“Design is not making beauty, beauty emerges from selection, affinities, integration, love,” Louis Kahn once said. Rational Beauty—a Brooklyn-based design firm, blog floating in the ether, and aesthetic philosophy—embraces this ideology. Founded in 2009 by Jeanette Abbink and Mike Abbink, Rational Beauty works with clients to create editorial and identity projects that are both intelligent and refined. We believe that skilled craftsmanship, dialogue, and hard work are key to making powerful design. Our philosophy is reflected on our blog, where you will find stories that inspire our practice. While beauty may appear chaotic—or even random—it is supported by a scaffolding of rigor, training, and discipline.
2301 S 5th Street, Unit 29
Austin, Texas 78704
Jeanette Abbink is a graphic and editorial designer who recently relocated from Brooklyn to Austin. Under the auspices of her studio, Rational Beauty, she has created award-winning editorial design for such magazines as Dwell (where she was the founding creative director), American Craft, and Pan and the Dream, and books for publishers including Rizzoli, Aperture, Abrams, Monacelli, and Clarkson Potter (where Questlove’s Something to Food About: Exploring Creativity with Innovative Chefs, won an AIGA Fifty Books of the Year Award). She has also taught publication design at Parsons School of Design, The New School, for several years.
Rational Beauty's recent projects include book and magazine design: Perfect Strangers: New York City Street Photography by Melissa O’Shaughnessy, (Aperture 2019) and Blue Violet by Cig Harvey, (Monacelli 2021). Pan and The Dream, Supernatural, issue No 5 (Pan and The Dream 2021)
Jeanette co-authored and designed 3-D Typography with Emily CM Anderson, a book showcasing the work of 100 designers and artists who fashion typefaces out of everything from moss to human skin (Mark Batty, 2010).
Mike is currently the Executive Creative Director with IBM Brand Experience and Design—a team dedicated to brand innovations, experience, and design.
Abbink’s career began over 24 years ago at MetaDesign in San Francisco. He worked with Nike on strategy and visual concepts for Niketown Honolulu and Vienna, Melbourne, and Toronto stores. He co-founded the agency Method, where he served as Creative Director and worked with clients such as Adobe, Autodesk, Gucci, and MoMA. His extensive experience continued with his work as Executive Creative Director at the Museum of Modern Art, Design Director at Apple Computer, Creative Director at Wolff Olins, and Creative Director at Saffron Consultants. Clients included Adobe, Apollo Tyres, Citibank, Belkin, GE, Goldman Sachs, Gucci, IDEO, Knoll, Microsoft, MoMA, Mozilla, Nike, Nokia, Product(RED), PwC, Swiss Re, and Visa.
Abbink has received numerous prestigious international awards for graphic and typeface design, including the most recent Pencil award from the D&AD 2020 Awards for IBM Plex Arabic and the TDC 64 2018 Judges Choice award for IBM Plex. He holds a BFA in graphic design and packaging from the Art Center College of Design. He has served as an adjunct professor at the San Francisco Academy of Art, University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and a guest critic at Yale’s graduate design program.