Ken Rabe

Ken is listening to Van Halen 1. Again. He does his best, most beautiful work when “Runnin With the Devil” is up so loud it makes his desk shake. This is probably because as the youngest of four boys, he avoided beatings from his older brothers by disappearing into his bedroom, turning the stereo all the way up, and delving into the world of art and design. And for a long time, “art and design” meant drawing and redrawing Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Boston album covers. And the Van Halen logo, of course.

Drawn to beauty in the seen but often overlooked, Ken loves design that has a homegrown, hand-done quality. His portfolio landed him long-term, short-term, full-time and freelance gigs for over fifteen years at small studios, giant agencies, boutique shops, production companies, and everything in between. One day he looked back at all the work and realized he’d kind of created his own brand. As a designer of, well, brands.

From the mark for Tommy Hilfiger’s NYC flagship store to an internal division of Microsoft so complex that other divisions still aren’t too sure what they do… to our local bike shop’s window decals to print campaigns for high-end, high-tech firms on the West Coast and beyond… Ken’s helped countless businesses launch, re-launch or simply refresh their brand with beautiful, original, exciting new identities. Not to mention the consistent love he gives to pro-bono clients who need good design in order to make a difference. They’ve all decided Ken’s the man. Because simply put, Ken can.

His work has appeared in Comm Arts, Creativity, AdWeek, Rockport’s Logo Lounge 4 and Business Graphics, HOW’s Identity Solutions. He’s received a silver CLIO as well as merit awards from The One Show. Best of all, every once in a while, someone buys him a beer.

Tell Ken your favorite 80s metal band:

Craig Valentino

There’s no greater superpower in any creative office than a team-member who can locate the perfect GIF response to anything, any time, at lightning speed. And here at Rabe, that superpower belongs to Craig Valentino. No email, text or Slack can elude his quick-fire skills at animation communication. It’s insane.

But when he’s not lighting up a message board, Craig is whipping up a similar talent storm on literally any project that touches his desk. The Valentino signature style is to build artboard after artboard the way a master gardener works from soil bed to sky. In order to build the most beautiful “brandscape,” everything plays a part, and Craig knows how to dream in every single direction.

Craig is also the founder of his own brand, Thank God It’s Monday Design, even though we’re lucky that he’s chosen to live out his full-time days here at Rabe. He brings the full breadth of experience across design, branding and art direction, having worked on powerhouse brands such as Puma, PepsiCo, Red Robin, Jim Beam Brands, Macy’s and Bed Bath & Beyond. He’s also done some seriously eye-popping work for Ride Nature, Mill House Brewing Co, Original Skateboards, The Craft & Co, Yonkers Brewing Co, and many others. Just go check out his Instagram and eye-pop for yourself.

Craig’s work has earned him a long list of top awards and overall recognition from HOW International, GDUSA, MarCom, Hermes Creative, and many more. When he’s not in the office, Craig is often working with faith-based organizations and non-profits in and around his community here in the Hudson Valley, checking out the latest craft brewery, or playing the guitar with his band at church, which you can livestream. Which is awesome.

Send Craig a GIF he hasn’t seen yet:

Liz Birch

When you’re ready, Liz is ready. She’s calling you back or re-writing your copy or fixing your files or suggesting a whole new department for your business or finding a team who can powerwash your logo into the grime on a city sidewalk and having it all done by, well, yesterday. You get the picture.

Before starting Rabe & Co. with Ken, Liz was a rising star in project management at some of the top ad agencies in New York City: from G2 to Lowe Worldwide to Deutsch. For almost 10 years, she oversaw all print, broadcast and interactive work for accounts like Stella Artois, Got Milk and Johnson & Johnson, among others. And while Rabe clients are no longer giant global corporations, Liz learned so much from these years, and proudly brings that level of creativity and commitment to every project she takes on.

Liz also loves the “moment” when great design meets great copy. With an MFA in Creative Writing at The School of the Art Institute in Chicago, she has crafted everything from core, corporate strategy to killer nav-to-contact content and just about every type of passage in between. She feels sure that she regularly rips off the insanely talented writers she’s worked with or is friends with, but feels better remembering that she’s beaten many of them at poker. That, and they don’t seem to mind.

That’s just, well, Liz. Tell her your problems and she either makes them go away completely or she builds them into your next campaign as a strength. Give her an iPhone and an IPA and she’ll start solving problems you didn’t even know you had. With 20 minutes to spare. And an extra hundred in your pocket.

Bet Liz double or nothing:

Leigh Baumann

Leigh is the kind of person you just want to know. We certainly did. We’d see her around town and it seemed like she was always either working hard, or laughing harder, or passionately freaking out about something. We happened to know she was also a freelance designer, and we finally got up the courage to ask her over. A crazy crush of work was hitting all at once, and she jumped right in to get us through! But after the crush, we knew it was something more: true work-love! So we bought her a swivel chair and asked her to stay. She said “ummm. Okay!”

You will now find Leigh regularly running our office like a fine short-order cook. Effortless, beautiful design. Websites started and launched in a day. A client meeting-turned-photoshoot. Powerpoint raging. Learning new platforms, excitedly discovering some new insight to help our clients grow… or amazing new place we should go for lunch. And then most unbelievably, Leigh will actually, somehow, get everyone to leave her alone and put her feet up, kick back on her phone, and kick serious ass as our resident social media expert. Crazed or calm, we’re just so lucky this keep-it-all-moving maven boarded our ship. Not only can she steer, she constantly sets our sails for new waters.

Ask Leigh how she feels about, well, anything. She’ll absolutely tell you: