Homeboy tote bags from Artecnica

Homeboy tote bags from Artecnica

An Artecnica Design w/Conscience project with LA-based Homeboy Industries.

Homeboy Industries is the largest gang intervention program in the US, that provides ex-gang members the opportunity to build their own sustainable businesses locally in the US.

Sometimes, it’s not what you carry in your tote bag that matters, it’s the message your tote bag carries. So how about choosing one with an inspirational quotation that keeps more than 12,000 young Los Angelenos off the streets and out of trouble every year?

The canvas totes which feature famous quotes by the program’s founder and Jesuit priest Father Greg Boyle in calligraphic motifs, are the latest of Artecnica‘s Design With Conscience Projects, with part of the proceeds going back to the organization. His sayings—can be a part of your everyday errand-running philosophy as well  –   Nothing stops a bullet like a job /  Hardwork is easier than hardtime /  We’re a whole lot more than the worst we’ve ever done /  If you hang around the barbershop you’ll wind up with a haircut /  Compassion turns enemies into allies

All the artwork was created by ex-gang members and individually screen-printed by their collective in their Los Angeles studios in collaboration with Alex Lin, the award winning graphic designer of the design firm Studio Lin in NYC.

In the past Artecnica has worked with superstar designers such as Tord Bootje and Hella Jongerius to produce pieces made from recycled materials or in developing countries. But in the last few years, since opening a Los Angeles showroom, Artecnica has turned its attention to local causes eg their recent collaboration with TBWA\Chiat Day recycled billboard vinyl from L.A. into beautiful laser cut grocery bags.

Narrated by Martin Sheen-this doc. is a story of Hope-How Fr. Greg Boyle and Homeboy Industries helps to re-direct thousands of gang addicted kids from a life funerals to a life filled with possilbilities


“I work with guys that I shot at before,” …… “Now we’re friends.”


About Homeboy Industries

Homeboy Industries began in 1988 as a job training program (called Jobs for a Future)  out of Dolores Mission Parish in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, California, USA. It was created by then-pastor Greg Boyle, S.J. to offer an alternative to gang life for at-risk youth, who were living in the area with the highest concentration of gang activity in the country.

In those early days, Boyle found sympathetic businesses that agreed to hire recovering gang members.

In 1992, an abandoned warehouse was converted into the first business, Homeboy Bakery, to create more opportunities for employment. The Bakery started off producing tortillas and eventually received a contract for baking bread. Eventually more businesses were added, and in 2001, Homeboy Industries became an independent non-profit organisation.

Dolores Mission Alternative School was created to offer high school drop outs a chance for a diploma. In 2010, Learning Works became the new high school. There are currently 35 students enrolled, with plans to add another 35 as soon as funding becomes available.

In October 2007, Homeboy Industries opened a new $8.5 million headquarters at the Fran and Ray Stark building, in a gang-neutral downtown location.

In addition to jobs, Homeboy Industries offers curriculum on anger management, domestic violence, yoga, spiritual development, parenting, substance abuse, budgeting, art and other self development programs. In addition, they offer free counseling, tattoo removal, legal services, job development and case management.

One of Homeboy’s most successful programs is free tattoo removal. Young people who find that tattoos inhibit their ability to secure employment can receive treatments on site at Homeboy’s center in Downtown Los Angeles, California, USA. Though tattoo removal by laser is known to be painful and takes an average of eight to ten treatments per tattoo, and in some cases up to 1 year to complete, patient retention is virtually 100%. The clinic completes about 250 treatments per month.

On May 13, 2010, Homeboy Industries announced the economy had forced a layoff of the majority of its work force, leaving a bare-bones crew of 100 employees and trainees to staff the businesses. Counseling and tattoo removal is still be offered by volunteers.

Financially hammered with declining donations because of the current economy, Father Boyle is determined to keep Homeboy Industries afloat. Boyle’s faith in giving gang members a new start remains steadfast, with the hopes of mass producing Homeboy’s salsa, and perhaps the chance at opening a branch of Homegirl Café at the Los Angeles International Airport.

The title of his new memoir Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion reflects Father Boyle’s unwavering focus in helping gang members walk a new path

Homeboys visit Alabama

click on the text above to see the video


About Studio Lin

Collaboration is king. Clarity is paramount. All things are considered.

Studio Lin is the graphic design practice of Alex Lin. Our work process is founded on a desire to explore new territory through challenging collaborations with creative visionaries in the fields of architecture, industrial design, art and fashion. By combining the studio’s analytical rigor with strong input from external forces, the resulting design is exponentially enhanced: 1 + 1 = 3. This formula also permits a fluid aesthetic to prevail.

Behind every Studio Lin design is a highly defined rationale but not a singular style. The common denominator is a fresh, modern sensibility that eschews the overtly trendy in favor of lasting impact.

Studio Lin’s focus is on comprehensive design systems in all media, including web, social media, advertising, publishing, video and environmental. A lean office able to offer highly competitive rates, the studio can tap into a carefully curated network of highly skilled designers, printers, programmers, animators and writers. Clients receive the thorough and undivided attention of Alex Lin, who directs every project from conception through execution, overseeing any additional services as needed.

About Alex Lin

Before opening Studio Lin, Alex Lin laid the foundation for his own design practice by collaborating with some of the field’s greatest minds. After receiving an MFA in graphic design from Yale University, Alex spent six years at the design firm 2×4 and three years as a partner at Default.

His work has been featured and awarded by leading design publications such as Wallpaper, ID Magazine, Print Magazine, Metropolis, Azure, Tank, Surface, Architectural Record, Span, Victionary and exhibited at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum.

In 2005 Alex was named an Art Director’s Club Young Gun, in 2006 he was in STEP magazine’s field guide for emerging designers, and in 2009 he was honored as an Avant Guardian by Surface Magazine. In 2007 his Mies face artwork created at 2×4 became part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art.Artecnica is a Los Angeles based design company elevating the purpose of everyday objects. As part of an ongoing collaboration, a new website was launched to bring Artecnica’s brand image up to the high standards of its products. The website needed to be easily expandable and reflect the multitude of events, collaborations and new products that the company engages in and produces.

Alex Lin,  graphic designer

01.07.11 — By Jill Singer

If you were to chart the degrees of separation among young American designers, you might do well to start with Alex Lin. Since 2007, Lin — a Yale School of Art grad and former designer at 2×4 — has created all of the branding and collateral for Brooklyn-based furniture designer Stephen Burks, who often does work for the sustainably minded home accessories company Artecnica, who recently launched a line of pendant lights by Rich Brilliant Willing, who produce their Excel light series with Roll & Hill, who shared an exhibition space at this spring’s Noho Design District event with Areaware, who commissioned a special 5-year anniversary piñata from Confetti System, who did the set design for United Bamboo’s Spring/Summer ’09 campaign. Confetti System also happen to share an 11th-floor Manhattan studio with Lin, who is the mild-mannered, super-talented graphic designer at the vortex of this Venn diagram–gone-haywire.

Lin has headed up his own shop for only two years, but in that time, he’s worked with every creative on this list and then some. (Did we forget to mention the American Design Club, The Future Perfect, and recent Sight Unseen subjects Iacoli & McAllister?) It’s a testament to Lin’s vast creative gifts that he’s been able to work almost exclusively by referral among a tight-knit group. But it’s an even greater testament to his creativity that the work he’s done for each of these clients doesn’t begin to reveal a singular style. “I like to work with designers because they have strong points of view, which pushes me to do things I wouldn’t normally do,” says Lin. “I think the goal is always to see the design I did, and then to be like, ‘Oh, did I do that?’”

With most projects, Lin, like a journalist, zeroes in on the most idiosyncratic thing about a client and builds a narrative around it. When he first began working for Burks, for example, an impromptu visit to the designer’s studio ended up informing the navigation for Burks’ Readymade Projects website. “He had this packed inspiration shelf. He put everything there — products, inspiration, his son’s inflatable toy — all in reverse chronological order, with the new stuff first. It sort of put everything in context,” he says. It also eventually became the way that visitors root around for projects on Burks’s site. The result of these sorts of symbiotic relationships is work that creates a new visual language for each client but also seems a logical and organic outgrowth of each specific practice.

It also means that clients have begun to entrust Lin with more than just printed ephemera or web design. After working for years with Artecnica, Lin was recently asked by the company’s creative director and founder Tahmineh Javanbahkt to be involved in its Design With Conscience program, which pairs designers with craftspeople and artisans. Javanbahkt introduced Lin to a Los Angeles–based organization called Homeboy Industries, which helps rehabilitate ex-gang members through jobs like silk-screening and embroidery.

“The founder of Homeboy Industries is this Jesuit priest who gives speeches all over the country and comes up with these great quotes that really speak to what the organization does — ‘Nothing stops a bullet like a job’ or ‘If you hang out around the barbershop, you’ll wind up with a haircut,’” Lin says. “We came up with a series of tote bags. Initially I thought I’d do the lettering for the quotes using a sign painter, but then we found some Homeboys who were really great at drawing and tattoos. So I sent them a PDF of some initial designs and had them basically interpret the lettering how they wanted. It was great because I had to figure out how each design decision could directly support the idea of helping Homeboy Industries, to both raise awareness and to actually give them more jobs.”

Event that inspired you to be a designer:

“In college at University of the Arts in Philly, I thought that I might be an illustrator or industrial designer. But then I took graphic design as a freshman. I clearly remember making a John Coltrane CD cover and loving the process of combining found imagery, typography, and color to create something new.”

Style movement you most identify with:

“Modernism — mainly because it seems like every design move the modernists made was backed by some kind of logical reasoning. I feel the need to give a reason to all of my design decisions.”

Favorite design ritual:

“Drinking coffee. The best is this place called Grumpy Coffee in Park Slope. It’s a morning ritual.”

Working with Artecnica



For 2009, instead of the usual holiday mailing, a clock screensaver was given to anyone visiting the Artecnica website. Each number in the clock is composed of Artecnica’s products

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