2021: Could Wait a Year, Shouldn’t Wait Three — Studio Rodrigo Year in Review
2021, will you think about me?
I could wait a year, but I shouldn’t wait three
- Vampire Weekend
Time has warped. This thing that’s happening now? It doesn’t feel like it will end. 2021 — another strange and exhausting year.
We spend a lot of time at work. We’ve tried to make sense of that time — by creating a place and a practice that allows us to fill it with meaning and interest.
By doing creative work, with people we like. By seeking projects that, we hope, will make people’s lives better in some way. By having some laughs while getting things done.
In whatever small way, it seems remarkable that we keep pulling it off, year after year. 2021.
We love travel and seek out experiences that open the world, connect us with others, and enrich our lives. Fora Travel is reimagining the travel advisor industry with fresh eyes: one that is modern, inclusive, and tech-enabled.
A new platform that empowers travel advisors to build their businesses, and connects travelers with advisors who really get them.
It was a dream when Henley Vazquez, Evan Frank, and Jake Peters approached us to help define the brand and launch the digital experience, working with partners like Better Mistakes and Shift Lab — and we look forward to continuing to build this business with this great team in 2022.
Food and drink is our other reason for being — and 2021 featured another dream project. Working with Brian Bedol, Elana Karp, Kalpana Berman and the Kittch team to develop an initial brand and live streaming web app for Kittch.com.
Kittch is the first platform designed for the culinary community, creating tools and experiences connecting creators and curators in food & drink with fans and brands. We’re really excited to see how Kittch evolves as it becomes more publicly available in 2022.
Our friend Meredith Franzese and her co-founder Mike Fiebach reached out to help create a presence to launch Mainfactor, which announced a $69 million round in September to acquire, operate, and scale direct to consumer brands, particularly those built to serve loyal fan bases. We couldn’t be happier with how Mainfactor.com turned out — and much thanks to our great partner Omamerhi Etefia.
Petra is one of the most exciting companies we’ve had the pleasure to partner with recently. Kim Abrams and Shivani Torres are building a semi-autonomous drilling robot with unique cutting head for drilling tunnel in some of the hardest geologies in North America.
Petra will help make undergrounding utilities affordable, helping reduce wildfire risk and building resiliency against catastrophic storms. We were excited to help develop the visual brand and launch website, working with the great team at G3.
Working with start-ups solving thorny problems is one of the things we like doing the most. The broken health care system in the US is something we’d love to contribute to making better, in whatever small ways. The past few years, we’ve been lucky to partner with different companies tackling different aspects of this complex space.
Working with Amanda D’Ambra and her marketing team at Brightline Health, along with our partners at Shift Lab we helped redesign and relaunch HelloBrightline.com — bringing support to kids and families for everyday challenges and behavioral health and mental health conditions.
We’ve had the pleasure of working with Alessandra Henderson, Jannine Versi, and the great team at Elektra Health, bringing a modern approach and evidence-based expertise to menopause care. With over 50 million women in the US currently navigating menopause, we value partnering with Elektra to develop and deliver care solutions to this massive and underserved need.
Recovering from a hospital stay or outpatient care is difficult and unpredictable. Navigating the recovery journey on your own — without your clinical team — is hard. And the economic cost of this gap in how we help people recover to employers and the health insurance industry is massive.
Laguna Health is helping people recover better post-hospital stay, and we are happy to partner with them to launch their company in 2021 and continue to grow in 2022.
As a studio, we’re built to partner and play well with others — and one of our favorite dev teams is Very Good Ventures — one of the best teams you can work with if you are building in Flutter.
We had the pleasure of “loaning” the VGV team some of our design firepower to help re-imagine the Flutter.dev website, expanding the story of what Flutter can do, and better serving the rapidly growing community of companies and developers using Flutter to build multi-platform apps.
Swimm.io is a platform transforming how software developers collaborate. With Swimm, you can create and edit docs that are coupled with your code, auto-synced, and integrated into your workflow.
We helped Swimm refine how they talk about platform and re-launched their web presence as they announced their $27M Series A in November.
In truth, the biggest problems in our society are almost all characterized by negative externalities which aren’t easy to solve with technology, and don’t have direct paths to capturing financial value in the way that attracts VC money.
We deeply want to work on these problems — of equity, of justice, of opportunity, and of sustainability.
We seek collaboration with companies and organizations working on these important issues, and hope that our design and technical talents can help amplify their mission and work.
Police Free Schools
The #PoliceFreeSchools initiative hopes to empower and inspire students and young people who are looking to take control of their learning environments.
The website and social media toolkits, created by the National Campaign for Police Free Schools, and co-convened by the Advancement Project National Office and Alliance for Educational Justice provide resources for young organizers across the country. We were proud to work collaboratively to build this vision to life ahead of workshops for student leaders in the summer of 2021.
Art for Justice Fund
The Art for Justice Fund supports artists and advocates creating art that changes the narrative around mass incarceration, with the goal of safely reducing the prison population, promoting justice reinvestment, and changing the stories, policies, and dynamics of the carceral system in the US.
We had the pleasure of bringing the website to life to center and spotlight some of the amazing projects that have been brought to life by grants from the Art for Justice Fund.
Global Fund for Women
In early 2021, working with Lori Adelman and her great team, we helped launch a revamped website for the Global Fund for Women. Over the course of the year, we were able to continue our partnership by creating a more lively and inspiring visual language to celebrate initiatives like the International Day of the Girl and the Artist Changemaker program.
Make the Road NY
Make the Road NY works to build power and fight for the rights of immigrant and working class communities in NYC. We’ve been happy each of the past few years to help the Make the Road team with their annual gala, taking creative direction from Karen Oh at House of Cakes.
Embedding to Drive Change
The work we do with larger organizations is always a collaborative effort. We’ve build a studio practice that allows our designers to effectively embed within design and product squads at both larger companies and fast-scaling start-ups to help push product design and scale positive changes across platforms and organizations. In 2021, we were able to embed with teams at WeWork, Harness Wealth, Tap Tap Send, and our long standing partners at Comcast, where we helped launch the Xfinity Rewards program.
Beyond the work we do in the studio, we make an effort to engage with the places and communities in which we work. After COVID disrupted our ability to host interns in 2020, we had an awesome intern class in 2021 — and used the nice weather and return to semi-normalcy in NYC in the spring, summer, and fall to have some grand adventures exploring our fair city.