Justin Ahrens

Making Creative Matter™ is what Justin Ahrens is all about, and it has been the mantra and the soul behind his strategic design firm, Rule29, since the beginning. He spreads that love like an evangelist every day, serving clients and crafting the stories behind each project. A speaker, teacher, author, and creative do-gooder, Justin strives to inspire others to impact the world however they can, thus creating their own stories. For Justin, balancing work, a family of six, ambition, and passion constantly challenges what matters. Now, if there were just a few more hours in the day...

Justin is the author of Life Kerning: Creative Ways to Fine Tune Your Perspective on Career and Life

Rule29 authored and designed Rockport's Best of Business Card Design 9.


1000 Miles for 1000 People: Two creatives and their bikes will make a difference

For the past five years, my good friend Brian MacDonald, from Wonderkind Studios, and I have traveled to Africa in order to understand extreme poverty and the burden poverty places on the world's most vulnerable people.

Topics: Managing Design, Product Design, Professional Development, Random, Studio Secrets

What Matters: Believe in Something Bigger Than You

Why do we do what we do? You've probably woken up at some point in your life and said to yourself, "What's it all about anyway? Do I really need to go in today and deal with the same old stuff?" Even if you have the greatest job in the universe, moments like this have a way of seeping into your mind occasionally.

Topics: Professional Development, Random, Studio Secrets

What Matters: This Is What Matters

I've been asked many times why we do work in Africa.

Topics: Professional Development, Random

What Matters: Lessons from Facebook's Timeline

Okay, with a show of hands, how many of you have looked at the Facebook profile of a special someone from your past? And after you have stalked a bit, how many of you have felt relief that you were no longer together? .

Topics: Design Reference, Professional Development, Random

What Matters: Can you do it - $1.50 a day?

I tend to be a little cynical when there is a campaign with a public challenge.

Topics: Design Reference, Managing Design, Professional Development, Random

What Matters: It's All About Dignity

When I first read this article in Fast Company Design (Why Designers Need to Stop Feeling Sorry for Africa) my reason for reading was purely because the title annoyed me.

Topics: Professional Development, Random

What Matters: Hey You, You need to take a break

Some of the best moments in life are those when we can completely unplug and unwind.

Topics: Professional Development, Random, Self-Promotion

What Matters: Design for Good? Yes or No - Kony 2012

I'm pretty sure that all of you have heard at some level about Invisible Children's Kony 2012, unless of course you live in a cave or don't pay attention to any social media.

Topics: Branding Identity, Design Reference, Professional Development

What Matters: Be More Interesting

Want to be better at conversations or more interesting in meetings? How to talk about things other than the weather.

Topics: Professional Development, Random

What Matters: Inspirational Starts

As part of our story, don't we all want to know that we've made this world a better place in some way? Often we just need a catalyst, a nudge, some kind of starting point.

Topics: Professional Development, Random

What Matters: Play Nicely with Others

One of my favorite parts of life is that there are billions of us, all having different experiences every moment of every day.

Topics: Professional Development, Studio Secrets

What Matters: Do We Really Need a Reminder?

Do we need a reminder to say thank you? Or to just be thankful? I guess the short answer is yes, of course we do.

Topics: Professional Development, Random

What Matters: Helping others be EPIC

More than anytime I can remember, I see a growing desire and mainstream effort in designers to work together creating for positive change.

Topics: Professional Development, Random

What Matters: A Three-Minute and Eighteen-Second Reminder

TED is one of the great gifts I often look to for inspiration.

Topics: Professional Development, Random

What Matters: Waste Land: Poverty, Art, and the Beauty of Humanity

Creating art out of trash is not a new idea; however, creating art from trash of people, with people, who so happen to be garbage pickers themselves, proves to not only be an intriguing narrative, but a transformative experience.

Topics: Design Reference, Environmental Design, Random

What Matters: Is Design the Right Choice?

There are so many design projects out there for the greater good, and in concept they are wonderful things.


What Matters: Be a Lifelong Kid

If you need a reminder that you need to continually ask questions, hang out with, borrow, or listen to kids from three to ten years old.

Topics: Design Reference, Studio Secrets

What Matters: Show up, or shut up.

What gets you fired up? I mean, really fired up? Poverty? Politics? Aids, cancer, the environment? My next question is simply, What are you doing about it? My intent isn't to cause guilt; I'm asking more out of frustration.


What Matters: Define Reality by Getting Naked

There are many great things about getting naked… unless you don't like what you see.

Topic: Studio Secrets

What Matters: Carpe Diem! 30-Day Photo Challenge

How many times do you look at pictures you've taken and feel yourself transported to that day, event, or moment? I love when that happens, but until I got an iPhone, I struggled to consistently take shots of my everyday experiences.

Topics: Design Reference, Random