The Best / Worst

best worst

We will be hosting The Best Worst on October 28th. It is an evening devoted to the ‘best worst’ ideas or projects by those in the creative industry. Join us at Social Print Studio in SOMA to hear about completed work that was not as popular as imagined, a proposal that didn’t get chosen, or something that a designer was proud of that nevertheless failed. We have all experienced something of this nature in some form or another. Whether for a failed science fair project (poor volcano), perhaps a thesis that went nowhere, or a business idea that just didn’t get off the ground.

The Best Worst was inspired by the closure of Makeshift Society Brooklyn, our second workspace, which was open for a year and a half. We at Makeshift are incredibly happy with what we accomplished but acknowledge the realities of our failure, and we think this is a fascinating topic that people should hear about. We like to think of The Best Worst as FailCon meets Mortified – less instructional but more visual and fun(ny)!

We have lined up a great group of small business owners and speakers to talk about their projects gone awry and how they handled it in stride.

Big thanks to our sponsor CreativeLive




Tash Wong is the Chief Coaster Officer at Coastermatic, where she spends her days espousing the beauty and utility of photo and designer coasters to anyone who will listen. Before becoming a creative entrepreneur, Tash made use of her time as an Interaction Designer, gaining an MFA on the subject and working for clients like the New York Times. She blogs and speaks about her work, and you can learn more about her at




 Brent Couchman is the creative director and co-founder of San Francisco-based design studio, Moniker. He leads the creative side of the company, partnering with clients such as Facebook, Google, Coca-Cola, GOOD, Herman Miller and Target to create identity systems and packaging. He began his career in the Lone Star State where he developed branding, packaging and illustration for Fossil before relocating to San Francisco to join Hatch Design, working on identity and packaging design. His work has been recognized by AIGA, Art Directors Club, Communication Arts, Print, Graphis, The Eisner Museum of Advertising & Design, and recipient of the ADC Young Guns award for top designers under 30.


emily haasch

Emily Haasch is a designer, artist, and tiny human. She physically resides in San Francisco. Her thoughts digitally reside on Twitter. With roots in collage and object design, she enjoys cultivating a practice that is interdisciplinary in regard to both medium and purpose. Lately, Emily has been interested in the intersection of design and the systems it both supports and resists. By questioning these themes, she has slowly been initiating digital and IRL projects to make sense of what it means to be a designer in 2015. Emily graduated with a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013. By day, she is currently a designer for Electric Objects, a NYC-based art hardware company.



Member Spotlight: Laura Palotie

For this edition of our Member Spotlight we chatted with literary agent, journalist and editor Laura Palotie. Born and raised in Helsinki, Finland, Laura moved to the U.S. as a teenager, and has since studied writing and journalism and worked in writing, content marketing and editing on both sides of the pond. She’s passionate about sharing great stories that break down cultural barriers. Laura works as the New York-based agent of Elina Ahlback Literary Agency, headquartered in Helsinki. A Brooklyn member since day one, Laura was our steadfast cheerleader as we got the space up and running. We love hearing about her trips back to Helsinki and all the fun books that land on her desk. Thanks for spoiling us rotten with Finnish chocolate, Laura!

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What does a typical day look like for you? 

Because I’m in touch with publishers in both Europe and the U.S., as well as with our Helsinki office, my days begin relatively early; I’m typically handling correspondence starting at 7 or 7:30. Throughout the day I work on our agency’s newsletters and other English-language materials, meet and keep in touch with publishers, and work on contracts and other elements of the publication process: we represent Finnish authors, illustrators and publishers in international markets as well as several U.S. publishers and agencies in the Nordic markets, so I’m always busy! In the evenings and weekends I’ll often work on journalistic or editing projects at home: I contribute to Finnair’s English-language inflight magazine, Blue Wings, as well as a medical news publication in Finland, among other outlets: most recently I had an article published in Breaking Character, the theater industry publication of Samuel French.

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image by Kira Simon Kennedy

What do you love most about what you do?

As a literary agent, I love having the opportunity to bring fantastic books to new markets. A terrific translated book, whether it be a literary novel or a picture book, makes the world feel more accessible. We work with outstanding, imaginative authors in all genres, and playing a part in the process that helps them gain more fans worldwide is an honor. The best part of my job is calling an author and telling them that their book is going to be published in a new language. Overall, whether is be as an agent, a writer or an editor, I love bringing compelling stories to new audiences.

Supinen_Mantelimaa_cover-WSOY       Mörkövahti-kansi

What projects are you excited about right now? a favorite book that has landed on your desk recently?

We have a terrific middle-grade novel called “Monster Nanny” (“Mörkövahti”) by author Tuutikki Tolonen, which is a mix of “Mary Poppins” and “Where the Wild Things Are” set in contemporary Finland. It’s just as quirky and charming as it sounds, and it has already sold in Germany, Spain and Estonia (the Finnish edition is coming out in August). In the adult fiction realm we have “Jingle Land” (“Mantelimaa”) by Miina Supinen, about a sinister theme park where it’s always holiday season. To complement the intriguing Tim Burton-esque premise, the story is told in a very realistic way with relatable, richly drawn characters.

What do you miss about living in Helsinki? and what do you love about living in Brooklyn?

In addition to my family, friends and godchildren, I miss the bike lanes, gorgeous light in summers and the abundance of nature — and yes, the free health care system! In Brooklyn I absolutely love the diversity (in friends, food and experiences) and energy. It feels like everyone here is on a crazy shared adventure together.

Any funny stories about your first adventures in NY?

I first moved here in 2006 for grad school, and lived in Soho in a tiny, slightly decrepit apartment. I remember stepping outside and finding more options for designer shoes I couldn’t afford than for bagels (Brooklyn suits me much better in that realm). The most ridiculous moment for me was probably noticing a giant mouse devouring a bag of chips in the kitchen, and calling my dad in panic. Not sure how he could have helped me from 5000 miles away in Helsinki.

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image by Kira Simon Kennedy

What’s your favorite thing about working from Makeshift?

It’s a place full of people who are totally passionate about their respective projects (whether it be in design, marketing or writing). It’s a great place to focus, but also the perfect environment to chat with like-minded folks.

Where’s your favorite spot in the neighborhood to grab a bite or a drink?

I’m very much into Sweetgreen for lunch, and as an after-work spot my absolute favorite is the Pinkerton Wine Bar. It’s cozy and not too loud, so it’s great for catching up with a friend or for sitting down with a book, and the wines and cheeses are delicious.

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…


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


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)


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.


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

Hello from Nicole!


Hi everyone, I just wanted to introduce myself. My name is Nicole, I recently joined the MSS family as your friendly desk concierge and will be in a few days out of the week. When I’m not at Makeshift I enjoy exploring the city, as I am new to it, along with spending time with my cats, dog, and guinea pig. I look forward to meeting all of our members and hope to catch you on your days in the office.

Why join Makeshift Society?



Why do people join Makeshift Society, you ask? Well, here are a few reasons from our newest bunch of members:

“Otherwise, my company, is a small group of like-minded creative women of color trying to do things right!” –Dianne Que

“I’m a writer and would love to have a community of other creatives to work with and around.” — Kristina Johnson

“Because I love the community, the space, and the value makeshift provides to SF.” — David Holl

“We need a space to be creative.” –Irene Duller

“Working from home isn’t very effective for me anymore, and I’m always searching for a good creative community!” –Christine Herrin

“I want to build relationships in the community.” — Arianna Orland


p.s. apply now for membership at either our San Francisco or Brooklyn location.