It’s just serious play.

Get in touch:

Our Bias

Scale with a soul. Scaling a business is hard. We solve for people, processes, and products to foster successful, operational, and profitable businesses for years to come.

Design is not magic. Design is a journey. It’s a continuous process made of many, many decisions and improvements. 

Start with your hardest problem. Wherever that may be, and take it from there.

Take care of the person. The work experience is directly related to the consumer’s experience.

Steve Berry: Founder, Maker, Peer

Relationships are at the heart of pretty much every type of success, so let’s get to know each other. 

Studied graphic design. / Stopped fucking up and grew up, hung his work in the hallways at SCAD. / Graduated with a proper print portfolio and a pile of websites he designed and built. / Moved his broke ass home to Philly and looked for work. / Freelanced as a designer and a tech consultant, figured out how to survive. / Learned agile development process, figured this would be a “new, better” way for designing, too. / Moved to NYC, consulted as a UX and product designer and co-founded Code Climate. / Worked with some of the most interesting startups out there as a UX and product consultant, branding designer, corporate planner, agile process coach. / Became a trusted advisor. / Supported these companies when they took off. Helped during every round of investment. Assisted during equity or acquisition transitions. / Made other stuff.

Moved to LA where he runs Thought Merchants from the California Design Studio. Works with a diverse group of amazing people. 

Let’s go surfing.

Austin Barto: Designer, Illustrator, Animator

Austin Barto - Designer

Grew up in Kansas with a passion for fine art - painting, sculpture, and really anything related to aesthetics and visuals / Studying Visual Communications at KU, I fell in love with problem-solving through design / Developed expertise in visual identities, logos & mark-making, typography and motion graphics / Moved home to freelance with artists, musicians, restaurants, anyone I could to build content and form relationships / Managed to build a nice little portfolio of projects / Began my consulting journey for Thought Merchants amidst the pandemic, moving to Los Angeles on a whim / Pretty crazy looking back / Currently, I help brands and products tell their story using graphics, illustration, animation, copywriting, and anything else I can get my hands on / Outside of that, catch me shooting hoops, taking care of my plants, playing video games, reading books, sketching, or hanging out with friends.

Located in Venice, California

Venice California Drone Photo