Issue No. 43
— May 2018



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

A trend product by





Your identity should not be a secret.


Is identity a sweeping statement that encompasses one's signature (such as, I wear all red and I have red hair), or is it a subtle, unwritten side that defines you? 


This drives the question, what is the difference between a brand and an identity? 


The difference between the two is that identity is more personal. After all, having an "identity" is something that all brands strive to achieve. Identity requires a high level of self awareness - so much self awareness that it actually enables common folk to feel that they know the brand, despite the fact they’ve never been within 100 miles of their HQ. This deep sense of identity is what sets apart brands that are good and those that are great.


Identity is a bit ambiguous. In 2018, you have your personal identity, business identity, familial identity, social media identity, sexual identity, liquid-courage identity… Do these unique character silhouettes connect? Are they entirely separate? Should they connect? 


Welcome to the Identity Issue. Questioning our social constructs and figuring out what it exactly means to discover your own identity: How you define it, how you hone it, and how it intersects with the elements of your life. 


To help you along the way, we’ve curated a bundle of knowledge for you to chew on: The articles, interviews, podcasts, and lists in this Issue will be the gas that ignites your creative fire. You identity will no longer be secret. You will no longer have a “secret” identity. 



gaelan simpson

Managing Editor




Editor's Letter


"To find yourself, think for yourself.





Dig into the issue by clicking on the titles below.



ESTABLISHING a sense of SELF in url utopia

In today's ever-growing digital landscape, it's admittedly difficult to grasp a true sense of self. While our feeds are curated to show our best selves, does that make them less ‘real’ or just more polished? Read here for an insightful analysis on the differences and parallels between faux-babe robots and the human species in 2018. 


— Abi Buller, Trends Analyst




hrdwrker series: Rituals

While passions can get lost on the words of “celebrity” or “vanity,” HRDWRKER strives to connect all the professionals and entrepreneurs today - in hopes of fuelling the pursuit of their passions. This interview is a guaranteed epic read about how HRDWRKER co-founders are changing how we see ourselves and understand others. They are changing the production game by showcasing an under-glorified group of hard workers: the unsung trailblazers. 


 — Interview with Tito + JJ, Co-Founders of HRDWRKER












Like the images you've seen throughout this issue? A frilly merci to Molly Cranna - SSR's featured photographer of the month. Molly specializes in portraits, fashion, and still life, with an emphasis on interesting faces and interesting concepts. She enjoys problem solving with color and is partial to straight lines. Molly's creative identity is spottable from miles away. Our interview with her shares some great insights about defining your craft, in addition to advice for those who want to have their own "Molly Moment." 





Our favorite BRANDED LOGOS

The logo is what sets the tone for the whole brand. It visually starts the communication about what your brand is, what it does, and how seriously it takes itself. 

Brand identity is all around us, and we're absorbing dozens if not hundreds of logos every day.  While some are tried and true and others are just super trendy right now, our team took some time to seek out some of our current favorites -  and give you our two-cents about what sets them apart.


— The Matte Black Team / Creatively led by Jesse Ligo, Art Director of Creative at Matte Black




Take a minute to light up with Broccoli Magazine, an international print publication created by and for women who love cannabis. Tune in as we chat with Anja Charbonneau Broccoli’s Founder + Creative Director, about the magazine's roots, the evolution of the cannabis industry as it becomes more mainstream, and the five reasons why cannabis culture needs a publication like Broccoli.





"An identity would seem to be arrived at by the way in which the person faces and uses his experience.

- James Baldwin

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




Gmail Hits the Gym


Gmail has always been evidence to me that the best things in life are free (friends, family, love - all that too). Starting now, it is about to get even better. After years of testing new features inside the lesser used Google Inbox, some of the best ones are making their way over to our beloved email service. This includes snooze's on emails, one-click unsubscribes, nudges, and smart reply are just the beginning. Learn more about how you are about to get a whole lot more efficient by heading over to The Verge.


Read more here.


— Micah Heykoop, Director of Operations at Matte Black




lookin for a roomie? 

Feeling a bit bummed about the growing homeless population in Los Angeles and the apparent lack of realistic solves to do anything about it? Us too. :( 


On the bright side, the city is doing a bit more creative thinking around the subject as of late. How does the idea of being paid to let somebody live in a small house in your backyard sound? Strange? Well, that is exactly what about 100 homeowners have an interest to do!


An LA pilot program will pay homeowners to build small properties in their backyard to eventually house stable individuals of the homeless community. Those pushing for the program hope that “backyard houses” if successful will be a valuable solution and a win-win for people on both sides of the coin as neighborhoods around the city become entirely unaffordable.


The idea goes up against NIMBYisms in a literal way that will hopefully stir up some meaningful conversation and more importantly action.


Read more here


— Liz Burton, Manager of Candid Network at Matte Black




savee it, don't pin it


If you're like me, you spend at least a few hours each day digging through the web to find the perfect reference image -- the one image that best communicates your vision for the tropical, neon geometric thing-y you see in your head. While I do have mad love for Pinterest, it's often cluttered with recipes, your mom's craft projects, and shabby chic wedding inspo. 


Enter Savee, the Pinterest for the design-inclined, complete with the kind of features that will wet your creative whistle -- like the ability to adjust the padding within the viewer or the size of the images on the screen.


P.S. I would have never found this had our Art Director, Content, Alex Tan not turned me onto it. All props to him. 


Discover Savee here


— Nolan Goff, Director of Creative Strategy + Content at Matte Black



Photo Courtesy of  Pinterest

Photo Courtesy of Pinterest

is nostalgia the secret ingredient?

I think a lot about how we are continually repeating the  past, specifically in culture. Fashion and design trends happening now aren’t reinventing the wheel, rather just bringing the conversation back up that we all forgot about. 


A friend of mine sent me a photo of an adidas ad from 1971, and beside the fact that photograph was low resolution, you wouldn’t have been able to tell whether it was shot 50 years ago or today. Everything from the styling, typeface, and lighting of the photograph felt like the kind of content I see almost every day from popular streetwear brands trying to play into the past. Even editing digital photos to look as if they were shot on film is trendy. Hell, actually shooting film has become trendy. 


So why do old things become popular again?


I think there is good chance that we’re just bored. Or maybe that the past gives us familiarity and something to hold onto.


Whatever it is, I would argue that our nostalgia is one of the most human things about us. And as long as we’re human, the trends will continue to come back around.


— Alex Tan, Art Director at Matte Black


"Who knows who you are... A person is a novel: you don't know how it will end until the very last page. Otherwise it wouldn't be worth reading to the very end." 

—Yevgeny Zamyatin

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Chelsea Matthews


Managing Editor
Gaelan Simpson


Contributing Editor
Micah Heykoop


Aria Davis


Creative Director

Nolan Goff




Molly Cranna







Molly Cranna


Molly Cranna is a bicoastal photographer specializing in fashion, portraits, and still life with an emphasis on interesting people and interesting things.  She enjoys problem solving with color and is partial to straight lines.


First Concert you ever attended: N’Sync

Favorite food:  Hotdogs

Go-to liquor in the cabinet: Johnny Walker Black

I cannot live without my ______. iPhone? Ugh.

Favorite shoot playlist: Kendrick or 90’s One-Hit-Wonders

Spirit animal: Human Centipede (lol jk).


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Abi Buller


Abi Buller is a recent graduate from London College of Fashion. As both a visual communicator and freelance writer, her research interests center around innovative and future-facing approaches to fashion communication. Her previous writing has allowed her to critique a number of cultural topics including photography, dance, exhibitions and retail spaces.


Quote to live by: If life is a book and you’re the author, make it unputdownable.

Favourite fashion trend: I seem to have developed a perpetual love for pastel colours, so I guess I’ll have to go with that. I also love sheer fabrics and Molly Goddard-esque dresses. 

Best place in Europe?

Aside from my home city of London, I’m torn between Paris and most Italian cities! 

Muse? I have a sort of ongoing love for Alexa Chung.


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Tito Molina


Tito is the co-founder of LA based media + production co. HRDWRKER. As a self-taught camera operator, Tito spends most of his time watching YouTube tutorials while pretending to do other things.


Best fast food chain:  I prefer local joints like Irv’s Burgers on Santa Monica Blvd. one of the best “fast food” style burgers out here.

Dream vacation: I'd love the opportunity to road trip the United States, connecting with people and getting a glimpse at life outside the big cities.

Low key talent: Has to be bargain shopping. I’m really, really good at finding great deals! lol

Most prized possession: The artwork I’ve been able to collect from friends and artists we’ve had the pleasure of working with. Their pieces decorate pretty much every wall in our home.

Pet pig or pet bird? I would go pet bird, although I’m a dog person.

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J.J. Anderson


JJ is the co-founder of LA based media + production co. HRDWRKER. Originally from San Diego, CA- JJ enjoys long walks on the beach, carne asada burritos, and inadvertently


Memes or gifs? GIFs. If we’ve been communicating through text for more than 3 minutes, chances are I’ve sent you at least 3 GIFs.

City goals: Santa Cruz for beach, peace, and quiet. Detroit for human connection, exploration, and story telling.

How you relax: I put lavender in my aromatherapy diffuser and watch throwback 80s – early 90s movies.

Go-to pastime: Hanging with my dog named GOAT, Tito, and bestie Rose McAleese + watching documentaries.

Guilty pleasure: Listening to U2 alone in the car. I regret sharing this already. Please don’t tell anyone.