As founder and principal of Rule29, Justin Ahrens lives the firm’s philosophy of Making Creative Matter®.
Like any creative professional, Justin enjoys digging into a business problem and designing a strategic solution. But he gets a bigger charge out of seeing the positive impact that solution can make—for the client and for the world.
Justin speaks the languages of both business and design, guiding Rule29’s strategic and creative direction on every project. He fosters the collaborative approach that’s at the heart of the firm’s relationships with clients ranging from Fortune 500 brands to nonprofits to small startup companies.
Throughout his career, Justin has upheld a commitment to give his time and talents to help his fellow creative professionals and support important social causes. He’s served on the board of advisors for various groups including the industry-leading HOW Design Conference and professional organization AIGA which he currently serves as a National Board Member. He regularly speaks at national and international design and business conferences about creative inspiration, leadership, culture, story and design strategy at such conferences like the AIGA Design Conference, Design Thinkers, Adobe Max, Creative Mornings, HOW Live, Brand New, HOW Interactive, TEDx, and many other organizations. He occasionally serves as an adjunct design instructor and most recently has helped with senior- and graduate-level design and strategy classes at Notre Dame and Kent State University, where students and professionals work together to tackle social problems.
Justin is serving or has served as an advisor to the nonprofits Lifewater, Life In Abundance and EPIC (Engaging Philanthropy, Inspiring Creatives). His work with LIA and Lifewater has increased awareness and raised funds to aid people living in the urban and rural slums of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. His most recent project has been raising awareness and funds for community water projects in Africa through Wheels4Water – for more on that go here.
Justin has authored several books and courses, including Lynda.com,“Life Kerning” (Wiley), “The Best of Business Card Design 9” (Rockport) and “Urban & Rural Hope” (Life In Abundance International). He is also a co-host of Rule20’s podcast called Design Of where they explore story, people and process. Leading publications and organizations such as HOW, Fast Company, Communication Arts, FPO, Print, AIGA, Graphic Design USA and Graphis have published Rule29’s award-winning strategic creative work or has had Justin as a judge.
His passion for design second only to his passion for being a partner to his wife, Sarah, and father to their four amazing kids (who think Dad’s job is listening to music, drawing pictures and playing on the computer).