Founded in 1991 by Portland artists as a creative
resource, today Plazm is an award-winning design firm led by creative
director Joshua Berger. The annual Plazm magazine publishes challenging
and innovative art, design, cultural, and literary works and is
distributed worldwide. For clients including Nike, LucasFilm, ESPN,
Burgerville, The Cooley Gallery, and Portland Center Stage, the design
studio builds brand identities, advertising, custom typography, and
interactive and retail experiences. The studio's depth of experience with
editorial design is showcased in the Plazm-authored XXX: The Power of
Sex in Contemporary Design and other books.
ID magazine listed Plazm as one of the world's 40 most influential design firms. Numerous publications and award shows feature Plazm’s work, including the 100 show, AIGA national show, the Art Director's Club, Eye, Communication Arts, Graphis, and IDEA. Plazm received the Creative Resistance award from Adbusters in 2001. The magazine's complete catalog is included in the permanent collections of the Denver Art Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Steven Heller's interview with Joshua Berger reveals more about what's inside Plazm.
Joshua Berger, Creative Director
Joshua Berger is a founder and creative director of Plazm. Recognized by numerous design publications and award shows, he received the Gold Medal at the Leipzig Bookfair for his collaboration with John C Jay on the book Soul of the Game, and the Gold Medal at Portland Design Festival for XXX: The Power of Sex in Contemporary Design. His art and design work have been exhibited by The Museum of Sex in New York, ZGRAF Festival in Zagreb, Croatia, the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art and featured in Eye, Graphis, Communication Arts, Idn, and IDEA. He was recently a finalist for the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards at the Portland Art Museum and is a board co-chair at the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls. Contact: josh [at] plazm.com.
Jon Raymond, Editor
Jon is a writer living in Portland. He is the author of The Half-Life, a novel, and Old Joy, a story that became a feature film. Formerly an editor at Tin House, his writing appears regularly in Artforum, Bookforum, and other publications. Jon also co-wrote the film Wendy and Lucy starring Michelle Williams. Both Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy are based on short stories published in Jon's 2008 collection, "Livability," which won the Oregon Book Award's Ken Kesey Award for Fiction in 2009. “Meek's Crossing,” a film co-written by Jon, was recently screened at Cannes and at Sundance. Read the Spring 2009 Bear Deluxe interview with Jon Raymond.
Tiffany Lee Brown, Editor
Tiffany is a writer, performer, and interdisciplinary artist based in Portland. She co-edits Plazm magazine and is the founding editor of 2GQ, a non-profit collective producing literary and performative mayhem. Her creative and nonfiction work appear in UTNE, Bookforum, Bust, and other publications. A limited edition, collectors’ edition of her book, A Compendium of Miniatures, with book artist Clare Carpenter, is available at www.plazm.com/books.
PrincipalsJoshua Berger is managing partner and creative director of Plazm (see bio above). Niko Courtelis, creative director in broadcast advertising, heads our east coast office. Courtelis specializes in broadcast work, overseeing recent campaigns for RCA, Heineken, and Mass Mutual, among many others. A sampling of his broadcast work can be found at www.nikocourtelis.com. Contact: niko [at] plazm.com, josh [at] plazm.com.
HistoryPlazm magazine was founded in 1991 as an artist resource. The magazine gained international recognition for its experimentation with typography in the 1990s and was one of the forerunners of the small digital type foundry. Guest contributors have included David Byrne, David Carson, Coco Fusco, John C Jay, Guillermo Gomez Peña, Martha Rosler, Rick Valicenti, Why Not Associates, and many others. A full list of contributors can be found here. Plazm magazine’s complete catalog is part of the permanent collections at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Denver Art Museum.
In the early years we held live music events with bands like Crackerbash, Dead Moon, Hazel, Pond, and The Spinanes, raising funds for our fledgling magazine, and shipped magazines from a beat-up VW van. In alphabetical order, the founding members were: Patrick Bardel, Joshua Berger, Karynn Fish, Neva Knott, Andrew McFarlane, Rueben Niesenfeld. View some of the old event posters here.
Plazm’s magazine editors have been Neva Knott (issues #1-9), Yariv Rabinovitch (#10-17), Jon Raymond (#18-30), and Tiffany Lee Brown (#28-30). The work of Sarah Gottesdiener is indispensable to the current Plazm editorial team. Also, a shout-out to Stanley Moss—a founder of Bomb magazine—who gave us lots of advice circa 1995-7.
Plazm Fonts was founded in 1993 by Joshua Berger and Pete McCracken. In 2006 we spun off Plazmfonts as an independent concern run by Pete McCracken. You can reach Pete here.
Plazm Design was founded in 1995 as a conscious effort to apply our creative process and collective talents to serve commercial clients and social causes. Through innovative approaches to design and strategy, we create print, interactive, branding, display, and retail solutions for clients including Nike and MTV. View our portfolio here.
Social ResponsibilityAt Plazm, we believe that designers, writers, and artists have a responsibility to the world. We know how to use the tools of creativity and communication; we can use them for social change along with personal vision. As individuals and collectively, we work toward environmental, social, and political causes and contribute our services to organizations promoting arts, culture, social change, and sustainability.