Issue No. 35
— September 2017






Digital trend publication
blending a mix of culture,
insights and data.

A trend product by





Sometimes I think of culture as more of a feeling than a thing. Sure, it's defined by the generations (we see you, Gen Z), the trends and the pop culture... but it also encompasses the pure sense of "yeah, I get it. Something's happening here." And that's something you just feel. It's more than just a Champion sweatshirt on the homepage of (brb, off to buy one, though.)


As the founder of a firm that focuses on how culture plays a part in marketing, this issue is always one I love dearly.  It's an opportunity to tap into all verticals of the subject: from movements in creativity, to how culture plays an integral part in the success of internal organizations. It's an opportunity to gut-check that feeling of the undercurrents that drive the trends. So go on, dive in.







Editor's Letter


“What would it be like to have not only color vision but culture vision, the ability to see the multiple worlds of others.”

Mary Catherine Bateson





Dig into the issue by clicking on the links below!



In Defense of the Uncool

Are people, and brands, so focused on what's new and what's next that we forget about what's now? This trend expert breaks down how brands can successfully tap into cultures by paying attention to the normal.


— Rebecca McQuigg Rigal



Art for Instagram

If you go to a gallery or an art exhibit, it’s more common to see fellow visitors posing for photos, snapping selfies and staring at their phones in search of the perfect filter, than simply contemplating in the pieces. Has social media ruined the art world?


 — Annie Francl



Two Birds, One Stone: When Brand Culture Doubles as a Pr Strategy

With the rise of start-ups and millennial driven businesses, it seems company culture has gone beyond casual Fridays and a Keurig in the office. What have we learned from BrewDog, a UK based craft beer company? You know your brand is doing something right when it gains massive media attention.


— Delanie Billman



Visual Artist Mariano PEccinetti

We interviewed Mariano Peccinette, a visual artist and musician based in Mendoza, Argentina. His work can be found throughout The Culture Issue. 



Matte Black's Guide to Brand Culture

Looking to find what makes your brand special? We're breaking down how to unleash your brand's culture.


 — Micah Heykoop



Culture As A Profession: What Does It Mean?

We spoke with two "culture" professionals to see what they do, what's most important when it comes to "culture" at a company, and how their roles differ.







A Guide to hospitality with Chillhouse Founder Cyndi Ramirez

What does it take to open a hospitality business in a bustling city? Our friend Cyndi Ramirez is here to share her insights. On this episode, we chat with Cyndi about her recent business Chillhouse, a salon and coffeeshop hybrid in NYC. Tune in as we chat her career history, opening Chillhouse, and her 5 tactics for building a fruitful business.





“If we are to preserve culture we must continue to create it."  

—Johan Huizinga


See what the Shape Shift Report team dug up this month!




The Creative Independent

I was once working with a musician who had a personal credo. Well, it was the credo of an old professor, that he had taken as his own. 


"Nothing is gospel. Everything is useful." 


Simple, and to the point. Having a singular and limited perspective might inform your art work, but never expanding beyond that tiny window might ultimately limit the power of your work. Ever feel like you want to get inside the mind spirals of creatives, across a variety of disciplines? In what's become a daily ritual for me, I navigate over to The Creative Independent to read about creative disciplines that are foreign to me. This website, created by Kickstarter, features interviews with artists and creatives across every discipline imaginable. One morning you might be getting inside the head of photographer Allen Frame. The next, you're wandering the cranial chasms of Henry Rollins or Mark Duplass or Tori Amos. And it's all useful. 


Also, it's ad-free. Which is pretty cool. 


— Nolan Goff, Content Director at Matte Black





Representation matters. Unfortunately, especially in this day and age, people of color still struggle to find themselves in the media - especially when it comes to the digital content front. Enter TONL, a site co-founded by Street Etiquette's Joshua Kissi, that aims to diversify the stock photography space as we know it. The freshly-launched site features photography collections that tell the stories of diverse people and experiences around the world. TONL's driving force is that "photography and storytelling can help humanize and hopefully diminish the stereotypes and prejudice against black and brown people, especially." TONL is challenging stock photography as we know it, and pushing traditional creators to think outside of the box, outside of what they may think is familiar.


Because, as TONL says on their homepage, "diversity leads to innovation."


 Aria Davis, Integrated Marketing Manager at Matte Black and Producer of SESSIONS




Co-living is Making a Comeback

The idea of sharing spaces is far from new. Shared work spaces have been on the rise for the past few years. With co-working set ups like weWork - people are opting out of more traditional office spaces in lieu of collaborative communal work environments.


I guess it should be no surprise that the trend would continue to include collaborative communal living spaces as well. As with all layers of our culture, the way we live and inhabit a space is also cyclical. Drawing inspiration from intentional co-living communities that were developed postwar, as well as the single-gender residence hotels of the early 20th century - properties like weLive, among others - are taking New York by storm and I have to say that I can definitely see the appeal. These high rises are essentially self contained neighborhoods for like minded people. Communal kitchens, theaters, libraries and regularly hosted events like rooftop yoga a craft night or bar crawl are just some of the draw. 


Read more from the New York Times.


— Jesse Ligo, Art Director at Matte Black





Chelsea Matthews


Managing Editor
Delanie Billman


Contributing Editor
Micah Heykoop


Aria Davis



Mariano Peccinetti




Rebecca McQuiqq Rigal

For well over a decade, Rebecca been uncovering trends and providing consumer insights, market intelligence, strategic consulting and content ideation, creation and curation services to forward-thinking agencies, organizations and Fortune 500 companies. 


Childhood comfort: My collection of Cabbage Patch dolls

Go-to karaoke song: “Fast Car” by, Tracy Chapman

Dream dinner guest: Jesus

City to escape to: Palm Springs. It’s just so easy in every way…

Someone to follow on Instagram: @thejungalow makes me happy (plus I’m in a perpetual state of home decoration mode)


Annie Francl

Annie is a former Matte Black graphic design intern who is beginning her senior year at Loyola Marymount University. She is passionate about visual story telling and traveling. Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, she grew up in mountains and still looks for every opportunity to explore the great outdoors. She is an avid doodler and lover of pine trees, who is always down for a good cup of tea.


City to escape to: Sun Valley, Idaho

Last playlist listened to on Spotify: Halsey, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom

Comfort food: Tomato bisque

Night in or night out? Night in! Wine night with the girls all the way

Nasty habit: Looking at my phone in bed before I go to sleep




Delanie Billman

Delanie is a London-based Marketing Manager at Matte Black and the Managing Editor of the Shape Shift Report. She likes reality television, burrata cheese and rap music.


Bingeing on Nextflix: Just finished Ozark..My oh my!

Childhood comfort: 

Christmas with the fam

City to escape to: Anywhere on the Med

Choice dinner guest: Spencer Pratt

Night in or night out: In!


Mariano Peccinetti

Mariano is a visual artist and musician based in Mendoza, Argentina. His work represents a portal to another dimension that we can go and lose in our most expansive interior to enjoy a world that is scattered among thick clouds of ambiguity. He has done work for GQ, GUCCI, Urban Outfitters, and others. 


Guilty pleasure: I am addicted to vintage

Comfort food: Vegetarian Tacos

Favorite throwback song: Sunday Morning by Velvet Underground 

Last movie watched: La Rodilla de Clara de Éric Rohmer