Posts tagged verynice
Celebrating Martin Luther King Day with Desktop Wallpaper

Happy new year! We'll be featuring the artwork from one of verynice's volunteers each month. The prompt was to pick a holiday(s) that inspire us to give back. This month we feature the work of Kate Manos! Download our wallpaper and celebrate the spirit of giving back with us. 

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Volunteer spotlight
Kate Manos

Martin Luther King, Jr Day: Monday, January 16, 2017.
"Hope, respect and unity are as important today as they were when Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us to stay strong all those years ago." 

Why I give back.

In a world where my profession is to help sell products and services, it's natural for graphic designers to want to find a way to use their "powers for good." I remember a distinct moment in college when I was completely turned off by the idea of creating designs just to make people spend their money or time. I set out to either make art out of design, or maybe lend a hand for more "worthy" causes. I started volunteering to make posters for a club on campus that brought movies to the students, obsessing over artists that crossed the line between art and design with movements like Dadaism and Flux. I helped out with verynice by making a quite garish website for a cat shelter (don't look it up), and tried to pick internships that were for smaller endeavors like 2-person design studios and art magazines.  

Working at and with verynice for almost a decade, some of my favorite projects I had a hand in are based around experiences (not necessarily products or services), on top of working for a company whose business foundation is based on giving back and pro-bono. Designing a logo and website for the Pasadena Museum of California Art ( and helping with select projects for the Downtown Women's Center in Skid Row  have been two-fold in satisfaction for using my design powers for good.

You can find more of Kate's work at +

Click here to download high resolution wallpaper.

Introducing the Advisory Council, and the Next Step for Bora

One of the hardest things to find as an entrepreneur is the right partner to help share and grow your vision.

In 2010, I met Bora while pursuing my MFA degree at the ArtCenter College of Design. During the first year of our graduate studies, I was confronted with the challenge of running a fast-growing business, and began to see the challenge of working alone. I remember arriving on campus at 4am in order to work on verynice projects up until 10am. Then, from 10am to 6pm, I would work on my school work, attend class, and collaborate with my fellow MFA candidates. Somewhere along the way, Bora, who had the cubicle next to me at ArtCenter, shared with me her dreams as a designer. She believed strongly in creating opportunities for designers to engage in mission-driven work in order to help communities in need. After hearing about her vision, it was immediately obvious that she shared the same dream as verynice. After working together on numerous pro-bono projects, I asked Bora (over a bowl of spaghetti) to join the verynice family as Managing Partner. Upon graduating, we got our first office space at the HUB in Downtown Los Angeles, and with our full time efforts focusing on growing verynice, we were able to grow from 100 volunteers and one full-time staff member, to a business with multiple offices, over 10 staff members, and over 400 volunteers. Our partnership was an incredible and exciting journey, and today I could not be more excited to help share with you all the next chapter for verynice.


As of August, Bora and I have worked together to create a plan that has allowed her to smoothly transition out of her role as Managing Partner into a new role as a Founding Member of verynice's incredible new Advisory Council. The Council includes a panel of experts from diverse industries who are all incredibly important in bringing verynice to the level it is today. These members include Steve Kukla, Jeff Manos, Seri McClendon, Alexi Robichaux, Kristin Romaine, Terry Stone, and Petrula Vrontikis. Each of these individuals have provided incredible support to me as a young entrepreneur, have had my back, and have inspired me throughout my career. While Bora will no longer be involved in the day-to-day operations of verynice, I feel comfortable knowing that her voice will live on within verynice in this exciting new capacity. Stay tuned for more information about our new Advisory Council as well as a lot more exciting things to come. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the following timeline which highlights that past 10 years of service, highlighting the many accomplishments Bora has made possible for verynice:


  • Matthew's first pro-bono engagement takes place in Sunnyvale, CA.


  • 100% pro-bono work for UCLA student groups


  • Matthew takes on his first paid design project that was referred by a pro-bono client

  • Daytime Moon Creations becomes the first official pro-bono client of a verynice design studio.


  • Soft-launch of a verynice design studio


  • Public launch of a verynice design studio

  • Featured on Daily Bruin and Cargo Collective

  • First volunteer of a verynice design studio joins the team


  • a verynice design studio is featured in the UCLA Design Media Arts undergraduate gallery show, prompting more volunteers and partners

  • Decks for Parks project launches as the first internal initiative of verynice

  • MTV Savage County, verynice's first major project, launches


  • Give-Half Model is established

  • Matthew + Bora’s first pro-bono collaboration via Homeboy Industries

  • verynice's network reaches 100 volunteers

  • verynice reaches $250k in donated pro-bono services


  • Bora joins as a partner and a verynice design studio re-brands itself as

  • Matthew gives a talk at TEDxCMU

  • verynice establishes its Entrepreneur in Residence program

  • First office space acquired at Impact HUB Los Angeles

  • First agreement for pro-bono projects established

  • verynice is featured on Forbes and GOOD

  • verynice's network reaches 250 volunteers


  • verynice reaches $1MM in donated pro-bono services

  • verynice hires its first staff member: Kate Manos

  • Featured on Forbes, Huffington Post, Art Directors Club

  • verynice is awarded the Golden Root Award from Taproot, and received recognition from Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti

  • verynice launches a partnership with the Unicef Innovation Unit to scale up its volunteer program via project U-Report.

  • verynice beats Borat for "very nice" in the google search rankings and is subsequently featured on MTV for this momentous occasion

  • verynice's network reaches 300 volunteers


  • Launch of NY office at CSI

  • Printed edition of "How to Give Half of Your Work Away for Free" is published

  • First volunteer fellow deployed to Uganda in support of UNICEF Uganda Country Office

  • Partnership with Ashoka’s Catapult providing design mentorship curriculum for youth ventures begins

  • Launch of Models of Impact, a research project and platform that documents impact models and revenue models in use today

  • Partnership with City of LA for Civic Fellowship Program

  • Jake Dunagan joins as Director of Design Futures and launches ATX satellite

  • verynice team grows to a dedicated staff of over 10 across all three offices

  • Wider range of services offered under the umbrella of Design, Strategy and Foresight.

  • Partnership with Google for Billion Acts of Peace

  • Matthew gives a talk at TEDxJNJ

  • verynice LA moves to a new office space

  • verynice reaches $3MM in donated pro-bono services

  • verynice's network reaches 350 volunteers


  • Reginald, a new pro-bono invoicing platform by verynice, launches

  • verynice is invited to the United Nations to serve as a delegate for the Media for Social Impact Summit

  • verynice's network reaches 400 volunteers

  • Matt, Jake and Bora participate as speakers at World Future Society

  • verynice is profiled in the Fall 2015 issue of HOW Magazine

  • Launch of Advisory Council

Give Half 2.0 Now Available for Digital Download

"At verynice, pro-bono work isn’t something that employees do off the clock, with or without incentives."
– Ryan Scott, Forbes Magazine

September 7, 2013 marks the beginning of a movement: “How to Give Half of Your Work Away for Free” was officially released, attracting over 5,000 readers globally. Since then, thousands of service providers in over 1,500 cities have leveraged components of our model to contribute to the greater pro-bono marketplace for nonprofits. We are proud to say that there are now dozens of #givehalf companies around the world!

Since it’s beginning, the #givehalf movement has grown significantly— enough for verynice Founder, Matthew Manos, to release a second edition of the book. This brings us to our big announcement… The Second Edition of "How to Give Half of Your Work Away for Free" has been released online! Click here to download your copy now! As you may have guessed… “purchase” of the book is donation based.

A quick refresher: "How to Give Half of Your Work Away For Free" aims to open-source our Give Half business model invented by verynice Founder, Matthew Manos. Give Half 2.0 will act as a toolkit that is broken into four primary sections (definitions, FAQs, worksheets, and essays), each representing the inner-working of our model from different perspectives.

Matt is currently touring the book! If you’re in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, or Phoenix— he’ll be coming to your city shortly to spread the message of Give Half 2.0!

Digital downloads of Give Half 2.0 are available exclusively at this online location starting TODAY! Look out for the full online edition launching in the coming week and our printed edition arriving late 2014/early 2015. We’ll keep you in the loop! 

Renaeverynice, givehalf, probono, socent
Welcome to veryniceLA, Josiah!

The verynice team is expanding! We just welcomed our newest member, Josiah Pak— Junior Designer, to the veryniceLA office. We sat down for coffee on Josiah's first day, and he shared everything from his thoughts about design and social change to his prediction for the next big food trend. See below for Josiah's full interview and join us in giving him a verynice welcome!   

Hi, Josiah! Tell us about your new role here at verynice. 

El Júnior Designer

I’ve been very privileged to grow up with parents who positively stress the importance of giving back to society by helping others. So I ventured into the world of design to hopefully one day make some sort of impact to some sort of community in our society. I’m absolutely ecstatic to join the verynice team because I feel they do exactly that. Though 50% of the work we do here is pro-bono, I feel like 100% of the heart and effort lie in the general desire to make an impact in our community. So I’m equally thankful and optimistic about being part of this team. 

Beware of El Júnior Designer.

Sweet. We'll make sure to put El Júnior Designer as the title on your new business cards. So, the desire to enact social change absolutely informs our work here at verynice. Can you tell us your thoughts on how design, specifically, can impact the community? 

Design is a language understood by many, therefore allowing it to reach many. And honestly, I’d rather look, experience, and learn from good design than anything else. So I believe that design is definitely needed to enact change because we need a form of communication that not only reaches many, but also stirs interest. Plus, it’s really nice to look at.

Wow, so your last design gig was with Whole Foods. Would you call yourself a big foodie? 

I don’t think I have enough dough in the bank to consider myself a foodie— being a foodie is quite expensive! However, I do consider myself to be an adventurous eater— there is nothing that stops me from trying out new foods. Just a few weeks ago, a fellow Angelino introduced me to Boat noodles, a Thai beef noodle soup made with cow blood. I know what you’re thinking. That sounds weird, Josiah. But let me tell you, Boat noodles will be the new Pho.

Follow-up question: any LA favorites (food-wise) to share?

There are so many! But I’m going to cheat and say: Boat noodles from Sapp Coffee Shop off of Hollywood and Kingsley in Thai Town. Like many dingy hole-in-the-walls, they’re cash only! They also have a killer Thai tea— the perfect gradient of orange to cream.


Okay, we're definitely going to Sapp Coffee Shop ASAP. Anything else we should know about you? Something quirky? 

Hmm. My right wrist bends slightly less than my left wrist? I once lost most of my front teeth leaving me with a set of killer grills. I don’t know— I guess you’ll have to learn for yourself.


Thanks, Josiah! 

Stay tuned for more updates about Josiah, the verynice design team, and a full review of Thai Boat noodles. 

24 Hour CreateAthon

On October 24th, verynice participated in The 24-Hour CreateAthon, an around-the-clock creative blitz. In order to double the impact within the 24 hours, verynice improvised the existing 24 hours CreateAthon format in order to provide CreateAthon service to two non-profit organizations. This format allowed us to provide design services for two non-profit organizations to help them share their unique story and the impact they are making.

The two organizations we worked with were:

National Museum of Animals & Society & Gardens to Hospitals

We divided 24 hours into two 12-hours sessions. We dedicated each session to an organization we picked. Each session required two organization members to be on site to work collaboratively with our creative team. Our creative team helped assess each organization’s challenge and defined a project scope that can serve the need for each organization. Each of these session was followed by 12-hour off-site segments where only the creative team members dedicated in the final production to produce the deliverables defined during the on-site segment.

The team at verynice curated a creative team for each session with talented volunteers trained in graphic design, illustration, web-development, and copywriting in order to come up with creative and practical solution for each organization.


Session One. Gardens to Hospitals

Thursday, October 24th (7:00AM ‑ 7:00PM)

Creative Team:
Nic Sanchez: Graphic designer
Zoe-Zoe Sheen: Illustrator
Maya Benari: Creative Technologist
Marlon Fuentes: Copy Writer
Bora Shin: Creative Director

Organization Staff on-site:
Mark Griffin, Executive Director
Luka Starmer, Project Director


How to interestingly tell a mission of the Gardens to Hospital to potential hospital partners and funders.


Our team put together a series of still motion animation on a micro site to help get the messaging of Gardens to Hospital’s mission.


Session Two. National Museum of Animals & Society

Thursday, October 24th (9:00PM) — Friday, October 25th (9:00AM)

Creative Team:
Dennis Delgado: Graphic designer
Justin Gier: Creative Technologist
Christine Kim: Copy Writer
Bora Shin: Creative Director

Organization Staff on-site:
Carolyn Mullin, Executive Director
Christine Kim, Research Writer


How to allow people to understand how deep and strong the human-animal bond is, especially for people who have little else in their lives and find their home in the heart of an animal.


Using their existing decision making board game concept that allows user through the experience of a homeless human-animal family, we turned their yes-no scenarios into sets of longer scenarios. We thought for the user to be confronted with the choices that affect survival and the ability of the family to stay together, and allowing to see each decision leads to different consequences will be a good way to understand the reality of the situation. We also found modifying their existing scenario format as an opportunity to translate their concept into an online format, will allow for a bigger audience of people to experience that journey.


Gardens to Hospitals: Garden to Hospitals offers an innovative grants program for hospitals interested in hosting their own garden landscape. Upon approval of a hospital garden, Gardens to Hospitals help design and implement gardens of various scale, from standard raised beds on a patio, to maximum output rooftop greenhouses -- fully organic and sustainable. They coordinate a plan with the hospital administrators and food service departments for maintaining and utilizing the garden spaces as they feed their hospital community.



National Museum of Animals & Society: The National Museum of Animals & Society is dedicated to enriching the lives of animals and people through exploration of our shared experience. To this end, NMAS promotes respect for life and compassionate ethics in advancing healthy, meaningful interconnections with the animal world.


Boraverynice, CreateAthon
Global Service Jam

I had a blast this past weekend speaking and mentoring at the 2014 Global Service Jam inside DIRECTV's awesome innovation lab.

Global Service Jam is an event that simultaneously takes place across 100 cities. People interested in service design, design thinking, and innovation meet up across these locations to develop a brand new service design solution in just 48 hours.

My team had interest in developing a new service design solution that could make the logistics of local disaster relief simpler. I'm biased, but I totally think my team was the best ;)

The presentation I have was centered around tactics for rapid prototyping. I walked the audience through several strategies and approaches for quickly testing and iterating upon a concept. The point? Get ideas out of your head as fast as possible!

Photo by  @yknakano

Photo by @yknakano

I can't wait for next year. Until then, I'll share an anecdote that I had shared with the audience:

"Proving a problem is more important than proving a solution."

verynice Wants to Help Local Businesses

verynice is a global design and innovation consultancy that gives over half of its work away for free to non-profit organizations.

In the past 2 years we have scaled significantly as a studio, and as a result, we now have offices in both New York and Los Angeles. In New York, we are in Chelsea, just off the Highline. In Los Angeles, we are in the Arts District of Downtown. 

2014 brings a lot of goals for the company, and one of those is to give back even more to small businesses that reside in close proximity to each of our offices. Your monthly pledge will directly fund free consultations for small business owners and non-profit organizations in our community. For the first time ever, thanks to your monthly support, we are able to open up our pro-bono offerings to small businesses that would not otherwise qualify for our free services. 

It gets better... each month we'll tell you all about the impact we made— THANKS TO YOU! So please consider supporting our local efforts, and work with us to make the world a bit more very nice.

Mattverynice, be verynice
Watery Wednesday

Every other Wednesday, we gather our various greenery and give them a nice watering. Some are definitely doing better than others, but there's nothing like a little flora to give your space a small punch of life.


Sidenote: Charlie is wearing a hoodie today.

Kateflora, verynice, office
Taproot's Global Pro Bono Summit

Bora and I took a brief trip to San Francisco last week thanks to a friendly invite from the Taproot Foundation to attend the Global Pro Bono Summit. The event was an incredible experience. Perhaps the most amazing part was the fact that out of the 35 companies that were invited to attend, verynice was the only small business being represented. The second smallest business had 1,000 employees... We're very proud to be the global leader in small business volunteerism!


Throughout the session, we worked in small groups and focused on the challenges of scaling pro-bono impact, how to best leverage the excitement amongst younger generations around pro-bono service, and much more.


We can't wait until next year!