Polymode is a studio that leads the edge of contemporary graphic design through poetic research, learning experiences, and making cool shit for clients in the cultural sphere, innovative businesses, and community-based organizations.

Our specialties include books, curation, education, exhibition, identities, interfaces, publications, visual design, websites, workshops, and writing. We operate between the complexity of designed systems and lived experience—our core principles of visual expression, media adaptability, and typographic function.

As a bi-coastal, LGBTQ+, and Minority-owned studio with offices in Inglewood, California, and Raleigh, North Carolina, Polymode ignites change to create social and sustainable impact. We operate with the ethos of Studio as family.

Our clients include Art Gallery of Ontario, City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, David Kordansky Gallery, Hauser & Wirth, Institute of Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, Mark Bradford at the Venice Biennale, MOCA, MoMA, The New Museum, Phaidon Press, Phoenix House, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Orange County Museum of Art, and Studio Museum in Harlem.

Poetic Research

Poetic research takes into account the factual with the formal, the universal with the outsider, the sacred, the mystical, the cerebral prophet, and the fool. Let it be lofty, let it magical and ancestral, let it be sensory, let it be funny with a divine kiss of queerness. It holds the space of a project searching for the details in archives, footnotes, and marginalia within the great force of history. Finding the tone of voice and incorporating form as a mode of thought—true, but it also just comes down to us wanting to make cool shit. Our poetics unearth and amplify; remember connections and lineages; shapes grids, structures information, and clarifies content. It is not all woo woo, sometimes it asks how many words fit, what is a realistic timeline, or how to save money. Research guides Polymode and its clients in making with a question.

Silas Munro

Partner

Silas Munro is a partner of Polymode, a studio that leads the edge of contemporary graphic design through poetic research, learning experiences, and making cool shit for clients in the cultural sphere, innovative businesses, and community-based organizations. Past collaborations include the City of LA Mayor’s Office, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, Mark Bradford at the Venice Biennale, and MoMA. Munro’s writing appears in the book, W. E. B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America published by Princeton Architectural Press. The book is covered by articles in Smithsonian Magazine, The New Yorker, and Black Perspectives. Munro has been a visiting critic at MICA, RISD, and Yale. He is particularly interested in the often unaddressed post-colonial relationship between design and marginalized communities. Munro holds an MFA from CalArts and a BFA from RISD, where he met Brian Johnson and began collaborating. Munro is Founding Faculty and Chair Emeritus at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Brian Johnson

Partner

Brian Johnson is a partner of Polymode where he focuses on creative direction, design production, writing, and teaching. Born into a family of printers, Johnson is deeply invested in the production of good design without the expense of sacrificing our humanity or environment. He is a member of the Monacan Nation and holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. He has guest lectured at the School of Visual Arts, Washington University, University of California Santa Barbara, and the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. His recent clients have been Glenn Kaino Studio, the Getty Museum, Studio Museum Harlem, Pulitzer Art Foundation, Phaidon Press, The New Museum, and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum where his writing appears in Willi Smith: Street Couture. His most recent publication: Queering the Grid: Reading Codes in Dan Friedman’s Teachings (with Silas Munro) has led him to his current design writing research on Friedman’s 1994, Radical Manifesto, which will be approaching its thirty year anniversary.

Randa Hadi

Senior Designer

Randa Hadi is a senior designer at polymode studio, her interests lie in a space where architecture meets graphic design — an area of design process she describes as experimental, narrative, and speculative. She is fascinated by shadows, reflections, and color, which embody both the material and immaterial appurtenances (cultural, ecological, memories, collective beliefs, stories) – bringing the invisible to the forefront. As a Kuwaiti designer, her work explores ways to (re)think the archives as a space to heal, dream, and imagine a better future and interweaving them with themes relating to Arab identity, belonging, collective memories and making, and cultural visual language through design.

Email her at randa@polymode.studio

Michelle Lamb

Senior Designer

Michelle Lamb is a senior designer at polymode studio, her work is rooted in creative problem solving and typographic detail with a strong focus on the relationship between ideas and reality. As a designer, ballet dancer, and yogi Michelle’s work seeks to improve the connection between people and their visual world. She worked with poly-mode in the exhibition and publication design of Willi Smith: Street Couture for Cooper Hewitt and her freelance includes work for Nestle, LA Philharmonic, Pitzer College Art Galleries, Green Dragon Office, and the Santa Monica School District. Michelle received her BFA in Communication Arts from OTIS College of Art and Design with a minor in Book Arts.

Email her at michelle@polymode.studio

Audrey Davies

Studio Manager

Audrey Davies is the Studio Manager for Polymode. She has a hand in most of the practical studio operations, including studio correspondence, timetables, client outreach, project management, writing and more.

Email her at audrey@polymode.studio

Edgar Casarin

Design Intern

Edgar Casarin is a Design Intern at Polymode. His work includes social media production and planning, web design, and motion graphics. Edgar played a role in the production and promotion of BIPOC Design History’s second chapter, Incomplete Latinx Stories of Deseño Gráfico. He is also currently a student studying Communication Design at Otis College of Art and Design, expecting to complete his education by May of 2022.