Happy Birthday, American Academy


It is a rare relationship that endures 15 years of doing business together.

Our relationship with the American Academy in Berlin has exhibited exactly this endurance, owing much to the shared vision with Dr. Gary Smith, the Academy’s executive director, who is stepping down from his post at the end of 2014, after seventeen years at the helm.

Together we have published the Academy’s most prominent publication, the Berlin Journal, 22 times, beginning in fall 2002, and twice per year thereafter. The Berlin Journal has changed format and been redesigned twice. Distribution has gone from 2000 to 6000, and it has always been printed in Berlin by one of the city’s finest art book printers, Ruksaldruck.

What started as a phone call to our San Francisco office, then in South Park in 2001, has developed into years of additional projects that has fed our multicultural offices and educated us all to the real creative (and political and economic) power of the American-German alliance.

As the office developed, so did our desire to support the Academy. We donated half of our work to support the efforts of the Academy, believing that Berlin was and still is the most dynamic creative and cultural city in Europe, and that an American public needed to know there was more to this great city than World War II, the Cold War, and its pained history. Berlin at the early part of this millennium was coming into being yet again, and our work with the American Academy, we hope, gave visual voice to this exciting awakening.

We’ve weathered American presidencies, terrorist attacks, and German winters. Like Berlin, The American Academy has grown up. And it’s grown us up, too, which is the best thing one can ask from any relationship – business or personal. 

Image: Mitch Epstein, Checkpoint Charlie, 2008. Used as a cover image for Berlin Journal 18