice, and culture.

We are an effective and impactful firm, because we learn our clients’ cultures, voices, and audiences, and we collaborate in teams to serve their goals. We have cultivated diverse skills through long-term and short-term professional engagements, and this allows us to work flexibly in many fields, from making editorial recommendations to leading design decisions, with an eye to long-range strategy and a capacity for rapid-response production.

We act as a translator for our clients in their fields, thinking with the literacy of a practitioner to communicate in images that enlarge and inspire the intended audience.

The impact of our design work is as strong as our collaborators. Our client engagements span many years, and we have built long-lasting relationships to engage topics dynamically as team needs evolve. We stay open-minded, actively listen, and provide feedback to collaborators that is strategic and actionable.

We work as part of your team—we explain our thinking, increase your capacity for communication strategies, present pertinent information, develop metrics to measure success, and manage outcomes suited to your goals.

We work tirelessly for causes we believe in, and the quality of our production and the energy of our work ethic inspire those around us.

Capabilities


BRANDING
Logotypes + Marks
Systems
Guidelines
Strategy + Positioning
Brand Voice
Illustration

COLLATERAL
Publication Design
Digital & Print Advertisements
Promotional Materials
Posters
Infographics
Presentations
Packaging
Signage & Wayfinding
Exhibition Design
Environmental Graphics

DIGITAL
User Experience Design
Interactive Design
Information Architecture
Social Media Content
Email Design
User Testing
Strategy and Evaluation

PHOTO + VIDEO
Motion Graphics
Videography & Photography
Photo Retouching
Script Writing
Concept Development




Principal


Isaac Gertman is designer, writer, educator, and typography enthusiast. He has experience in the strategic planning, design, and production of editorial and brand identity systems, websites, publications, printed ephemera, motion graphics, wayfinding systems, and exhibitions. In addition to providing creative and design direction to the clients of The Independent Group, he is Design Director of Terreform, an urban research and advocacy center that investigates the forms, policies, technologies, and practices that will yield equitable, sustainable, and beautiful cities for our urbanizing planet.

As a faculty member of the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), he teaches advanced courses in Graphic Design, Typography, Branding, and Publication Design. In 2014, he won the prestigious MICA Trustees Fellowship Award for Excellence in Teaching. He previously taught at Parsons, the New School for Design; City College of New York, in the Graduate Department of Landscape Architecture; and Rhode Island School of Design.

His work has been recognized by Advertising Age, American Institute of Graphic Arts, Center for Architecture, Society of Publication Designers, the American Society of Landscape Architects, and has been featured in numerous books and blogs. His writing has appeared in Print magazine, Step magazine, DesignBureau, and the design blog SpeakUp. Isaac has a BFA in graphic design and an MPS in user experience design from Maryland Institute College of Art, and an MFA in graphic design from Rhode Island School of Design.



Team


MacKenzie Schroeder is a multidisciplinary designer concentrated on brand development, art direction, and interactive collateral that promotes culture, beauty, and human connection. Her work is informed by thoughtful systems and a love of elegant typography. She holds a BFA in graphic design from the Maryland Institute College of Art and has been working with The Independent Group on select projects since 2016. Her talents also extend to drinking iced coffee, reading Wikipedia articles, and curating a killer playlist.



 


Alumni and Collaborators:
Soomin Cha
Jeremy Doan
Alice Engel
Iris Lee
Christian Perner
Jenny Rosenberg
Hieu Tran
Mike Tully
Amelia von Wolffersdorff



Select Clients


EQUITABLE AND SUSTAINABLE CITIES
ClimatePlan
Design Trust for Public Space
Institute for Transportation and Development Policy
Metropolis Magazine
Michael Sorkin Studio
MillionTreesNYC
Natural Areas Conservancy
New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
NextCity
Seoul Bienniale of Architecture and Urbanism
US Forest Service Northern Research Station
Van Alen Institute

SOCIAL JUSTICE AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
Center for Court Innovation
MoreJustNYC
New York City Criminal Justice Agency
Urban Think-Tank

 


CULTURE
Bicycle Film Festival
Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts
Alejandro Durán
Miami City Ballet
National Chorale
New York Philharmonic
Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery
Piloblus Dance Company
The Wassaic Project

EDUCATION
Brown University
City College Spitzer School of Architecture
Columbia University School of Business
Johns Hopkins School of Nursing
University of Michigan School of Medicine
The New School
Parsons School of Design
Rhode Island School of Design

DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY
Adengo Architects
Alice Twemlow
BigPrototype
Bonobos
Quantcast
Razorfish
Jen Turner, architect

Recognition


Advertising Age
American Institute of Graphic Arts
American Society of Landscape Architects
Center for Architecture
Center for Urban Pedagogy, Public Access Design Fellowship
Society of Publication Designers



The Name


The Independent Group (UK) consisted of artists, architects, writers, and critics that met and collaborated informally in London from 1952–55. Together they explored a range of concerns, including questioning dominant Modernist thought and the role of waste in popular culture. Their approach was inclusive and multi-disciplinary, and the influences they drew upon were diverse.

It is this spirit that guides our approach: We are invested in making collaborative work that is innovative, timely, and equitable.


The Independent Group 2007–2019
Baltimore / New York


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