Meet the mysterious designer who secretly remixes street posters

One of the best ways to create more leverage is very simple: innovate on an existing format. Here’s a wonderful example from Brooklyn - courtesy of a renegade designer who’s operating deep undercover.

Ok, he’s not that mysterious, ‘cos he’s posting on TikTok as Max Kolomatsky. But his work - and why he does it - is wonderful.

Max has taken it upon himself to enhance paper posters he encounters around the city. Most of these posters are for local services: ads for handymen and moving services; community events for people who love board games or yoga.

The vast majority of these posters are not well designed: bad layouts, hard to read, unclear messaging, or just plain boring.

Without removing the original, Max snaps a photo, goes back to his apartment to draw up a new version, then places it in situ next to the original poster.

He even calls the people behind the messages to get a sense of who they are and what they do - without revealing his secret activity.

And he records his process so others can follow along and develop their own design skills. He’s already built a pretty sizable online following.

So why is this interesting?

A few reasons:

1. Elevate Others

This project is a simple yet effective way of helping local residents and small businesses get their messages out to the world.

2. Build a Portfolio

Don’t wait for the dream brief to come to you. It may already be out there, hiding in plain sight.

3. Showcase the Craft

Part of the reason Max started the project was to highlight the value of designers in capturing public attention.

4. Do more with less

Last but not least. Even a few tweaks to design, layout or pacing can transform the way people engage with your work. It could be a slide deck, an event, a talk... really anything that’s putting a message out in the world.

Evolve the design. Flip the format. Present it in a fresh and engaging way.

You may be just as pleasantly surprised as those Brooklyn small business owners.

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