mitch donaberger 🏔
Creative Director in Philadelphia, PA, he/him
Hello! My name is Mitch Donaberger, and I am a Creative Director, Illustrator, Graphic Designer, Branding Professional and Simpsons Aficionado. I am an enormous nerd, and I specialize in creating the kind of design that nerds love. I support my own infra, build my own tools, and invent new ways to work faster.
At Linode, content marketing is an enormous part of developer relations. We always have somebody who needs more information, and we always have plenty of experts with lots of passion to explain it. Over time, to compete, it became necessary to build eBooks at an actual publishing house's level of output.
My team completed several 200+ page books, utilizing a template system built by a freelancer, and in partnership with Built by BUILT, a design and marketing agency. I redesigned the cover to account for more flexibility in design, and increased recognizability for prospects in market.
At Linode, we were looking for a fresh way to provide swag for our events. We wanted something that would stand out from the usual kiss-cut stickers, and that's when we came across Nerd Merit Badges.
Nerd Merit Badges is a popular brand within the developer community, known for their creative and fun designs. They are based in Philadelphia. This proximity led to some really exciting collaboration.
Together, we designed and produced 12 custom badges, each with velcro backing for easy display. We also included a velcro 'sash' so that attendees can proudly display their badges on their laptops.
The response to the badges has been overwhelmingly positive, and we're thrilled to have found a unique and memorable way to spice up swag for our events.
This was an incredible project I worked on with Peter Tarka (petertarka.com/), a 3D illustrator and animator based out of London.
When selling cloud servers and cloud products, it becomes apparent very quickly that you’re selling a virtual ‘thing’ that has no reasonable physical equivalent. But, at the same time, what you buy is a very real cross-section of a very expensive and very impressive piece of hardware.
We wanted to create a style of product image that *represents* the cool ‘thing’ that a virtual machine is, without necessarily representing specific hardware.
At Linode, a powerful cultural element was giving away employee-only swag. The concept is inspired by Apple's history of outfitting their employees in the finest gear possible, but with a twist — swag that is well-made, useful, and thoughtful will waste not, want not. The idea was that, through some careful choices, we could reduce how much free stuff goes in the trash.
We collaborated with a few major partners: the Linode events team, Commonwealth Press in Pittsburgh (for a properly screen-printed illustration!), and PFL in New Jersey.
We made a plushie of Linode's official mascot, Linny the Penguin! It has been a tremendous success, and was a wonderful learning opportunity — even amongst the global supply chain hiccup that happened through the Pandemic.
Produced in partnership with ESC Toys.
I have been a lifelong fan of Linux, but one thing I noticed was that there are dozens of stereotypes about *who* uses Linux. Usually it’s that they have long beards, untrimmed fingernails. and have the social skills of a bar of soap.
But as I got deeper into the Linux ecosystem, I learned how many people who use Linux *don’t* conform to this. So, I wanted to create an illustration system that really worked to show Linux users, as they are. I based every illustration on somebody I knew. This was in flight from 2019 until 2021. I sketched the references, and they were vectorized by illustrator Keith Bowman.
The orange skin tones were adjusted and replaced in 2020, because representation matters.
Zanboor (Persian for ‘bee’ (زنبور)) — is an expressive animal mascot that I built to help promote Project EVE, an open source edge technology being developed by the Linux Foundation. They were built in tandem with a branding exercise, contributed to the project on a donation basis.
In Summer 2020, my friend Austin asked me to help him with the branding for a company focused on preserving, capturing, and managing the copyright for old media. I’m talking, the kind of media that has to go onto a reel by hand. He called this company “Reel Revival.”
Austin is extremely passionate about what he does, so I wanted to try and pour that much effort back into the branding for it. The colors were chosen to reflect the RGB channels common with digital screen output, but multiple color channels were chosen to be reminiscent of the iconic angled stripes on the covers on old VHS blanks tapes.
You can visit Reel Revival at reelrevivalfilm.com.
One of the most frustrating experiences that I go through on a day-to-day basis as a designer is having to work with rasterized logos, at an extremely small size, or at extreme levels of compression. Traditionally, designers would have to go through and re-illustrate these logos by hand, using bezier curves and a whole hell of a lot of time.
During the height of the pandemic, I spent a lot of time working on a tool that can augment the live trace / bitmap trace process to radically increase quality and accuracy. In two steps, you can rescue virtually any raster logo and bring it into the beautiful world of vector.
This tool utilizes ESRGAN, and is compatible with any AI scaling implementation compatible with ESRGAN. A beefy GPU is not necessary, but encouraged.
It is free, and available for any commercial or personal use. I built it for myself, and get so much use out of it, I figured I'd put it up for grabs.
Back in 2012, I attended a 'Moth' storytelling event and came in second place with my story of how I flew to Minneapolis to attempt to win my ex-girlfriend back. I was surprised to learn that in 2020, it was selected to re-air across the nation on NPR affiliates.
Gold regional district award; awarded due to my work on a campaign for a local theater collective's new experimental play, STRATA. I was one of a four member team and handled everything from web design and deployment to social strategy to branding.
As the leader of a small but mighty team of artists, illustrators, and marketing designers at Linode, I am responsible for supporting a wide range of projects. This includes everything from eBook production and photography to web design, display marketing, motion graphics, billboards, icons, logos, and everything in between.
I am proud to have been part of the Linode team, and I am excited to see what we can accomplish as part of the Akamai Technologies family following our acquisition in March 2022.
I joined the team at Linode in 2019 with the goal of helping to build a new and refreshed brand for this established name in Internet infrastructure. I assembled a small production team and quickly set to work on creating an entirely new brand treatment, website experience, logo, and over 100 pieces of custom-designed swag for events, employees, and press.
To streamline our processes, I implemented a standardized system for creating eBooks. This allowed us to maintain consistent design and improve efficiency. As a result, my team was able to release several textbooks, each with over 200 pages of content.
In addition, I worked closely with the User Experience team to create several iterations of product icon imagery, and implemented and oversaw the use of SVG animations and motion graphics. I also designed and illustrated Linny, the official Linode mascot, who was eventually brought to life as a plush doll.
Overall, I am proud of the contributions I made to help refresh and enhance the Linode brand.
(Oh, and I made a mascot — Linny!)
At MRP, I was responsible for managing all creative services for an agency with over 300 seats and global revenue of over $500 million. I was promoted to this position in June 2016 to focus on graphic design and lead a small team of designers in creating bespoke direct mail, display, and websites for production.
In just a few years, I developed and produced over 500 individual direct mail pieces and more than 100 landing pages, emails, infographics, and display advertisements. I also led a small skunkworks team in redesigning MRP's core product, Prelytix, from the ground up. This product and its design are used by thousands of enterprise clients on a daily basis.
Some of our common clients at MRP included DellEMC, HP Enterprise, HP Inc, Cisco, Thompson Reuters, LexisNexis, Veeam, and many more.
At Saladworks, I functioned as a liaison to the world of digital marketing, social media manager and public relations professional.
I advised and guided franchisees towards exploring and utilizing cutting edge digital marketing platforms, as well as taking advantage of social media as a means of drumming up business for local franchise stores. I single-handedly produced all content for the Saladworks social media presence, as well as managed all monitoring and online customer service.
Additionally, I was responsible for running all aspects of the Public Relations function — writing press releases down to getting on the horn and calling journalists. I also single-handedly organized and orchestrated top-billing corporate sponsorship for a major Race for the Cure event.
Mullen was a small, full-service ad agency based in the Strip in Pittsburgh. I was a jack-of-all-trades, participating in creative development processes across the agency. As part of a small team, I managed social media presences for major companies. My main clients included Highmark BCBS, Saladworks, AccuWeather, The Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium, the Bricolage, Magellan; Won an Addy in 2011 for best mixed-media campaign.
Chemistry is a small, full-service ad agency based in the Strip district of Pittsburgh. At this agency, I managed wholistic social media management for a range of clients, including Beano's, ArcticEase, Steaz, and the City of Pittsburgh. In addition to working on existing client accounts, I was also involved in new business development, including creating pitches and PowerPoints, as well as participating in the development of new Web experiences.