Member Spotlight: Meet Leigh

l2 For this edition of Member Spotlight, where we showcase the diverse creative work of our members, we chatted with freelance graphic designer Leigh Mignogna.  On a typical day you can find Leigh at her Studio Desk working on an app design, brainstorming a book layout or upstairs covering a table with post-its. A New York native, Leigh stuck around on this coast – she earned her Masters in Communications Design from Pratt Institute, worked as a designer at Paperwhite studio in NYC, and has held adjunct professor positions at Parsons, St. John’s University and Pratt Institute.  She specializes in visual identity, print, interactive and exhibition design.

Leigh is currently half of design partnership L&L and is serving as a Public Access Design fellow at the Center for Urban Pedagogy. Sometimes she also works with Intracollaborative, a collective of colleagues from Pratt who focus on socially-minded design. She chatted with us about working at Makeshift and the power of being your own boss. Check out some of her work below and signup for her Type 101 class on June 30! Or say hi when you see her at the next Members’ Breakfast! Hint: strike up a conversation about R Kelly…

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The Geneva Kneue typeface was designed using code – a mathematically-based programming language called Metafont. (designed with Liz Seibert)

When did you realize you wanted to be a graphic designer?
My dad is a graphic designer, so I grew up surrounded by design. But, it wasn’t until college that I became serious about studying design myself. Like most 18 years olds, I had no idea what I wanted to study, so I suppose I gravitated towards what was familiar. I remember learning about Tibor Kalman around the same time and realizing that design could be political, provocative and smart.  Tibor’s work showed me the cultural importance and power of design. He’s been a big inspiration over the years.

What made you want to start L&L?
Fitting into someone else’s model of how a design studio should work never really made sense to me. Starting L+L meant that I could wake up every day and make my own rules. At the end of the day, Liz (the other “L”) and I are only responsible to ourselves, and for us, that’s huge.

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Identity and signage created for Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator with Intracollaborative.

Do you have a dream project?
Dream project: Something I know nothing about!

What are some of the tools that you use?
eyes for
looking ears
for listening
mouth for talking
hands for making
words for sharing

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Graphics for a poster collaboration between Intracollaborative, CUP and the grassroots organization, CAAAV. The Chinese and English poster helps tenants understand rent stabilization laws and their rights as tenants.

What type of role does Makeshift Society play in your work?
When I first started L+L I was working out of my apartment and it was the worst. I felt really uninspired and would get lonely. At Makeshift, I’m surrounded by amazingly smart and creative individuals. Whether it’s asking for a second set of eyes from a deskmate or seeing the other things members are building, being surrounded by that energy is inspiring.

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Identity and logo for Sanaa BK (designed with with Liz Seibert)

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The first publication of the newly minted Pratt Press, written, edited and designed by Leigh, Maura Frana and Liz Seibert. Using the lens of creative writing, the book explores the issues of authorship, language, typography, and self-expression as they relate to current practices in the graphic design field. The book was presented at the AIGA Design Educator’s Conference.

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Identity for 2013 Pratt MFA thesis show, “This is Not Graphic Design.” Designed by Leigh, Maura Frana, Will Hoffman.

Year One

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One year ago today, after some long nights, Rena and I threw open the doors of Makeshift Society Brooklyn on Hope street—and then we collapsed onto the sofa.

We propped the door open and let the breeze blow in. We chatted with people who dropped by to peek in. We enticed passers-by to say hello. And we ended the day with a bottle of prosecco in the company of Hardhat, who did our branding, and Dash Marshall, who designed the space. May 1, 2014 was great.

But May 1, 2015 is even better! One year older, we’re now a community of about 100 creatives who are making shift happen. The front door is still propped open when the weather’s nice, and you’re still welcome to peek in and have a look around or quiz us about what exactly is going on here. You’re likely to meet Cait and Emma at the front desk, keeping things running with aplomb and charm, as they have from day one.

One year zipped by. We…

…received rad gifts from friends

…waved at friendly kids

…thew some fun events (including one that involved ice cream sandwiches)

…drank a lot of coffee with our neighbors Frankie and Lee at 66 Hope Cafe

…got a super futuristic wall installation

…watched some movies

…printed some newspapers and a zine

…were featured in newspapers and magazines

…held some special classes

drew some stuff

…got tired

…got excited

…ate some donuts!

OK, that last one is a lie. We ate a lot of donuts.

Thanks to all of our members, friends, backers, and that one guy who rollerbladed right through our open doors in a single smooth arc to ask, “what’s going on in here?” Makeshift Society wouldn’t be what it is without all of you.

Soon we’ll settle our plans for an official party. Until then!

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Bk Mag Culture issue launch

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Bk Mag recently took over our space to celebrate their most recent issue, the annual Culture Issue.  The magazine features a timeline exploring Brooklyn’s evolving culture from past to present, an in-depth interview with Noah Baumbach, and insights into the current art, music, and food scene of the borough.

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In the early evening, party goers swarmed in, snagged a Sapporo, and milled about. While some were flipping through the magazine, others were cheesing with giant flowers, and some were swaying to the DJ Colin Ilgen from Newton Radio.  

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Our lower level was occupied by the Haiku Guys. Attendees suggested themes to inspire the writers, and everyone left with a custom Haiku.

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Celebrate your next big event with us! We have an inspiring and flexible layout that can accommodate all kinds of special events. Stop in for a tour or get in touch for more information. Special preference given to people who bring reflective balloons!

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LOVE / HATE ZINES

Last week we hosted 50 zine-o-philes who spent the evening creating a collaborative zine from start to finish in one night. In a few short hours we poured over ziney inspiration, heard a talk by Elana Schlenker, created our own zine pages, and printed them out on a risograph manned by Gerardo Madera of Common Satisfactory Standard.

This event was a continuation of the Working Late series we helped Adobe Typekit launch.

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All photos by Laura Pardo

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After a brief talk by Elana and Gerardo, the design sprint started! No one knew the specs for the zine before the night began, so we all had to jump into it with fresh eyes. Each person designed one page of the zine by drawing something they loved in pink and something they hated in red. We sketched, scribbled, inked; we created with vectors, pixels and pens. There was a lot to love: dachshunds, speed walkers, hotdogs, bagels… And even more to hate: limp handshakes, liars, olives.

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Right as the design sprint finished, dinner was served.  We ate Takikomi Gohan (japanese rice bowls) from Yakitorius Inglorius as the risograph whirled, clacked and printed our pages. The risograph, if you’re not familiar with it, is basically the lovechild of a silkscreen and a copy machine. It prints with beautiful, layered, solid-color inks but works mechanically like a copy machine.

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Natalia Baker

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Boyoun Kim

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Greg Mihalko

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Tyler Moody

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Erin Rommel

Sue Jean Ko

Sue Jean Ko

Urbina_Isabel

Isabel Urbina

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Kathleen Scudder

Big thanks to Elana, Gerardo and to Adobe Typekit for making the event happen!

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The plan was for everyone to go home with a zine, but we had a small printing hiccup and copies were available in the following days. It’s worth the wait though; and each copy includes a DIY binding kit so you can bind it at home. It was a tiny print run with copies available only for the people who attended, but if you want to have a look you can browse one in the Makeshift Society libraries in Brooklyn and San Francisco.

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You can be part of events like this too. Makeshift Society is a coworking space for people who are as serious about their creative practice as they are about making it pay the bills. Drop by for a tour, sign up for the newsletter, or check out our events calendar to stay in the loop.