If you’re like me and think you don’t want to work for huge international advertising agencies, it can be hard to get in touch with excellent mom-and-pop type studios. I know I was confused and discouraged–their websites might only talk about the two head people and not at all about how to contact them with an inquiry. But I was given some great advice in Portfolio class yesterday by Professor Kantrowitz, which is, “Just ask!” Send them your stuff, ask if they need help. They might be too small to have really good infrastructure for posting openings they might have, or they might not realize they need you–until they see your work. It never hurts, it could help your networking, and basically, what do you have to lose? Be bold.

Here are some great design studios that I’m currently being bold with (fingers crossed):

1. The Heads of State 

These two guys from Tyler have been tearing it up in the design world for 10 years now, winning awards and working with big names like BBDO, NPR, Nickelodeon, Drive-Thru and Capitol Records, American Express–their work is diverse, unique and just damned good. They’re having a talk tonight at First Unitarian for 5 $ with student ID (which I am on the waitlist for), talk about a networking opportunity.

2. Aesthetic Apparatus

If you feel like going to Minneapolis, check out these people. Heck, check them out anyway; I’ve mentioned them before because of their great work with music posters, but they do everything from packaging to print to illustration, racking up design awards. Again two guys that met in school.

3. Invisible Creature

Hailing from Seahurst, WA, Invisible Creature is prolific in posters, apparel, branding, packaging and even animation. These guys are brothers; their dad used to be an illustrator at NASA. I mean, come on.

4. Methane Studios

I have been meaning to make a post about Methane since last semester. They are great, great great–do yourself a favor and get on their mailing list just for some inbox design goodies when you least expect it. They do posters, packaging, etc like the others, but have this touch of whimsy that they somehow use to make each of their clients come alive uniquely, every time.

5. Oh Yeah Studios

I have been joking about moving to Sweden for a while now, but these guys are in Oslo, Norway and they are amazing. Christina Magnussen and Hans Christian Øren met in school and fireworks apparently went off, (seriously Temple, where is my design soulmate? Apparently I only have a couple more months to find them…). Since then they’ve worked with clients huge (Toyota, Addidas)  and tiny ( Restaurant Eik, somewhere in Oslo with a lot of vowels).

Methane Studios' poster for Portlandia