Image by Aaron Van Bokhoven

To a skateboarder, a bench is not just a bench. A handrail is not meant for safety. To a skateboarder, the bench becomes an obstacle, the handrail a surface to grind.

“Skateboarding gives you a new way to look at and re-examine your surroundings,” says Justin Cravalho, co-principal of the design company Humanhand, “and basically, being a designer is like being a skateboarder. It’s the same in that once you’re designing, you see things differently. Like I look at the way the exterior of this building is falling apart,” he says of his office in the Blaisdell Hotel on Fort Street, “and I find inspiration because of the way it’s cracking, and the colors.”


In 2007, after spending 12 years in the corporate design world of agency advertising, Justin sought an outlet for greater creative release and joined forces with Warren Daubert and Jon Borgonia to form Humanhand, an independent design and interaction company built around the idea that inspired art and design will make good ideas extraordinary.

As its name suggests, Humanhand is about imparting all of its work with the care of a human hand, as opposed to the mechanized experience often found in colossal corporate agencies. “We never discount the fact that the client knows the client’s own business best,” says Warren, emphasizing why so much time is spent in research and development. “Our solutions – and we always call them “solutions” – are born out of extensive conversations with the client, not just our artistic whims.”

See the full article in our ART & DESIGN issue!