Friday, June 06, 2014

Operation: CMYK, A Gowanus-Based Make Tank, Just Won A Webby Award

Chris Langer and Adam Scher of Operation: CMYK
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Creativity abounds in Gowanus. Over the past few years, the industrial neighborhood has rightfully earned a reputation as an emerging culinary scene, a vibrant artist community, an artisanal manufacturing hub, as well as home to a local network of designers.

Adam Scher and Chris Langer, principals at Operation: CMYK,  a design agency located on 6th Street in Gowanus, couldn't imagine having their offices anywhere else but Gowanus, or Brooklyn, for that matter.  

"Operation: CMYK is made in Brooklyn by Brooklynites. Most of our clients are Brooklyn-based. I am an avid believer in our community, and try to support our local institutions," Adam Scher told me on a recent visit. Since it was glorious outside, he and Langer ushered me through a door in their studio onto a roof terrace with spectacular views of Gowanus, Downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Scher and Langer, who share a background in pharmaceutical advertising, founded Operation: CMYK with two partners in 2007. They pride themselves in doing "all work in house, by hand." They have worked hard to come up with a business model that does not, as Langer explained, "thrive on corporate.  Instead, we have tried to position ourselves to collaborate with the smaller guys." Along the way, they have had to figure out how to grow their own small business in a healthy manner, taking on smaller, but more creative projects.  "We would never want to just crank out work," Langer explained.

Operation: CMYK creates a digital presence for its clients and helps them navigate through the choppy waters of digital media.  "Our work ranges from full web experiences and mobile apps, to video production/animation and interactive installations," Scher told me.
Along the way, clients can count on lots of support. "People get overwhelmed," Langer added "They  know that their business needs to be active on the web, needs to have a presence in this space, but they still need to also run the business. We help them to focus and to own their web site. We work with our clients, not for them."

Early on, Scher and Langer forged connections to Brooklyn's culinary community. "The high-end food culture is growing. It is actually the strongest, smallest business community in the City. We are knowledgeable about marketing that branch," Langer explained.

This knowledge recently earned them a Webby for a web platform they designed and developed for Mario Batali. was named the Best Celebrity Website in the 18th Annual Webby Awards. That's quite an honor for the small Gowanus agency. The Webby Awards is presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS), to honor excellence on the Internet.
Scher and Langer, together with Operation: CMYK's  lead developer Brandon Phillips and lead designer Helena Zhang had just attended the award ceremony a few days before we spoke. As we were standing on the terrace, with Gowanus below us, Scher smiled and said: "We were competing against some major players in the digital field, including BeyoncĂ©."

Congratulations to Scher, Langer, Phillips and Zhang. Let us hope that the agency will continue to thrive in Gowanus.

Operation: CMYK is located at 200 6th Street in Gowanus.  You can contact the agency by clicking here.

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