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People To Watch

rafi bernstein

rafi bernstein


At a young age, when he chose his favorite sports team because of their logos, Rafi Bernstein realized he was drawn to the world of design. A few decades later, he received his BFA in Graphic Design from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Since then, he moved up the ranks at a boutique design agency in Manhattan, last holding the position of senior designer, while developing his freelance career and client base. His clients have ranged from medical institutions and health insurance companies to universities, not-for-profit organizations, and law firms including Bryan Cave LLP, Columbia University Medical Center, EmblemHealth, Polytechnic Institute of New York University, Princeton University, The Professional Golfers’ Association of America, and Ronald McDonald House of New York. Bernstein’s expertise runs the gamut from identity, conceptual development, and art direction to printing, prepress, production, and website design. In addition, his design work has won a number of design awards and has been published in Print and GDUSA. His paintings, silkscreens, prints, photographs, and computer art have been exhibited and sold in private exhibitions throughout New York City. In his free time, he can be found cycling and exploring New York City with his wife, son, and daughter.

Where were you born, and where do you live now? How does that affect your design sensibility?
I was born in Jerusalem to American parents and have been living in New York City for the past 13 years. Though Jerusalem may seem small, it is full of cultural, religious, and linguistic differences – and growing up there is an exercise in learning to communicate with people from lots of different backgrounds. In addition, switching between left-to-right (English) and right-to-left (Hebrew) has made me a better visual communicator.

Who would you say is the most influential graphic designer of the past 50 years? How have they influenced your design?
Up until the epic failure of the iOS Map App, Apple, Inc. has been one of the biggest influencers on the design world. Many companies are trying to look “more like Apple.”

What is your greatest strength and weakness as a designer or design manager?
Both my greatest strength and weakness is getting too wrapped up in a project; over the years, I have learned to pause and take a few steps back.

Favorite Color?
PMS 021 (Today, anyway!)
Favorite Typeface?
Favorite App?
Google Maps
Favorite TV Shows?
Game of Thrones, Weeds, Dexter
Favorite Book?
Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything
Favorite Movies?
Fight Club
Favorite Gadget?
iPhone (or MacBook Pro if it counts as a gadget)
Mantra or Saying You Live By?
But does it look good?