Ultimo Inc. Design Portfolio


Studio Projects thru 2023

Studio Projects thru 2023

Green & Socially Responsible Design

These “labors of love” projects were created as year-end gifts to clients and colleagues with the intention of making lesser-known, local Non-Profits more visible to our corporate clients. Given to all our clients at the holidays each year, they were also accompanied by a financial gift from Ultimo to each of these wonderful groups. None of these projects could have happened without the talent, kindness and brilliance of Christine Cortina, Pixeltone/Vik Patel, Julie Forbes, Shannon Rogan, Joyce Rogan, Jo Obarowski, Adrienne Assaff and the Cynthia Brown Studio.
See the story: How Design Can Make a Difference

The Tree Gift

The Tree Gift created for the Sempervirens Fund. Passion for environmental issues in 1988 led us to the first studio project given to clients and friends for the end-of-year holidays. Along with receiving these small “plantable” pines, we helped our colleagues to learn about the Sempervirens Fund, a reforestation organization in California. See Sempervirens Fund for more.

All Photography by
Cynthia Brown Studio.

Greeting Card that accompanied the Tree Gift:
We printed on one side of a folded piece of vellum, and glued real pine needles between the sheets. All the cards carried the woodsy scent of pine, while they charted the “journey to fruition” of a dream: Subconscious, Inspiration, Consciousness, Imagination, Transformation, Fruition.

The Bread Gift

The Bread Gift created for Isaacs Center Meals-on-Wheels ”How Making Bread is Liking Making Design” was a symbolic statement that connected this project to our chosen non-profit for this particular year. (“Design, like bread, is so often overlooked!”) The Isaacs Center, a weekend Meals-on-Wheels program for seniors in NYC was our focused non-profit. See Isaacs Center for more.

Greeting Card that accompanied the Bread Gift:

To continue with the bread theme, “The Qualities and Potential of a Single Stalk of Wheat” contained a real wheat stalk on every card and the following copy: Nourishment, Contentment, Sustenance, Abundance and Gratification. These words perfectly conveyed our holiday sentiments.

The Coin Gift

A non-profit organization called Common Cents inspired this studio holiday gift in 1990. Common Cents was an organization that collected pennies and small change in schools and communities to use for positive local causes. Once our clients and friends ate the candy inside (and learned all about money from the label), they were encouraged to fill the cans with loose change and call Common Cents to pick up their donations.

The year we created this project, Common Cents had collected over $200,000 in pennies that went directly to community projects.

Winner of an AIGA Design Award.

Greeting Card that accompanied the Coin Gift:

Keeping with the “small change” idea, how easy is it to forget all the small, seemingly insignificant blessings in our lives? Using the notion that you tie a string around your finger to remember something, this interactive card came with six strings to tie through die cut holes, and blank spaces to write down personal blessings so they would be remembered.

The Book Gift

The Book Gift was created for Elders Share the Arts, an inter-generational group who use oral history, theater and poetry as teaching tools. Inspired by my father’s love of keeping family records, our version of a family history book was hand-sewn by designer Shannon Rogan in Japanese binding style and came in a burlap bag to hold photos and memorabilia, made by Joyce Rogan. Organic banana paper and sandpaper were letterpressed on the cover, creating a wonderful textural experience. All the letterpressed parts of the project done by Soho Letterpress. See Elders Share the Arts for more.

The Pillow Gift

“Guide and Artifact for the Modern Dreamer” was created for Urban Women’s Retreat, a safehouse for women who are the victims of domestic violence. The Pillow gift was created to offer the dreamer in all of us some guidance, and to educate the recipient about this life-saving Community group in NYC. Inside, it contained an Eco filling and Lavender leaves. See Urban Women’s Retreat for more.

Cards in a pocket on the back give dream facts and trivia and provided room to write down your own dreams.

The Candle Gift

The Candle Gift was created for two different but related non-profits: Fresh Youth Initiatives and Union Settlement. They were both grassroots community groups that help to “light the way” in their communities in NYC. These wooden, silkscreened wall plaques hold a candle and a message about spiritual illumination. Illustrations by Julie Forbes.

See Fresh Youth Initiatives for more.

See Union Settlement for more.

Greeting Card that accompanied the Candle Gift:

In the spirit of brightness, each greeting card held a book of matches printed with a Zen proverb: “A dunce searched endlessly for fire with a lighted torch. If he had known what fire was, he would have cooked his rice much sooner”.

The Answer Man Can

“The Answer Man Can” was created for East New York Urban Youth Corps and is filled with the wisdom of ninety different responses taken from stuff like ancient wisdom texts, Numerology and the stuff your father used to say! You just ask a question out loud, close your eyes and pull some smarts out of the can!

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