Design / Roundups / Web development

10 Brooklyn design firms you should know

In a borough full of creative folks, here's whose work you should be following right now.

App work from L+R. (Screenshot)

Technical.ly’s Editorial Calendar explores a different topic each month. The April 2017 topic is design. These stories explore people and firms making new, inventive and beautiful things in each of our five markets. This month’s Editorial Calendar in Brooklyn is underwritten by Small Planet. The stories were not reviewed by Small Planet before publication. Learn more about our advertising options here.

One of Brooklyn’s main competitive advantages is the creativity of the people who live and work here.

Many of the world’s best looking products and advertisements are born here, so it’s worth getting acquainted with some of the most impressive tech-focused design companies in the borough.

Tina Roth Eisenberg

Eisenberg is something of a celebrity in the design world, known by her nom de plume, swissmiss. She’s the founder of temporary tattoo startup Tattly, the app TeuxDeux and also founded the coworking space FRIENDS.


The "Highlights" LP cover, front and back. (Screenshot)

The “Highlights” LP cover, front and back. (Screenshot)

CHIPS is a go-to for those looking for a very trendy look. The firm did the cover of Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl and the album art for Highlights by indie band Tanlines. Based in Williamsburg, the “studio for design and development” is made up of Dan Shields, Teddy Blanks and Adam Squires. Blanks has appeared several times in these web pages, with his side projects the Periodic Table of Trash and the Dutch Masters oil painting-themed emoji pack Rejoinders.

Small Planet

Small Planet's Spot On app for Planned Parenthood. (Courtesy image)

Small Planet’s Spot On app for Planned Parenthood. (Courtesy image)

Dumbo’s Small Planet has worked with Brooklyn startups like Amplify, mega startups like FanDuel, nonprofits like Planned Parenthood and corporate giants like Disney on developing apps. The firm has more than 30 employees, according to LinkedIn. The firm had a table at our recent NET/WORK job fair and, full disclosure, is underwriting this month’s coverage of design in Brooklyn.

Danielle Trofe

Inside Danielle Trofe's studio at Industry City. (Photo by April Joyner)

Inside Danielle Trofe’s studio at Industry City. (Photo by April Joyner)

Danielle Trofe designs furniture out of mushrooms. Her mushroom lampshades form the basis of her new lighting collection, called MushLume, available on her website. More than 100 of her lampshades are on display at the new 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. Trofe is currently in residence at Industry City, the Sunset Park industrial complex that’s angling to be tech hub.


Pensa's Street Charge project in Brooklyn Bridge Park. (Courtesy photo)

Pensa’s Street Charge project in Brooklyn Bridge Park. (Courtesy photo)

Based in Dumbo and founded by the husband-and-wife team of Marco Perry and Kathy Larchian, Pensa has created some bizarre, yet practical projects in the past, like a diaper-making machine, desktop wire bender DIWire, and Street Charge, a solar-powered cellphone charging station in Brooklyn. We interviewed Perry this past summer on his work habits.


Che-Wei Wang, Taylor Levy and child show off their pendant light.

Che-Wei Wang, Taylor Levy and child show off their pendant light. (Courtesy GIF)

Another husband-and-wife team, CW&T, aka Che-Wei Wang and Taylor Levy, have run their small design firm in Brooklyn for the last several years. Earlier this year they completed their fifth successful Kickstarter campaign for the Key Wrangler, a carabiner designed to better organize your key ring. Their previous Kickstarter, a series of 3D-printed pendant lamps, raised a whopping 12,000 percent of its Kickstarter goal.

Frank Chimero

Frank Chimero is big on normalness.

Frank Chimero is big on normalness. (Courtesy image)

Frank Chimero is a one-man design shop whose work has been used by NPR, Nike and the New York Times. He wrote The Shape of Design, a self-published handbook on design that was reviewed by The Atlantic and by Brainpickings. We covered his recent blog post, about why normalness is underrated.


The Ollie Chair by RockPaperRobot.

The Ollie Chair by RockPaperRobot. (Courtesy GIF)

RockPaperRobot is a New Lab-based product design firm founded by Jessica Banks. The company’s premier product is the Ollie Chair, an upgrade on the traditional folding chair. The Ollie Chair raised an eye-popping $287,000 on Kickstarter earlier this year.


Ryan Regnier (left) and Alex Levin (center) make up L+R.

Ryan Regnier (left) and Alex Levin (center) make up L+R. (Courtesy photo)

L+R, which stands for (Alex) Levin and (Ryan) Riegner “kicks ass and/or takes names.” The Dumbo firm specializes in design research and technology, and their work has been used by Amazon, Global Citizen Festival, Newell Brands and Unilever, as well as many smaller startups. L+R has also been a nominee for our Brooklyn Innovation Awards.

Work & Co.

From Work & Co.'s Virgin America case study.

From Work & Co.’s Virgin America case study. (Courtesy image)

Work & Co. designs digital products and services with a client list that includes Apple, Facebook and Google. Not bad. Based in Dumbo, the company also has offices in Portland and Rio de Janeiro, and employs 207 people. According to the company, “We’re ‘top-heavy’ on purpose; in our experience, senior, hands-on talent creates the best digital products and services.”

Companies: Small Planet / Pensa
Series: Brooklyn

Knowledge is power!

Subscribe for free today and stay up to date with news and tips you need to grow your career and connect with our vibrant tech community.

Technically Media