Friends of Modern Dog


This is a slight detour from my usual class-related posts, but it’s important.

Friends of Modern Dog
Modern Dog is a design firm in Seattle. Owners Robynne Raye and Michael Strassburger were among the first designers I saw lecture as a student in the mid 1990s — my review of their presentation was my first published piece of design writing. When I was first asked to write a column for STEP magazine many years later, Robynne was the first person I interviewed. Robynne has always been extremely generous to young designers. When I’ve sent students and former interns her way, she has always made time (lots of time) to review their work and welcome them to the Modern Dog studio. She is also a teacher.

Over the years Modern Dog has been a good friend to their local AIGA (and supported the national organization with time, talent and money). Though based in Seattle, they have generously contributed to AIGA San Francisco fundraisers, and recently created a custom skateboard deck for a charity auction organized by one of our clients. In short, Modern Dog has been a good friend to me, to AIGA and to design in general.

What Goes Around Comes Around
All that generosity, openness and goodness shouldn’t go unrewarded. Today, it’s time to pay it back. After more than a year of trying to reach a settlement with Target and Disney over their alleged copying of Modern Dog designs (more on that here), the case is now going to litigation. Modern Dog is a small company — two partners, a few designers and a couple of dogs. Disney is, well, Disney. And Target? Well, they’re Target. The case is going to be expensive and it’s already taking a toll. This is where we come in. Where we all come in.

Modern Dog has launched a crowd-funding effort to help offset the cost of the court battle. If they can afford to fight the case I have no doubt they will win. One look at this video will tell you why. And if they win, we all win. Modern Dog’s stand against copyright infringement benefits all designers and anyone who makes a living by creating.

So, if you can live a day without a Starbucks, consider pledging $5 to their cause today. If you can go a week, how about $25? Give more if you can, less if it’s all you can do right now. The important thing is that we as a creative community stand with our friends, Modern Dog, as they fight for what’s right for all of us.

Donate here. Tell your friends.

Thank you.


9/14/12: reports on Modern Dog’s plight