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The Independent Group is the nom du plume of Isaac Gertman. 

The Independent Group (US) is a multidisciplinary design practice that collaborates with a diverse group of individuals, groups, organizations, and commercial clients to create distinctive work that establishes meaningful, lasting connections with their audiences. We are dedicated to forward-thinking initiatives that promote education, sustainability, and positive social impact.


Isaac Gertman is designer, writer, educator, and typography enthusiast, with a keen interest in the overlapping social, cultural, and infrastructural systems found in cities. He has experience in the strategic planning, design, and production of editorial and brand identity systems, websites, publications, printed ephemera, motion graphics, wayfinding systems, and exhibitions. 

In addition to providing creative and design direction to the clients of The Independent Group, he is Design Director of Terreform, an urban research and advocacy center that investigates the forms, policies, technologies, and practices that will yield equitable, sustainable, and beautiful cities for our urbanizing planet. He was named a Public Access Design Fellow by the Center for Urban Pedagogy in 2014, and oversees the Design Fellowship of The Wassaic Project.

As a
 faculty member of the Maryland Institute College of Art, he teaches advanced courses in Graphic Design, Typography, Branding, and Publication Design. In 2015, he won the prestigious MICA Trustees Fellowship Award for Excellence in Teaching. He previously taught at Parsons, the New School for Design; City College, in the Graduate Department of Landscape Architecture; and Rhode Island School of Design.

His work has been recognized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts, Society of Publication Designers, the American Society of Landscape Architects, and has been featured in numerous books and blogs. His writing has appeared in Print magazine, Step magazine, DesignBureau, and the design blog SpeakUp. Isaac received an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art.


Hieu Tran, senior designer, is a graphic designer, ex-engineer, and wine lover. In addition to his role at The Independent Group, he is the George Bunting Fellow at Maryland Institute College of Art (2016–17). His is work has been recognized by the Society of Publication Designers, Print Magazine, Communication Arts, the Adobe Design Awards, and others. He earned an MFA in Graphic Design from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and Bachelors degrees in Computer Science and Cognitive Science from Johns Hopkins University. 



Branding and Identity
Brand strategy
Logo design

Printed ephemera
Marketing collateral
Advertising campaigns
Naming and copywriting
Trade shows
Exhibit design


Publication development
Launches and redesigns
Annual reports

Website design
Content management systems
Online advertising campaigns
Motion graphics

And the Name?

The Independent Group (UK) consisted of artists, architects, writers, and critics that met and collaborated informally at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London from 1952–55. As a group, they explored a range of concerns including questioning dominant Modernist thought, and the role of waste in contemporary popular culture. Their approach was inclusive and multi-disciplinary, and the influences they drew upon were diverse. It is this spirit that guides our approach: We are invested in making collaborative work that is innovative, timely, and has a lasting impact.

Selected Clients

Adengo Architects
Alejandro Durán
Alice Engel
The Desk of Alice Twemlow
Bicycle Film Festival
Brown University
Center for Court Innovation
City College Spitzer School of Architecture
Columbia University School of Business
Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts
Design Trust for Public Space
Institute for Transportation and Development Policy
Jen Turner, architect
Mario Batali Foundation
Metropolis Magazine
Michael Sorkin Studio
National Chorale
New York Philharmonic
Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery
NYC Department of Parks and Recreation
Parsons, The New School for Design
Piloblus Dance Company
Rhode Island School of Design
Sweets & Bitters Magazine
The New School
USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station (NYC)
Urban Think-Tank
Van Alen Institute
The Wassaic Project