One For the Books

Hyperakt’s 2019 in Review

4 min readJan 27, 2020


We’re basking in the newly-minted feel of this year, ushering in a fresh decade while taking time to reflect on the most memorable moments that brought us into 2020.

You could say it all started with Deroy’s keen observation that the women running for president were breaking all the unspoken rules of campaign branding. Our co-founder’s think piece in Fast Company catalyzed a series of events that led us to learning how to brand a human. And by that, we mean a presidential candidate.

Asking Mayor Pete Buttigieg and his team to articulate the campaign’s reason-for-being introduced us to his richly storied world full of big ideas, bite-sized bullet points, and a treasure trove of meaningful, personal stories.

The real challenge was to translate Pete’s verbal identity into a visual one.

Our design toolkit made waves. Armin Vit voted it his favorite campaign branding in the crowded field of 2020 presidential candidates.

And The New Yorker recently ran an article about Pete that featured a full-page illustration, by Barry Blitt, of the candidate set against the background of his campaign branding. Seeing our work illustrated in classic New Yorker style was a surreal moment.

DonorsChoose is the feel-good king of nonprofits: cute kids, handwritten thank you notes, and a mission to help every public school teacher in America reach their potential. As we helmed the first comprehensive rebrand of the organization since its inception in 2008, what really left us floored was the team: a collective of kind, caring individuals who exuded nothing but eagerness, curiosity, gratitude, and kindness.

We had a blast partnering with Google’s global marketing team to lead a Resilience & Innovation Workshop, further sharpening the skills of some of the world’s smartest marketers. Masterminded by our Strategy Director Sruthi and assisted by a massive supply of sticky notes, we helped over a hundred Googlers tap into their visions for the future through brave ideas and positive collaboration.

In tandem with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, we built America Off-Balance, a tool that combines visual, narrative, and mathematical elements. AOB aims to help people understand America’s national debt crisis by challenging them to engage with the issue, seeing how it affects them both individually and systemically.

We’ve been working with Brooklyn Defender Services for two years and have been consistently energized by their appetite for creativity, innovation, and risk-taking. This fall, BDS launched Zealous, its very first media training and movement-building event for public defenders. We branded the entire event, helped design the curriculum, and facilitated the two-day gathering.

And in studio news… we spoke at the 2019 Brand New Conference, one of the world’s premier branding and visual communications symposiums. Deroy’s talk highlighted a recent pro bono project: creating the identity and website for Tuyo Media. Tuyo works in communities worldwide to amplify local voices in news media.

Julia was on a panel discussion at the global-gathering SCADStyle conference in Atlanta to share about our work on Mass Bail Out. This initiative helped the city of New York to finally move toward closing the infamous Rikers Island prison.

Our team also took a small break from the daily grind. We high-tailed it to the Catskills for two days of reflection and bonding (and snacks 🍿). After renewing and regenerating the connective tissue that keeps us together as a team, we left dreaming of opening a second office in the Hudson Valley — never say never.

Whether you’ve known us since 2019 or 2001, thanks to each and every one of you for your partnership, support, interest, and enthusiasm about our work. We’re looking forward to a stellar 2020!




We walk side by side with nonprofits to design brands that resonate and unlock impact.