Capabilities

Turnstone’s service offerings have remained consistent since the studio was established, and the capabilities listed here reflect the ongoing, most compelling work that continues to call for Turnstone’s proven experience unique perspective. Committed to people, sensitive to context and insistent that qualitative evidence as well as data-informed research underpins the most robust projects, Turnstone work pinpoints the insights that anchor a project, defining its strategic shape and clearly communicating progress to all those involved. These six summaries briefly outline Turnstone’s approach to comprehensive research; facilitating workshops that bring stakeholders together; designing identity and experiences for public institutions, private enterprises and digital innovators; writing to illustrate and drawing to explain. For more details about putting these to work for your organization, contact Turnstone.

360˚ research

360˚ research

Turnstone recognizes that a mix of qualitative and quantitative research provides the richest evidence to shape the goals and outcomes of design in both online and physical built environments.

Through fieldwork, desk research, interviews, focus groups, in-situ observation, surveys, Turnstone gathers and assesses findings, distills insights from clients, stakeholders, audiences, market context, competitors and others to frame strategic opportunities that the direct creative process.

Identity design

Identity design

Turnstone defines  strategic brand and identity narratives for new or improved, commercial and civic products and services, articulating brand architecture, system design, market penetration strategies in pitch decks, presentations, playbooks, campaign programs.

 

Illustrative writing

Illustrative writing

Turnstone writes research-driven strategic insights, and project-focused communications, content strategy and messaging for print, online, film, 1’, 2’, 10’, 100’ user experiences.

Working alongside visual/digital designers, Turnstone ensures integrated responses to a creative brief and coordinates content across all media touchpoints.

Deliverables vary from copywriting briefs, commercial content, and long-form, opinion-forming policy documents.

 

Workshop facilitation

Workshop facilitation

Turnstone takes primary research seriously, engaging stakeholders at any stage of a project, from a kickoff to post-launch/post-occupancy. The goal of invitation-only discussions, structured workshops, open training sessions may be to inform, to generate ideas, validate concepts, test prototypes, prepare staff for change or measure project success.

Co-creating with clients, their partners, expert informers, beneficiaries, even project adversaries, helps to ensure that project owners are always in touch with a range of perspectives, and that those involved can inform the process and outcomes.

Experience design

Experience design

Turnstone makes meaningful places and creative spaces, leading experience design to shape helpful way-finding, straightforward online services, branded environments and more.

Turnstone generates concepts, develops content and sets technical specifications to craft the robust underlying architectures that support purposeful interaction.

 

Explanatory drawing

Explanatory drawing

Turnstone tells visual stories: Strategic diagrams, organizational maps that clarify complexity, live drawings to support ideation in workshops, executive sessions, conferences (“graphic facilitation”), and creative direction of detailed editorial content, for short films, print, digital.

 

 

People

Rachel Abrams, Founder

Rachel Abrams is the Principal of Turnstone Consulting, New York. In 2006, she founded Turnstone to apply strategic design principles and practices to civic, social challenges. Between 2001-2006, she worked as a strategic designer with IBM and Imagination in New York, and before that, in London, for the BBC, The Economist, the UK Parliament and the Institute for Public Policy Research.

She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a former fellow of the Design Trust for Public Space, the Municipal Arts Society at Rockefeller, Bellagio, and the Open Society Foundations US Program’s Technology and Future of Work initiative. As a Board member of AIGA New York, she conceived its Design/Relief response to superstorm Sandy.

Rachel is on the faculty of the Products of Design MFA program at the School of Visual Arts, where she has taught since 2009. Between 2007-9, she taught at NYU in the Interactive Telecommunications Program.

Rachel’s writing on the social impact of design and technology, and her business illustrations, have appeared in over 25 international publications. She regularly gives talks and interviews about Turnstone work, locally and internationally.

Since 2006, she has taken two breaks from Turnstone, first to work with PentaCityGroup on Walk NYC in 2012 and more recently, to lead strategic design at Arup, New York. She returned to independent consulting at Turnstone Consulting in 2021.

Rachel is a graduate of Cambridge University (Social and Political Sciences) and the Royal College of Art, UK (Computer-Related [Interaction] Design). For further details and project highlights, see Linked In.

Collaborators

Christina Stampfli

Strategist

Christina Stampfli

Strategist

Christina Stampfli has been developing a diversity of specialized skills in architecture, marketing, strategy, consulting, innovation, and entrepreneurship and has brought those to start-ups as well as to seasoned companies in Zurich, London, San Francisco, and New York. Her concepts have been featured on the Design Management Institute website and in the book “The Smart Entrepreneur” (2011).

While working with Turnstone, she served as a strategic consultant and researcher on the New York City Lower Hudson Valley Clean Cities rebranding project (now Empire Clean Cities). Presently, she is a Senior Specialist in Business Operations at Vigilant by Deloitte, a leader in cyber security. Christina holds a BA in Architecture from UC Berkeley and a merited MBA with a focus in Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Design Strategy from the Imperial College Business School in London.

Emery Martin

Technologist

Emery Martin

Technologist

Emery Martin is an artist, educator, and technologist who creates work that interrogates our relationships with technology and how we use it everyday. Emery’s unique perspective and skill set – those of an academic, animator, filmmaker, programmer, sound artist, and technologist – are deployed to best effect when a client or project demands a multifaceted perspective and an ability to implement.

While at Turnstone, he served as a researcher for the Taxi of Tomorrow initiative. He has since gone on to co-found the Los Angeles-based creative coding and media design company, Electronic Countermeasures LLC. They currently specialize in animation, applications, interactive systems, and hardware solutions for large venue, live performance, interactive installations, network aware systems, and mobile devices. Emery also currently teaches as adjunct faculty for the Program in Experimental Animation at CalArts and the Media Technology program at Woodbury University.

Frank LaRocca

Interactive designer

Frank LaRocca

Interactive designer

Frank LaRocca, a New York-based designer who specializes in user interface design for the web, mobile applications and interactive installations. Collaborating with Turnstone, he has co-designed ATM interfaces for an international bank, and helped reimagine the digital experience in New York City cabs for the Taxi of Tomorrow project. In 2015, he collaborated with Turnstone Consulting to refresh Turnstone’s own web site, leading its visual design and development.

His other clients have included Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Public Theater, MIT Senseable City Lab, UCLA School of Architecture and Savannah College of Art and Design. Frank’s work has received multiple awards, including AIGA’s 50/50 design award, and has been featured in Fast Company, Gizmodo and Dezeen. Frank graduated with honors from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia with a BFA in Graphic Design and Multimedia.

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Kate Nicholson

Researcher

Kate Nicholson

Researcher

Kate Nicholson is a graduate of the School of Visual Art’s Design for Social Innovation (DSI) MFA program. A student of Turnstone’s Rachel Abrams in her first semester at DSI, she joined Turnstone as an intern to lead research for Turnstone’s Future of Work animation for the Open Society Foundations. Previously the production manager and culinary coordinator for the 2013 conference, The Feast, her MFA thesis will focus on women’s contribution to urban farming initiatives in New York.

Tim Szetela

Animator

Tim Szetela

Animator

Tim Szetela is a Brooklyn-based designer, animator, technologist, and mapmaker. He has produced diverse digital content and experiences and consulted on technology and design for various  companies and organizations, including NBC Universal, the ASPCA, and the City of New York. He is experienced in a wide range of software and hardware platforms and tools and teaches courses and workshops in media production, design, and code. As an animator and art director, he has collaborated with Turnstone, producing for sister project, Soundpapered.

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Yvonne Jukes

Filmmaker

Yvonne Jukes

Filmmaker

Yvonne Jukes, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design film, animation, and video department, with strengths in documentary film-making, and a soft spot for finding humor and wit in any given situation. An invaluable collaborator on Turnstone’s Future of Work animation for the Open Society Foundations, she is a highly skilled editor (and a frequent shooter) with 5+ years experience cutting short-form videos for the web. Adaptive and detail-oriented, her work includes narrative and instructional content, fashion and documentary. Attentive and dedicated to strengthening her team and brand vision, her clients include Spotify, Unicef, NYC&Co, and others. She has previously worked for Bumble & Bumble, Estée Lauder and previously worked as an intern for Roman Coppola Studios and MTV Networks.

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Clients