Monday the 22nd, August 2011

Nearly seven years have passed and much has changed since the inception of Cypher13.

Now we are two, Todd Berger and Lucian Föhr. Together, we have grown considerably - in principle, in thought, and in capacity - but not in number.

We have grown in practice.

We have chosen to pursue quality in all things - over quantity. This has come to define our craft and those with whom we wish to partner and to serve. We have chosen objectivity over subjectivity, accountability over bureaucracy, and personal responsibility over ambiguity.

And so, we have decided to close Cypher13 and to open a new design studio. We will usher in a new era of socially significant, lasting, far-reaching work.

We will strive to do better.

Goodbye Cypher13.

Welcome Berger & Föhr.

Todd Berger
Lucian Föhr



Cypher13 is an interdisciplinary communication design studio striving to improve the human experience.


We believe in responsible communication. We take great pride in the communication potential that we provide and with it assume full responsibility. From this sense of responsibility comes a commitment to enrich society in a positive and transformative manner through the execution of our work.


Design is often defined as an artfully strategic approach to problem solving or to the formulation of a plan intended to prompt some effect; while we agree, we believe it is much more. Design is a worldview, a way of seeing the possibility and opportunity around every corner. Design is both a visible and invisible language, part of a greater system, inspiring and delivering information. Design transcends culture and communicates the potential in us all.


The clients we partner with and the projects we take on are carefully considered. We seek clients and projects that possess integrity, convey future-forward thinking, and signal positive social transformation. When we commit to a project, we do so wholeheartedly, bringing our passion, expertise, alliances, and perspective. It is our aim to create lasting, significant work. To do so, we believe we must choose our clients and our projects wisely.


Founded in 2005 byTodd Berger, Alex Henry, and Lucian Föhr, as a three-man alliance, Cypher13 has since become a two-man team. Cypher13's progression will continue to be driven by Berger and Föhr's shared belief in the transformative power of design.


Cypher13 Design Studio
1719 Suite B Pearl Street
Boulder, Colorado 80302


Berger: +1 303 588 1712
Föhr: +1 720 323 7171
Photos & Images Flickr
140 Characters or less on Twitter


1. Exit 6 for E-470 Tollway toward I-70/Fort Collins
2. Turn right to merge onto US-36 W
3. Turn left at Arapahoe Avenue
4. Turn right at 17th Street




  • LessFebruary 15, 2011

    There once was an abundance. A great abundance of many things. But now that bounty is gone. We have depleted it. We have been reckless. Now we must do more with less. Doing more with less is good. But only to a point. We can only do so much with less. Many of us have too much. We want too much. We do too much. We were taught to expect too much. We still believe that more yields more. But it does not. Perhaps we could consider less. We could want less. We could work less. We could use less. We could simplify our lives. We could refine. We could grant others desperately in need of more – more. And at no expense. Just Less. We ought to strive for less. We ought to experience more. It’s not too late for less. We could embrace less. And in so doing we could have more.
  • Design as a PracticeDecember 23, 2010

    This past year has provided us a wealth of opportunity and a glimpse into the future. What we once perceived as a unique passion for a specific trade/craft/art/work has become a life practice and discipline; driven predominantly by two things: intent and transformation.

    Intent as it relates to our practice is inspired by responsibility and thoughtfulness. For us, thoughtfulness implies a certain intellectual depth characterized by careful consideration. The intent and thoughtfulness we have cultivated over the past year is the basis for deciding with whom and precisely how we will expend our professional creative energies. Our intent as a studio is to practice responsible and thoughtful design.

    Through our professional and personal practice we intend to bring about forward-looking transformations for our clients and their endeavors, within our community, and within ourselves. While we remain informed by the past, we have grown to openly embrace and even seek change. We believe that a willingness to adapt in order to improve will best prepare us to challenge the demands of the future.

    2011. The Future.

  • We are not the same.November 28, 2010

    Advertising is not design. Marketing is not advertising. Design is not branding. Branding is neither advertising nor marketing nor design. However, the four are often spoken synonymously.

    All four possess immeasurable potential to both identify and communicate and subsequently they play very important roles in the creation of culture. They all contribute to the perception of value (real or artificial), socially, culturally, and of course fiscally, but they are not the same. Interest in and the relationship of the four ranges from a subject of frequent industry debate to that of semi-mystical proportions.

    We'd like to attempt to define these four terms to prompt further consideration surrounding their individual and collective significance, or better yet - relevance. All this, while being keenly aware that none of the four possess any one specific, generally-accepted definition.

    Advertising - Advertising is a form of communication. It is the act of calling attention to a product or service through the use of paid announcements across a variety of media. It is typically used to convey how a product or service can benefit a specific consumer in an effort to persuade the consumer to consume a particular product or service. Advertising is most often utilized after marketing, branding and design. To communicate successfully, advertising requires both branding and design.

    Branding - Branding is both a means of identification and communication. Branding employs design in the creation of a name, sign, symbol, or logo, intended to represent and distinguish the unique characteristics of something, commonly a product or service in an effort to differentiate it from others. Branding is often one aim and occasionally the sole function of advertising. Branding tends to occur after some form of marketing and requires design.

    Design - Design communicates the manifestation of identification. Design is the specification of a plan intended to accomplish established goals subject to certain constraints commonly resulting in the creation of an object but not necessarily. Design is often associated with the artful or skillful creation of something. Design is unique in that it need not require marketing, branding, or advertising.

    Marketing - Marketing is a form of identification in preparation for communication. Specifically, marketing is the process of conducting research in an effort to define a customer within a segment of a population and implement a strategy to satisfy and ultimately retain this customer. Marketing tends to occur prior to advertising and often before design and branding, but not necessarily. It would be of little to no use without the latter.

    While all four of these distinct disciplines are valuable components to any economy, the integrity and the intention with which they are practiced varies immensely. One must consider his or her intentions carefully prior to engaging in or contributing to advertising, branding, design, or marketing. All four have cultural, economical, environmental, political, and social capacities for mass transformation beyond those immediately perceived. As intelligent and capable members of a global society we have a responsibility to consider the ramifications of our actions, particularly as they relate to the practice and employment of these disciplines.

  • The Brands of TomorrowNovember 08, 2010

    The Brands of tomorrow will prompt a paradigm shift through the design, creation, communication and provision of sustainability-driven, socially-motivated products and services stocked with genuine consumer value. These brands will grow deep roots, rich histories, heart-felt stories and will be led by thoughtful, far-seeing individuals. Some of the brands of tomorrow, exist today. They will grow iteratively, but rapidly, from solid strategic platforms. These platforms will be visible, and within their infrastructure will exist an immense degree of flexibility. These brands will morph and adapt frequently, not because they have to, but because new information will become available offering new opportunity prompting culturally insightful responses. They will adapt because they ought to - and they will know this.

    In the internet-crazed, information-inundated, consumer-driven 21st century, the almighty dollar - or the lack thereof, will have rendered governments fundamentally impotent. The decision to purchase one product or service over another will be the modern day equivalent to casting a vote on election day - perhaps even more significant. Corporations will rule, the ever-consuming public will know it, it will have been their edict, and brand authenticity, brand values, and the subsequent loyalty resulting from them, will drive a perpetually wanting consumer culture. The brands of tomorrow will understand this and they will strive to shape and transform culture in a socially equitable and responsible way. When they do not, the corporations they represent will whither away alongside their inferior philosophies, products and services.

    The advertising of today will give way to a new, more direct, straight-talk style of consumer-focused communication. Tomorrow's brands will strip away the artificial veneer, and communicate opportunity and value directly to the consumer. Buying decisions will be based on concepts currently abstracted by advertisers and marketers. Things like renewable material production, sustainable manufacturing processes, carbon footprint minimization, advanced employee education, and extended family health and well-being benefits, all in tandem with greater contributions to society will command loyalty, result in sales and lead to positions of significant influence. The brands of tomorrow will no longer desire to hide behind a veil of manufactured image and identity. Those that do will lose out to those that do not. These brands will help guide us, they will care for us and assist in the education of our children, they will protect our natural resources, and will shepherd our future. Because, if they do not - we will ensure that both they and their corporate benefactors cease to exist.

  • Establishing & Maintaining Effective CommunicationNovember 02, 2010

    In the professional world, effective communication is achieved predominantly with words. These words, written and/or spoken, contain information; ideas, thoughts, wishes, desires, and goals that ultimately must be communicated. Photos, illustrations, combinations of the two, charts, graphs, and the like often accompany such words, but it is the words themselves that create the context and comprise the gist of information exchange. Subsequently, to ensure clear communication words must be wielded wisely.

    Individuals, companies, and entities in general tend to engage in communication with one another in an effort to create that which otherwise could not be created independently and often times does not exist. For relationships aimed at this sort of creative production to be effective, it is vital that information be exchanged succinctly between parties. The utmost attention must be paid to this information exchange in order to ensure its completeness. It is all too easy for the owner of information or of an idea to leave out valuable components of thought that he or she assumes to be unimportant, insignificant, or already known.

    Within the realm of communication one can understand how it could be difficult to express that which one does not know. Additionally, it can be equally difficult to learn that something known has not been expressed. For any information or idea exchange to be effective, those things that are known must be shared, those things that are still unknown ought to be agreed upon as such. It is here, at the intersection of the known and the unknown, that communication can either go very wrong,
    or very right. 

    Following, are 10 recommendations intended to ensure clear and concise information exchange and promote successful and continued communication. It is necessary that these recommendations be applied by all parties accountable for the exchange of information resulting in the production of new work.

    1. Define the nature of the creative relationship as quickly and clearly as possible

    2. State and agree upon all of the desired goals resulting from the relationship, be them primary, secondary, or ancillary

    3. Determine the deliverables resulting from the relationship and when they are to be created and/or exchanged

    4. Establish an information exchange hierarchy to provide a framework that promotes inclusion and accountability

    5. Share any/all information deemed valuable to the context of the goals and deliverables previously determined to the fullest extent

    6. Provide a platform for new ideas and opportunities outside of the immediate objectives to be shared should they arise

    7. Hold nothing back - any new information worthy of significant individual consideration should be shared as soon as possible between all interested parties

    8. If any concerns pertaining to any of the above, or otherwise arise, address them immediately

    9. Be nice - be respectful - be considerate - remain accountable - do your best - be a good person

    10. Share your improved communication system with others to help ensure that their creative endeavors are as successful as they can be

    It is our hope that the above list helps provide a solid foundation for effective communication, specifically as it applies to idea exchange and the creation of new, collaborative, and far-reaching work.

  • Manifest Positive Change - Act ResponsiblyJuly 15, 2010

    To create transformative solutions for today and meet the challenges of tomorrow, an iterative and multi-faceted approach, centered on interdisciplinary and collaborative thinking is required.  Problems need to be addressed systemically and solved holistically.

    As members of a global community, we can not continue to merely address problems in a symptomatic fashion. The problems of today must be seen as tomorrow's catalysts for innovation and a means by which to create new opportunities - not just things to be solved.

    Those of us calling ourselves designers, particularly those with opportunities to manifest positive change in the world, have a responsibility to deliver informed, forward-looking, and inclusive thinking. If we are to act responsibly, all of our projects must be viewed as opportunities to influence and thereby contribute to the cultural fabric of the future.

  • The Soft & Furry™June 02, 2010

    In early 2007 we set our hearts upon designing and producing our own, in-house, hand-made, designer toy line. But, before we could fully engage we sought to craft a narrative worthy of supporting such an endeavor. The tale of the Soft & Furry™ and the subsequent 2008 international artist collaboration to follow was the result of that thinking.

    The soft and furry are very, very old.
    They have been since here was here.
    When here was new there were three.
    LOOFT helped all to breath.
    DOO helped all to drink.
    And GROOND made all things grow.
    The three were one.

    Many creatures, large and small, of water, of air, and of land arose.
    They breathed the air.
    They drank the water.
    And they fed on all that grew.
    They took only what they needed.

    One very special creature took way too much.
    This creature misunderstood the natural code.
    Green things soon grayed.
    Blue things soon blackened.
    And clear things began to cloud.

    Those who were soft and furry hardened with gloom.
    They may one day be soft and furry again.
    But for now their hardness has saved them.

    LOOFT still helps all to breath.
    DOO still helps all to drink.
    And GROOND still makes all things grow.

    The three are one.
    And none can live without them.

  • On Writing as an Exercise and Communicating as a DesignerMay 28, 2010

    Writing is challenging, particularly for those not formally trained in the craft, but it is vital to anyone concerned with communication and subsequently is a skill worth honing. Anyone that considers their ideas important and worth sharing, ought to vest adequate energy in developing their skills as a writer, in an effort to improve their potential as a communicator. If the thinker can not communicate his or her ideas, of what value are they?

    Most anyone actively engaged in the practice of design is inundated with self-propelled ideas, concepts, and theories. These notions regularly enter the designer's psyche and they are either brought to life, or not. Some of these notions are nearly fully realized upon inception, but this is rarely the case. More frequently, these ideas are unrefined and possess potential for development. However, upon further reflection, the majority of these whims tend to be ludicrous at best. Quite often, it is through the use of writing that an idea is refined and ultimately manifest.

    The immediate value of an idea, concept, or theory is not all important. When considering the realm of communication, it is the designer's individual ability to develop and refine an idea and then manifest it in a tangible and valuable manner that matters most. Once realized, an idea that is supported by writing will inevitably possess a greater capacity to communicate than an idea that lacks a supportive array of words.

    When optimally employed, writing can serve as a tool to support the development, production, and ultimate communication potential of an idea. It is in this manner that writing is a powerful differentiator.

  • Getting into DesignDecember 23, 2009

    We're often asked for recommendations regarding getting into design by young aspiring professionals. Funny sorts of questions really, since we consider ourselves still aspiring. Having not formally studied design in school, we're in a rather unique and sometimes uncomfortable position making recommendations. Regardless, we do our best to lean on the years we've spent working professionally and the experiences we've had to try and inform and inspire those trying to enter the field.

    We can remember when we were asking ourselves the very same question, "How do I get into design?" It seemed like such a nebulous arena to enter. Where did one start? And, once you've started, then what? While, we in no certain way claim to have cracked the lock on some magical door, behind which lies the secrets to becoming the designer of tomorrow - we have learned a few things over the past decade.

    For starters, like entering any field you may be interested in, you ought to know that once you're in, you're going to have to take some lickings. But, since they'll come fast and furious, and seemingly out of left field, we won't dwell on them for now. A better vantage point from which to start would be way, way out. And, by way, way out, we mean, outside of the industry.

    With design being a very interdisciplinary field it can be quite difficult to narrow in on a specific area of focus. While some individuals know precisely what it is in design they wish to accomplish, or why design is the field of their choosing, a great many others do not, and just wish to enter a space where creative opportunities are bound to arise.

    Regardless of whether one knows the sort of work they'd like to create or not, everyone should begin their entry into the practice of design by studying those that have come before them. With the advent of the internet, this has become increasingly simple. Between the blogosphere and the ease of on-line book buying it's not very difficult to stumble upon, literally, thousands of design resources. And, don't forget about the library. Some of the resources you find will inevitably be more valid then others, but that kind of deciphering is all part of the process of becoming a designer.

    Begin by seeking out work that you enjoy, be it graphic, interactive, fashion, industrial, conceptual, or purely artistic. By loosely informing yourself on all of the areas of design it will soon become apparent that similar thinking is shared throughout and across disciplines. Once you've found work that's in your interest, learn all

    that you can about its creator. Look for interviews with the designer, books they may have written or been published in, and review the portfolios linked on their websites. In essence, study their thinking. You may find that it's similar to your own or you may find that it is not. Either way, you'll learn a little bit more about the sort of things you might like to design, the sort of problems you'd like to attempt to solve through design while also learning about those you would not.

    One of the surest ways to begin to hone in on the specific area of design you'd like to work in, is to determine those areas in which you would not.

    Once you've begun to take interest in a specific discipline or direction, focus on learning what it takes to succeed in that space. Understand that there are tools you'll need to obtain and learn to use. And that most likely there are rules, perhaps already in place. Learn these rules. Try to understand why they were created. Never forget that design is a communications profession, and like all forms of communication, it hinges on language, and languages are based on standards and rules. Before one can begin to break the defined standards or rules of any given language, or in our case, design discipline, one must have a firm understanding of why they were created in the first place.

    Learning what you like and what you don't is a very important step to becoming a confident designer. Striving to understand why we like what we do is what tends to makes us better designers. In all likelihood the work we enjoy most is the result of some masterful use of the appropriate tool or tools coupled with some form of either an immediately visible or more subtly hidden adherence to a set of rules, with just the right amount of worldly individuality added. In this manner, things are uniquely designed, and ideas are uniquely communicated.

    Remember, there are no shortcuts. Being a designer is a life-long process. The more one pays attention to the world around them, and the greater their awareness, the more likely they are to succeed at whatever it is they choose to accomplish.

  • Logo ≠ BrandOctober 28, 2009

    When considering a logo, soon to be or existing, it must be understood that a logo is not a brand. A logo is just a mark or symbol, be it iconic or typographic or a combination of the both that is created with the intent of representing or embodying an ideology or a set of principles larger than the sum of its inherent parts.

    A logo, poorly or well-executed can come to stand for a great many things. All of these seemingly embedded definitions or characteristics lie far beyond the logo's built-in aesthetic nature. For a logo to take on such layered meaning it must be supported by ideas, actions, outputs and ultimately human beings. It's at this juncture that logo and brand intersect.

    A brand, in time, can come to define a logo. And, human beings, in time, can come to define a brand. A logo on its own can not define a brand. A logo can represent or identify a brand, but not define one. It's the thoughts, actions, and output of the human beings behind a brand and thereby behind a logo that come to define a brand and ultimately imbue a logo with meaning
    and value.

  • Business Earth: A 20-Point introduction to Ecological EconomicsSeptember 17, 2009

    1. Business Earth
    Given the modern consumer-centric world we now live in it could be helpful to look at Earth in the context of business. As a series of ideas, Business Earth aims to provide a simplified view of ecological economics to hopefully present some eye-opening perspective on the value and ever diminishing abundance of Mother Nature's free goods and services.

    2. Natural Capital
    The thinking behind Business Earth is contingent upon the idea of natural capital, the application of the economic notion of capital as applied to environmental goods and services. Earth's natural capital is made up of all of its ecosystems and the valuable goods and services that flow from them.

    3. Forests, Fisheries & Aquifers
    Some examples of natural capital include forests, fisheries and aquifers, These forms of natural capital all yield natural income, things like timber, fish, and fresh water.

    4. Natural Income
    Waste assimilation, erosion prevention, flood control, and uv protection via ozone are all services provided from natural capital. Along with the capital assets mentioned previously, these life-support services could also be considered natural income.

    5. Intact Ecosystems
    When considering natural capital and it's byproduct natural income, we must consider ecosystems. Ecosystems can be viewed as the factories from which natural capital is output. Business Earths' continued production of natural capital hinges on intact ecosystems, or sound factories.

    6. Types of Capital
    Natural capital can be broken down into three categories: Renewable capital stocks - replenishable capital stocks - and non-renewables capital stocks.

    7. Renewable Natural Capital
    Renewable natural capital stocks includes living species and ecosystems. These capital stocks are self-producing and self-maintaining and if managed sustainably can provide an indefinite flow of assets and services.

    8. Renewable Example 1: Trees
    Trees are renewable capital. In looking at trees from an economic perspective they provide us both immediate visible products - things like timber, food, and medicine and less immediately visible services, things like oxygen production, and CO2 reduction.

    9. Renewable Example 2: Fish
    Fish too are considered renewable. Like trees, they are a product of their larger economies, streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans, providing us with food. They also help ensure that their factories, or ecosystems remain structurally intact.

    10. Replenishable Natural Capital
    Replenishable natural capital stocks are non-living but can be continuously restored. Replenishable natural capital includes things like surface and ground water and stratospheric ozone.

    11. Replenishable Example 1: The Ozone Layer
    Ozone is a replenishable. It is a naturally occurring product contributing to the creation of the stratospheric ozone layer. The ozone layer provides us with income in the form of a service - blocking harmful utraviolet rays which would otherwise lead to sunburn, skin cancer and cataracts.

    12. Replenishable Example 2: Soil
    Similar to ozone, soil, is also considered replenishable. It provides continual services in the form of water purification and catchment helping to reduce flooding. It also provides the primary nutrient base for most terrestrial plant life.

    13. Non-renewable Natural Capital
    Non-renewable natural capital stocks are analogous to physical inventories. They are made up of things like fossil fuels, and mineral deposits. Use of non-renewable natural capital requires extinguishing a portion of a finite stock. Once it's all used - it's gone. There is no more.

    14. Non-renewable Example 1: Petroleum
    Petroleum is a prime example of non-renewable natural capital. Unlike trees, fish, ozone, and soil systems, this inventory is finite. In human time Petroleum is in essence a product without a factory.

    15. Non-renewable Example 1: Coal
    Coal like petroleum also exists in a finite stock. It is non-renewable. It needs to be ordered millions of years in advance.

    16. Life Support
    so, from mankind's perspective Business Earth is really in the business of supporting human life. It will continue to produce it's assets and services far into the future. However, both it's existence and ours hinges more on its renewable and replenishable capital than on its non-renewable.

    17. Not Just Resources
    Hopefully at this point we're not just looking at Earths' natural capital as merely an inventory of industrial resources and services. Without the natural capital of Business Earth there are no economies, no businesses, and subsequently no human resources needed because, put simply, there are no humans.

    18. No Customers Needed
    While Business Earth provides us everything we need to live for free - we're the ones dependent upon it. It's existence is not dependent upon us. Business Earth is a very unique business in that it will continue to operate without it's primary consuming demographic, mankind.

    19. Natures Dollar Value
    A 1997 study led by Robert Costanza and other leading scientists and ecological economists estimated the value of Earth's free natural capital and services to mankind at 33 trillion dollars per year. At the same time the value of all of the economies of the world combined (total world GNP) only amounted to 18 trillion dollars - Half the value of one year of Earth's free services.

    20. Want to Find out more about the thinking behind Business Earth and the idea of Natural Capital?
    If you're interested in learning more about ecological economics and the ideas shared in the previous 19 points, pick up the book Natural Capitalism by Amory Lovins, Hunter Lovins, and Paul Hawken, or the book Our Ecological Footprint by Mathis Wackernagel and William E. Rees. And, be sure to look into the work of the ecological economists, Herman Daly and Robert Costanza.

  • 20 Interconnected and Semi-dependent Factors Contributing to the Creation and Promotion of Sustainable CultureAugust 24, 2009

    1. Compulsion for Creation:
    We have an innate compulsion to create. This compulsion perpetuates our very existence. It also potentially hinders our longevity. Our propensity to create has taken us right to the brink of sustainability. Now, as like never before, we need not only to create, but to create responsibly.

    2. Trust Your Vision:
    The desire to create is deeply connected to our capacity to visualize the future. The ability to trust our vision is tantamount to creation. The greater our ability to visualize our ideas, the greater the likelihood we'll bring them to fruition.

    3. Belief is Power:
    The clearer our vision the deeper our belief. Belief empowers us and provides a platform from which action can be taken. It contributes to our feelings of confidence. The confidence arising from belief provides power and leads to action.

    4. Willingness to Risk:
    With both vision and belief willingness to risk is increased. The clearer the vision, the greater the belief. The greater our belief, the more confidence we experience. Confidence leads to increased risk taking, and essentially, a heightened sense of power. The more willing we are to take risks the more powerful we become.

    5. Failure is Necessary:
    Failure is typically associated with a negative outcome, or the idea of underachieving ones aim. It becomes a much more valuable idea when flipped and applied to the more positive concept of suboptimal, but necessary experimentation. Regardless, of how we perceive and define failure, we must entertain the concept as our willingness to risk increases. It is from failure that ideas are honed, visions clarified, and the power of belief deepened.

    6. Determination Drives Progress:
    The more determined we are to improve, or offer alternatives, the more likely we are to progress. The closer our failure, or suboptimal, but necessary experimentation comes to producing desirable results, the more determined we become. Determination propagates creation and results in progress.

    7. Equality Promotes Growth:
    Progress in the context of sustainable cultural creation is anything that improves the human experience and has the potential to impact all within the realm of influence equally. As resource allocation and opportunity are brought into balance equality becomes a reality and growth begins.

    8. Strength in Community:
    As determination increases and progress is experienced, equality arises and community can be formed. Community like progress rests upon the premise of equality. As community grows, a new, reinforced platform for both ideation and creation is established.

    9. Value in Collaboration:
    Community rests upon and contributes to reinforced bonds between its members. The connectivity brought about by community leads to collaboration. Communal bonds are in turn renewed, and strengthened through collaboration. Collaboration increases vision, deepens belief, builds power, hedges risk, mitigates failure, heightens determination, perpetuates equality, and adds real value to work, its' byproduct.

    10. Work Speaks Volumes:
    Culture comes from work. The more sustainable the production of work, the more sustainable the culture. The stronger the community, the greater its collaborative potential to do work. Work done right, be it individually, collectively, or communally - speaks volumes.

    11. Responsibility is Required:
    As the scope of our work grows and its impacts are felt on a larger scale, a greater degree of responsibility is required. We need not only take responsibility for the final outcome of our work, but for the entire creation process to create responsible, sustainable, culturally significant work.

    12. Forget About Money:
    Concern for money, while valid, has a tendency to hinder the creation and attempted execution of some of our best ideas, ideas that lead to the production of exceptional work. We occasionally need to forget about money, albeit responsibly, and follow our hearts if we're to prompt sustainable creation.

    13. Honesty Breeds Integrity:
    The first step to being honest with others is being honest with ourselves. Forgetting about money in the context of creation is often a very important and necessary step to being true, or honest with ourselves. Honesty is conveyed through our actions and it's through our actions that we convey our integrity.

    14. Magic is Real:
    When we're honest, unencumbered by money, assuming responsibility, working collaboratively within our communities, promoting equality, determined to progress, ready to risk, full of belief, and looking ahead, magic happens.

    15. Communication is King:
    Whether or not you're ready to believe in magic, we can all agree on the importance of communication. Communication is the interchange of thoughts, opinions, and information. To promote and create anything sustainable an ongoing exchange of information is necessary, both publicly and privately. The ability to communicate clearly and concisely is central to creating and maintaining sustainable relationships. Sustainable cultural creation can not happen in a vacuum.

    16. Commitment Conveys Legitimacy:
    The more committed we are to our ideas, our community, and to sharing and communicating to the best of our ability, the more open we become. Openness leads to honesty, and honesty breeds integrity. Honesty, integrity, and visible commitment collectively contribute to establishing legitimacy.

    17. Transparency Shows Authenticity:
    Once an individual, group of individuals, or community achieves validity, it's the provision of transparency that shows real authenticity. The greater the access we're provided, the more likely we are to connect, believe, promote, and be inspired.

    18. Trust Breeds Influence:
    Individual belief and vision are necessary to achieve communal belief and vision. The idea of individual equality is vital to communal equality. The work of the individual is as important as the work of the community. We can not have communal responsibility without first possessing individual responsibility. The community can not honestly put the concept of money aside for the greater communal good without first conveying the commitment, legitimacy and authenticity required to evoke the trust of its' members. Be it on an individual level or a larger communal level, trust must be earned. With trust comes the potential to influence.

    19. Education Cultivates Sustainability:
    Possessing Influence enables an individual, group of individuals, or community the power to educate. The exchange of new information is the cornerstone of sustainability. The more informed we are, the better our decision making and the better our decision making the more likely we are to make choices that promote sustainable outcomes.

    20. Love is Everything:
    To properly consider the idea of sustainability and sustainable cultural creation we must address the concept of love. To love another we must first love ourselves. To love our fellow man we must possess a greater communal love for our surroundings and all of the entities within. After all, it's our innate ability and longing to love that initiated and continues to the sustain the creation of all those who create.

  • Managing Electronic WasteAugust 05, 2009

    We are producing and consuming more than our resource rich spaceship can sustain. We have turned a corner and committed to technology to help us solve this problem. And, our technology-based faith has provided us with a yet another resource, electronic waste (e-waste). To manage this resource sustainably we must reuse it, recycle it, and sometimes dispose of it. Regardless, we must first collect it.

    While working through our recent submission to the Design The 4th Bin contest with our friend Mike Moore of tres birds workshop, we stopped to assess and discuss the Flow of e-waste. We broke it down accordingly into a 10 Step cyclical process.

    Step 1. Humans (we) we deem it important to responsibly dispose of and safely reuse / recycle the elemental components of e-waste to make our future products and infrastructure

    Step 2. e-waste is disposed of at e-waste repositories in both public and private spaces

    Step 3. e-waste is collected by municipalities or other independent collection entities

    Step 4. e-waste is securely delivered to transit centers

    Step 5. e-waste is safely separated, sorted, and bundled into its basic elemental components for redistribution

    Step 6. e-waste is delivered to or collected/obtained to responsible entities capable of reclaiming/reusing or otherwise reselling separated materials (ideally to new alternative material industries)

    Step 7. New materials are created resulting in new eco-e-waste-driven product industries Note: The potential to create new plastics or Post Consumer Electronics Recycled Plastics (PCERPs) for a variety of uses is immense at this Step

    Step 8. Materials are distributed and both new and existing products are created from this new and semi-sustainable resource

    Step 9. Products are consumed and used and in most cases either resold or gifted or rendered useless

    Step 10. Products are again disposed of responsibly and the e-waste life cycle begins again

    Parts of this practice are currently in play. Plastics and metals are being recovered and reused domestically. However, we are currently exporting the most toxic and hard to handle elements to China and India. In the Far East, under loose to no regulation, these elements are poisoning soil and water systems and radically reducing the quality and longevity of human lives. We must take responsibility for our waste domestically and implement more appropriate means of collection, disposal when necessary, and e-recycling.

  • High Performance WorkspacesJuly 19, 2009

    We spend a great deal of time in our studio. If you are reading this, odds are quite good you do the same. Some recent opportunities have prompted us to consider the design, layout, flow, and thinking behind our studio on a whole new level.

    Determining what makes a workspace inspirational and productive is most certainly a science. Regardless, we've always considered spatial relations, the ensuing human integration, and the resultant output of a physical space on a much more intuitive level. At some point during our recent studio assessment we stumbled upon the idea of "high performance workspaces."

    While both the idea and the phrase, "high performance workspaces" are probably not new, we are going to focus on what we feel is a high performance workspace, since we believe we have one. While optimizing performance was certainly a consideration in the design of our space, we were intuitively naive to some of the performance enhancing components we subconsciously incorporated. At least, we've come to that conclusion upon closer inspection.

    It seems to us that the creation of an effective workspace hinges on understanding what keeps an individual or team motivated, productive, and performing collaboratively. A high degree of communication and subsequent knowledge of both individual and team psychology is required to maximize the design and build of a workspace. Listening to individual needs and desires, considering them thoroughly, and then possessing the capacity to manifest those needs into a physical space seems to be a prerequisite to designing what could arguably be called a "high performance workspace."

    Our meaning of high performance is probably different than most, at least today, where a "high performance workspace" more likely implies a comfortable, clean, healthy, family-friendly environment where one pleasantly spends their weekly forty hours. Our meaning of high performance is a little different and more closely incorporated with the notion of heightening and improving both individual and team output. In essence when we say, "high performance workspace," we're talking about a workspace that contributes not only to the total output, but more importantly to the quality of the output from within its walls.

    Without attempting to determine all of the subtle nuances inherent to a "high performance workspace," it seems these sort of inspirational spaces utilize space in a manner which maximizes potential energy. These work spaces seem to possess a degree of motivational tension. It's from this tension that the potential energy of a space morphs and becomes a more arguably kinetic creative energy. It is from this transition and exchange that creative impulses are heightened and great ideas are born. Without necessarily intending to do so we have realized that we designed and manifested a type of energy generating reservoir into our studio. It seems to most closely resemble a damn. It possesses all of the components of power generation, but requires to be fed. It needs fuel. We feed it. It fuels us. We feed it back. And, so goes the cycle of design in a high performance workspace.


  • Logology®2 The Wonderland of Logo Design - publication

    viction workshop ltd, Hong Kong - July 29, 2011

    Displaying more than 1600 logos from 500 designers worldwide, Logology®2 systematically contrasts theme, structure, composition and palette of the world's latest logo designs.

  • I Love Type Series (vol.3): I Love Bodoni - publication

    viction workshop ltd, Hong Kong - June 21, 2011

    Centering on the typeface, Bodoni and its variations in contemporary graphic design, I Love Bodoni celebrates a revival of a time-honoured typeface.

  • I Love Type Series (vol.4): I Love DIN - publication

    viction workshop ltd, Hong Kong - June 21, 2011

    Centering on the typeface, DIN and its variations in contemporary graphic design, I Love DIN celebreates a revival of a time-honoured typeface.

  • Communikey: Creative Climates - panel discussion

    ATLAS Black Box Theater, Boulder, Colorado - April 14, 2011

    A conversation exploring the relationship between art, creativity, and re-visioning a more sustainable world moderated by Lauren Higgins

  • One Day For Design - panel discussion

    Crossroads Theatre, Denver, Colorado - April 13, 2011

    A crossdisciplinary discussion questioning the future of design moderated by Matter Studio's Rick Griffith and hosted by AIGA & DOCA

  • Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Poster Show - exhibition

    Super Ordinary Gallery, Denver, Colorado - April 9, 2011

    Design and production of limited edition print series to benefit the Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief - All proceeds to the Red Cross

  • Denver Art Museum's Design After Dark, Light - exhibition

    Denver, Colorado - February 4, 2011

    Creation and donation of sculptural object entitled, Deceit for the annual fundraising auction on behalf of the Denver Art Museum - Awarded Best in Show

  • A Brief Design History: Cypher13 - lecture

    University of Colorado, Boulder | Fine Arts, Foundation Program - December 07, 2010

    On creating and growing a design studio, making art, and the future of of Cypher13.

  • Supergraphics, Unit Editions - publication

    London, United Kingdom - November 25 , 2010

    Inclusion of Cypher13's GOOD mural amongst work from the earliest days of the Supergraphics movement and that of contemporary practitioners.

  • 5 Rules for Mindful Creativity - interview

    99% by Behance, New York, NY - November, 15 2010

    Article by Carmel Hagen - Content contributions via interview by Cypher13, Kimbal Musk, and Tres Birds Workshop.
    read the article

  • Everything & Design - lecture

    University of Colorado, Boulder | ATLAS - October 21, 2010

    The current state and thought of cypher13 - where we started, where we've gone and where we're going.

  • FWA, Mobile of the Day - recognition

    The FWA, Litlington Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom - September 10, 2010

    The FWA Mobile of the Day recognizes HelvetiNote and names it the "Mobile of the Day" for September 12, 2010.

  • Computer Arts (Special iPad Edition) - publication

    Bath, United Kingdom - September 10 , 2010

    Behind the scenes, Designing HelvetiNote - cypher13 reveals the secrets of the studio's latest iPad offering.

  • ARTCRANK (Denver) - exhibition

    Lisa Koslowski Gallery, Denver, Colorado - September 4, 2010

    Production of "Tools," a 24 unit, 3 part series (8 units/series) of two color, 36" x 36" screen prints utilizing archival inks atop archival paper.

  • Los Logos: Compass - publication

    Die Gestalten Verlag GmbH & Co.KG, Berlin, Germany - August 30, 2010

    Inclusion of numerous logos and marks alongside works by some of the world's top identity designers.

  • KidsPatch x C13 - childrens creativity workshop

    Biennial of the Americas, Denver, Colorado - July 24 & 25, 2010

    A weekend of multi-media art making inside the Nature of Things exhibition with the KidsPatch team and 4 groups of children ranging from ages 5-12.

  • Limitless Potential - panel discussion

    Biennial of the Americas, Denver, Colorado - July 8, 2010

    An interdisciplinary creative conversation envisioning the opportunities lying at the place where art, design, sustainability, innovation, and community-centered thinking intersect.

  • The Nature of Things - exhibition

    Biennial of the Americas, Denver, Colorado - July 1, 2010

    United, a vinyl coated polyurethane foam-based sculptural seating arrangement comprised of 50 parts collectively making a map of 35 nations of the Americas.

  • Computer Arts Projects Issue #137 - publication

    Bath, United Kingdom - June 1, 2010

    Build a Geometric Typeface: cypher13 shows you how to make a strict hexagonal grid work hard.

  • HelvetiNote™ - iPad Application Release

    Boulder, Colorado - May 20, 2010

    HelvetiNote™ is the first and only iPad app designed and built specifically for designers to take notes in Helvetica. buy now

  • 2|EDGED Issue #6 - publication

    Athens, Attica, Greece - May 4, 2010

    Cover feature and in depth interview with cypher13 on process, ideation, and what's next. read the interview (page 166)

  • Create Denver Week - exhibiton

    CDW Headquarters, Denver, Colorado - April 10, 2010

    Design, build and integration of sculptural, "Rainbow Magic" intervention.

  • LogoLounge Master Library, Volume 1 - publication

    Rockport Publishers, Beverly Massachusettes - March 29, 2010

    Multiple cypher13 identities included amongst 3000 Initials & Crest Logos from LogoLounge by Catharine Fishel and Bill Gardner.

  • Sketchbot Custom Show - exhibiton

    My Plastic Heart, New York, New York - March 26, 2010

    Creation of "Evil" Sketchbot for the official launch of the new Sketchbot figure by NYC artist/animator Steve Talkowski.

  • Haiti Poster Project - exhibiton

    San Diego, California - March 17, 2010

    Design, production and donation of an edition of 40, 7-color screen prints utilizing earth friendly inks on 80lb 24" x 16" recycled paper. visit

  • C13 HEX Release - typeface

    YouWorkForThem - March 10, 2010

    Extra geometric in nature and intended predominantly for display and logotype utilities, C13 HEX was built atop an isometric triangular grid. buy now

  • Best Websites of 2009 ( - recognition

    The CSS Awards, Best Websites of 2009 - February 4, 2010

    1 of the top 20 websites of 2009 selected as extraordinary in design and inspirational in content. see the list

  • Best Websites of 2009 ( - recognition

    The CSS Awards, Best Websites of 2009 - February 4, 2010

    1 of the top 20 websites of 2009 selected as extraordinary in design and inspirational in content. see the list

  • RMCAD Studio Visit - lecture

    cypher13 design studio, Boulder, Colorado - February 12, 2010

    Student lecture/discussion focusing on design philosophy, full systems thinking, and the importance of process.

  • Biennial of the Americas - curation

    McNichols at Civic Center Park, Denver, Colorado - July 1 - 31, 2010

    Conceptual development of inaugural Biennial curatorial strategy and artist acquisition.

  • Biennial of the Americas - curation

    McNichols at Civic Center Park, Denver, Colorado - July 1 - 31, 2010

    Conceptual development of inaugural Biennial curatorial strategy and artist acquisition.

  • Denver Art Museum - Design After Dark, Skin - exhibiton

    Redline Gallery, Denver, Colorado - January 22, 2010

    Creation and donation of Magical Khufu : 823 for fundraising auction on behalf of the DAM's Department of Architecture, Design & Graphics.

  • Site of the Day ( - recognition

    The CSS Awards, Best Creative Website Portfolios of 2010 - January 18, 2010

    1 of 25 of the best creative website porfolios of 2009 - full of illustrations, inspirating layout and dynamic effects. see the list

  • AAF Utah Addy Awards - judging

    Salt Lake City, Utah - January 7 & 8, 2010

    One of five judges reviewing and scoring print, broadcast and interactive media for the 2010 Regional Addy Awards.

  • SBD001 Release - typeface

    HypeForType - January 5, 2010

    SBD001 is a technical display typeface based on a simple premise, "Live by the grid, die by the grid." buy now

  • C13 LCD Release - typeface

    HypeForType - January 5, 2010

    This super technical display typeface is now available through HypeForType LCD. buy now

  • Interview du Studio cypher13 - interview

    CYPRIEN.BE, Couvin, Belgium - December 14, 2009

    14 year old, up and coming Belgian design star, Cyprien Delire, interviews cypher13. in french / in english

  • C13 Six Pixels of Death Release - typeface

    YouWorkForThem - December 14, 2009

    Boasting a six pixel cap height and a five pixel x-height, this minimalist typeface was designed to execute only the most covert web opps. buy now

  • Square Footage 2 - exhibiton

    Plastic Chapel, Denver, Colorado - December 12, 2009

    Inclusion of "Grids" 16 - 12" x 12" grid-based paintings on wood. All of the grids utilized were designed by Carsten Nicolai for his seminal work Grid Index.

  • Bordo Bello 2 - exhibiton

    Andenken Gallery, Denver, Colorado - December 11, 2009

    "Skateboards Make For Smiles" installation at skateboard art fundraiser for Youth Design Denver and Access Gallery's local initiative, promoting the power of people with disabilities.

  • Start Your Own Studio - interview

    Advanced Photoshop, Dorset, England - November 16, 2009

    Inside information from cypher13 in issue #63 regarding how to start and manage your own design studio. read the interview

  • C13 LCD Release - typeface

    YouWorkForThem - November 18, 2009

    A super technical display typeface born of a desire to improve upon the mundane typography rendered via traditional liquid crystal displays. buy now

  • Information Technology & Communication - lecture

    University of Colorado, Boulder | TAM program - November 12, 2009

    A lecture on the evolution, work, workflow, and communicative progress of cypher13.

  • Brown Bag Lecture series | cypher13 - lecture

    Metropolitan State College of Denver, Denver - November 4, 2009

    A lecture on the evolution, workflow, and progress of cypher13.

  • Understanding Identity by cypher13 - lecture

    University of Colorado, Boulder | ATLAS - October 21, 2009

    A lecture on the nature of cypher13's thinking particularly as it pertains to their identity creation process.

  • Site of the Day ( - award

    The CSS Awards, Best Websites in the World - October 19, 2009

    The CSS Awards are given to the best CSS websites in the world.
    buy now

  • AIGA (Re)designAwards 2009 - awards design/creation

    MCA Denver, Denver, Colorado - September 23, 2009

    Design/build collaboration with Kristian Kluver. Creation of 26 handmade laser-engraved flatpack stools from reclaimed materials.

  • Business Earth - presentation

    Ignite Boulder 6, Boulder, Colorado - September 16, 2009

    A brief introduction to ecological economics aimed at highlighting the value of Mother Nature's free goods and services.

  • Creative Studio, cypher13 - interview

    SiteInspire, London, England - September 9, 2009

    Questions on origin of firm, Boulder, Co, ideal client, etc. read the interview

  • Design The 4th Bin - competition

    Valiant Technology, New York, New York - August 2, 2009

    Entry in an international competition to design a logo and a collection bin for electronic waste (e-waste) collection and recycling.

  • PechaKucha Night Denver Vol. 6 - presentation

    Buntport Theatre, Denver Colorado - July 21, 2009

    Bruce Mau opened and we closed with our presentation on "Creating Sustainable Culture."

  • Where We Work - publication

    Collins Design a division of Harper Collins - July 17, 2009

    Inclusion of cypher13 workspace in book of inspirational work environments and interiors from the world's leading creative agencies.

  • Logo Lounge 5 - publication

    Quayside Publishing - June 19, 2009

    Inclusion of logo work in book containing 2000 international identities by leading designers.

  • Vans: Off the Wall - publication

    Abrams Publishing, New York, New York - June 11, 2009

    Stories of sole from Vans originals - Inclusion of two pairs of cypher13 handpainted Vans Sk8 Hi originals.

  • ARTCRANK (Denver) - exhibition

    The Shoppe x The Fabric Lab x Neopolitan x The Plastic Chapel, Denver, Colorado - April 11, 2009

    Series of six screen printed Bicycle themed posters.

  • Bordo Bello - exhibition

    Access Gallery, Denver, Colorado - December 6, 2008

    Featured skateboard designers for mentorship-based student design initiative charity auction sponsored by AIGA.

  • Square Footage - exhibition

    Plastic Chapel, Denver, Colorado - November 8, 2008

    Creation of 12, 12" x 12" paintings for inclusion in "sq ft" themed group show.

  • Artism - Art for Autism - publication

    Birmingham, United Kingdom - October 3, 2008

    Illustration to help raise awareness on the topic of autism on behalf of The National Autistic Society.

  • White Space - live painting exhibition

    Design Within Reach, Boulder, Colorado - October 24, 2008

    One of five artists invited to produce a live painting as a charity fundraiser for the Boulder, Museum of Contemporary Art.

  • Talks on Design | Volume 1 - panel discussion

    MCA Denver, Denver, Colorado - September 19, 2008

    A creative conversation featuring Chris Beatty (Cultivator), Todd Berger (cypher13), Ian Coyle (Superheroes), and Norm Shearer (Cactus).

  • DIY Custom Toy Show - exhibition

    The Super Block (3100 E. Colfax) Denver, Colorado - March 8, 2008

    Inclusion of Intergalactic Space Traveler v2.0, custom munny guards and our very own "Goodbye Kitty."

  • Soft&Furry™ - exhibition

    Plastic Chapel, Denver, Colorado - September 13, 2008

    Creation and customization of 100 custom toys by acclaimed international artists/designers on the S&F platform.

  • Manifest Hope - exhibition

    Andenken Gallery, Denver, Colorado - September 12, 2008

    Sculptural addition to International group show to raise awareness and funding for the historic Barack Obama campaign.

  • cypher13 Presents Soft&Furry™ - interview

    ToyCyte, Jeremy Brautman, San Fracisco, CA - September 12, 2008

    Jeremy inquires about Soft&Furry™
    read the interview

  • Nocturnal Mockery 6 - exhibition

    Edifice Gallery, Colorado Springs, Colorado - July 5, 2008

    Three paintings exhibited in group show of Colorado street and graffiti artists.

  • Fantasy - publication

    New Web Pick Issue #15, Hong Kong, China - April 25, 2008

    Inclusion of illustration portfolio and feature studio interview.

  • Night Owls - exhibition

    D-Note, Arvada, Colorado - April 10, 2008

    Addition of three paintings based on blank character design for show guest curated by Markham Maes.

  • cypher13 Friendly Collaboration - interview

    The 99% - The Behance Network's think tank - September, 1, 2008

    Questions pertaining to our collaboration and workflow.
    read the interview

  • Design the Modern Board - exhibition

    Design Within Reach, Denver, Colorado - March 27, 2008

    Four snowboard designs for K2 and Design Within Reach snowboard design contest.

  • Shred Ready - exhibition

    Traveling Exhibition, USA - March, 13, 2008 - June 20, 2008

    Three customized kayak helmets based on shred ready blank helmet template.

  • The Greater Good - exhibition

    Texture Media, Boulder, Colorado - November 7, 2007

    Painting donated to charity fundraiser.

  • Shoe Shine - exhibition

    Block Building, Denver, Colorado - November 3, 2007

    Fours pairs of hand-painted sneakers and three sneaker themed paintings for non-profit fundraiser.

  • This is How We Roll - exhibition

    Installation Shoe Gallery, Boulder, Colorado - July 5, 2007

    Custom grip tape, sneaker and skate accessory show to benefit injured skateboarder Jeremiah Brooks.

  • Nocturnal Mockery 5 - exhibition

    Edifice Gallery, Colorado Springs, Colorado - June 11, 2007

    Six paintings exhibited in group show of Colorado street and graffiti artists.

  • Toofy Film Festival - live art exhibition

    JoyEngine, Boulder, Colorado - September 6, 2007

    Live wheatpasting of Toofy themed art themed art for film festival pre-party.

  • Space Travelers &Other Affiliated Shit - exhibition

    Installation Shoe Gallery, Boulder, Colorado - August 30, 2007

    Solo exhibit of personal works by 1/3 of cypher13.

  • Untitled - exhibition

    Cafe M, Boulder, Colorado - May 31, 2007

    Solo exhibit of personal works by 1/3 of cypher13.

  • Haute Fashion - exhibition

    The Fabric Lab, Denver, Colorado - March 31, 2007

    Addition of fashion-themed paintings into group show.

  • The Friends Show - exhibition

    Andenken Gallery, Denver, Colorado - November 3, 2006

    Multiple paintings exhibited in group show of underground Colorado artists.


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