Issue No. 27
— January 2017

The resolution



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

A trend product by






There is something that comes with resolution that evokes both light and dark. Light in the vision for something new, something better. Dark in the loom state that you might not get where you want to go. That it may not turn out like you want it to.


But white picket fences are ever evolving.


That's truly the beauty of resolution to me: that change is a constant. And if it isn't, make it one! That's really where the magic happens. When you're nimble, open and excitable, great things can come your way. Just flow with it, much like Andrew discusses in his article about using constraints and challenges in business to actually move forward.


Ultimately, it's about evaluating the good and the bad to apply learnings to the future. Jacob does just this in our article about some of the best campaigns that hit the interwebs in 2016.  


So lets all just float around this year and find the sticky stuff that works and really catapults us into greatness, shall we?!


Chelsea Matthews





Editor's Letter


“The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.” 

― Robert Greene, Mastery

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Dig into the issue by clicking on the links below!




"Resolution more often than not comes with accepting failure. Though 'failure' is undoubtedly a word we all fear, it is a catalyst for change and improvement."

This article looks at the importance of counting your losses as a business as a catalyst to moving forward.


— Andrew Livingston, Founder of Knickerbocker Mfg. Co.



Hindsight is 20/20, so we took some time during our two week winter in LA to snag some of 2016's best campaigns that span marketing, social media and cultural hues. As we march forward into 2017, let us first take a look back at some of the good that came out of 2016 from the brands that did marketing right...


— Jacob Marrero, Matte Black



3. Your 2017 Creative Toolkit

Marketing a new or existing brand or product can be hard. Keeping up with the newest trends in technology, social media and visuals can be harder. This year, why not outsource your work to professionals who know the ins and outs of all your brand's needs? From graphic designers to web developers, copywriters to art directors, we're sharing our network of creative freelancers so you can better your brand in 2017. 


4. Michaela d'artois

Michaela d’Artois is the founder of the online publication Vérité Published, and the new online shopping experience Shop Vérité. Get to know this Canadian born, Californian transplant who strives to unite women, and spread the message of empowerment from body to brain. We chatted with her about the creative industries, her resolutions, and what inspires her.





“don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”

-john d. rockefeller

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Ad fraud

Read about this threat that is going to affect many in 2017.


Read more ➭


Ride on the bright side

Lyft gets a facelift, but loses the infamous mustache.


Read more ➭


Nasty Gal: What Went Wrong?

As the millennial-focused fashion brand faces bankruptcy, read what went wrong.

Read more ➭






Read how Instagram Stories solved the app's biggest threat: self conscious users.

Read more ➭


Snapchat's group messaging

Snapchat finally adds group messaging after years of requests.

Read more 


Instagram's most engaged

See the top five most engaging brand posts of 2016, including Nike, Adidas, and Starbucks.

Read more ➭





Self driving the blind

A blind man convinces Google to let him test their new self driving car.

Read more ➭


Uber, without the driver

You can officially order a self-driving Uber in San Francisco.


Read more ➭


amazon's floating warehouses

Amazon files a patent for airborne warehouses.


Read more ➭





A Year in memes

See 2016 through the lenses of these memes - one for every day!


Read more ➭


forbes' 30 under 30 2017

600 of the brightest stars who are innovating, leading and creating.


Read more ➭


lil' yachty named creative designer of nautica

The 19-year-old rapper joins the heritage brand as creative designer for 2017.


Read more ➭





Design for news

These design inspirations could change how we view, read and interpret news. 


Read more ➭


Overzealous design clients

Posters poke fun at clients who think they are designers. 



Read more ➭


The eight phases of web design

Everything you need to know about designing a website in eight steps.


Read more ➭



By andrew livingston


Resolution more often than not comes with accepting failure. Though 'failure' is undoubtedly a word we all fear, it is a catalyst for change and improvement. Yes I know its cliche; but without failure there is no success. Only exception for this being a lucky first timers winning lotto ticket. So, when the year comes to end our most productive way of moving forward is counting our losses before us. 

Now once you've done that you have to prioritize these losses. When doing so think about these losses or issues in relation to the overall mission of your business. Some issues may subside with time and some issues may appear as more crucial to your business' longevity than ever before. For many of us, especially for us small business' strapped on capital, this is a long term race, which makes this process of prioritizing issues and failing fast an integral part of your longevity. 
Here is an example. At the end of 2015 our greatest frustration became our lack of ability to capitalize on greater margins with our direct to consumer channels. Direct to consumer was always a major focus of ours due to higher margins but at this rate it was going to take forever. Our online traffic was great, our social media presence was great, but we still had two major issues. First, we could not keep up with inventory. A majority of our inventory went to credit approved vendors, which take 50%-60% off the top. With the profit from that we could then only produce a small amount of retail inventory for direct to consumer channels. Second, we were afraid to produce too much inventory due to cash flow restrictions and an understanding that our core demographic may not be able to consistently purchase items at our price point. 

Knowing direct to consumer was a major focus of ours we decided this was our major issue to take on. Our solution led us to creating a concept called The Cutting Room. The Cutting Room leveraged our online presence and presented a way for individual consumers to purchase from us the same way our retailers do. The items would go up online they could purchase at pre-sale and we would ship in six to eight weeks. Pre-sale though...doesn't sound that exciting and really it isn't. Why wait? What made the difference was that we created a pre-sale incentive (20% instead of our vendors 50%-60%) and we offered monthly pricing. Take an item that regularly retailed at $100, we would make that item available in The Cutting Room for $80 and to lock in the pre-sale item while guaranteeing your size you only had to put $8/down. The trick in making it work was setting up a deal with a third party merchant, which gave us the money up front for production on goods that customers were purchasing on our monthly pricing plan. We were re-gaining our margin and able to invest that profit into the inventory of readily available products as well as into the development of more products in The Cutting Room.  

At the end of the day when the money isn't coming in quick enough do not abandon your vision for another just yet. You gotta troubleshoot it first. Remember however, if you chase two rabbits you catch neither so choose wisely and resolve to resolve this year.

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Chelsea Matthews


Managing Editor
Delanie Billman


Contributing Editor
Micah Heykoop


Creative Direction
Nolan Goff


Art Direction + Design
Jesse Ligo



Carlos Quinteros Jr.



Nicole Best


Aria Davis



Andrew Livingston

San Diego-based Andrew Livingston is the 24-year-old founder of Knickerbocker Mfg. Co, a men's apparel brand that was originally founded as a private label manufacturing company to service a community of fellow designers and makers. He also works as the lead creative for Harley-Davidson's upcoming vintage reproduction line, Harley-Davidson Originals.


Bar order: Double house bourbon & a Budweiser
Last movie watched: The Graduate
Go-to karaoke song: Piano Man
Snapchat or Instagram Stories? Instagram
Guilty pleasure: Key lime pie


Michaela d'Artois

Michaela d’Artois is the founder of the online publication Vérité Published, and the new online shopping experience Shop Vérité. She is a Canadian born, Californian transplant who strives to unite women, and spread the message of empowerment from body to brain. When she isn’t tapping away at her computer, she’s most likely tossing her duffel bag on to her next flight out of here.


Follow her @michaeladartois.


Last movie watched: The Wizard of Oz
Childhood comfort: My teddy bear Theodore — our relationship came to a traumatic end when he went MIA during a Mexico trip. I like to think he still lives there under the name Jefe Ted
Guilty pleasure: Investing in travel
Night in or night out? Night in for sure
Most inspiring city: Anywhere in Morocco


Jacob Marrero

Jacob is a Community Manager at Matte Black currently spending his extra time researching culture marketing and paid advertising. He considers himself suffering from unsatisfied curiosity and a lifelong learner. When not deep in research, you can find him coaching volleyball. His other true passion. He is always open to discussing interesting subjects, so drop him a line if you got one.


Last song played: Grammy's, Drake + Future

Childhood comfort: Refried Bean and Cheese Burritos

Streaming on Netflix: Wife is on a documentary kick right now, The Minimalist.

Something to check off your bucket list: Spend a significant amount of time in Tokyo.

Favorite social network: Honestly, Twitter. But I suck at Twitter. lol.