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The Cross Media Advantage – The Story of Joe Zeff Design

Bringing 3-D design to a tablet device near you.

Designer Joe Zeff first established himself in the print world, at venerable publications such as The New York Times and Time magazine, where he helped pioneer 3-D graphics for print using the same animation software James Cameron employed for Titanic.

Now, as head of his studio in Montclair, N.J., he’s taken his 3-D expertise to tablets, transforming his print-centric business to one that’s virtually all digital. His current enterprise is focused on building apps for content creators, enabling them to self-publish directly to the iPad and Android devices, bypassing traditional media altogether.

His firm’s latest app, The Final Hours of Portal 2, uses multimedia to tell the story behind the hit video game. In projects like FHP2, Zeff sees possibilities for the tablet that traditional publishers are missing. “Their big focus is, how do we take our content and put it on as many platforms as possible?” he says. But “we’re creating new ways to tell stories. The iPad is the most effective storytelling vehicle ever. The paradigm has completely changed.”

Joe Zeff Design is known for computer-generated illustration, as seen on magazine covers including Time, Fortune and Rolling Stone, as well as advertising campaigns for M&Ms and Porsche, Broadway theater posters and album covers.

The studio has also been tasked with corporate branding for Fortune 500 clients such as Unisys and PepsiCo. Opened in 2000, Zeff Designs was among the first to seize the potential of computer-generated imagery for print.

The staff includes Ed Gabel, who worked with Zeff as Time’s Associate Graphics Director and is known worldwide for his 3D and Photoshop talents; Katie Orzeck, a recent Ohio University graduate who majored in publication design; and strategic partners from throughout the world.

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