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New Project: ADDitude

26 Oct ADDitude Magazine, Winter 2016 cover
ADDitude Magazine, Winter 2016 cover

The cover of the ADDitude Winter 2016 issue.


First spread of a feature on children with ODD.


Opening spread of a feature on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

I’m pleased to be working on a new freelance project as the Consulting Creative Director of ADDitude magazinePart of New Hope Media, ADDitude is the premier media network dedicated to providing authoritative, in-depth information coupled with practical, real-life solutions for families and individuals impacted by attention deficit and learning differences. The Winter 2016 issue is my first and will soon be arriving to subscribers, physician’s offices, schools and special educators, newsstands, and other places where ADHD families turn for help. I find great satisfaction as a publication designer when I can work as part of a collaborative team that presents readers with the information they’re looking for, and does it in a creative and supportive way that makes the content easily accessible. I’m pleased with the results, and look forward to working with the ADDitude staff on this fun and important publication.


Join the iPad and Tablet Revolution

17 Jun

Graphic of Tablet ComputerIt’s hard to believe that the iPad has only been around since 2010. In a subway car a year ago, one or two people had an iPad or Android tablet, but now it seems like every fifth person has one. I’ve heard, “Print is dead,” several times during my career, but I don’t see that happening anytime, soon. I know that how we access books and magazines has changed forever. Publication designers need digital and interactive skills to stay competitive and marketable. If you’re ready to enter this exciting new world, I can help.

Take iPad Digital Design at NYU SCPS Department of Design Digital Arts and Film, where I’m an Adjunct Assistant Professor. While working with clients on tablet publications, I realized that people were hungry for help. That made sense: no one had really done much of it before. I approached my department, and was excited when they decided to offer the course and appointed me to teach it. My students learn how to plan and produce a user-friendly digital product for clients and the intended audience, and expand their design skills by solving problems within the limits of the emerging technology. We use Adobe InDesign and Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) to produce content for the iPad and Tablet. Find out more and register here.

Subscribe to my online course, iPad and Tablet Design Essentials, at This is an online cousin to the classroom course. You’ll find over five hours of downloadable content, mostly in the form of video demos that show exactly what you’ll see on your screen. Learn the essentials of interactive tablet design, and producing interactive PDFs, eMagazines, and eBooks using InDesign CS6, and CS5.5. Nearly half of the course is devoted to producing publications with the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (DPS). There’s also a brief overview of Apps, three pages of resources, and downloadable templates and images used in the video lectures for students who want to follow along. Sign up here and get it for only $89 through June 30, 2012, over 30% off the regular price of $129

Do you work better with individual instruction? I can bring my experience to you with a customized curriculum to meet your goals, over one session or multiple ones that fit your schedule. Please contact me at Joseph[at]JosephCaserto[dot]com for rates and more details.

Which option should you choose? Online is great for students on a budget who want to work at their own pace. The NYU course is the best option for those in the New York City area, who like the structure of meeting once a week and working in a group. Individual sessions are for you if you want one-on-one attention and need to learn specific techniques. Regardless, if you’re working in the world of print publishing, digital and interactive skills are fast becoming mandatory. Successful designers and producers will start expanding their knowledge today, in order to deliver to the readers of tomorrow. So, what are you waiting for? Join me in the revolution!

Advantage: Freelancers

2 May

Freelancers’ Stock Rises on Madison Avenue, by Rupal Parekh, Agency Editor of Advertising Age, affirms a trend that I’ve been seeing as the economy improves: if you’re a good freelancer, you’re in demand. She observes, “With clients’ marketing budgets rallying after a recession that led to the layoff of thousands of full-time staffers, freelancers are shouldering much of the workload.” I have two pieces of advice for anyone freelancing right now: don’t be afraid to let your capitalist flag fly, and ride the wave while it lasts.

After desperately looking for a freelancer to help with a big print project, [a colleague] told me, ‘it feels like it’s 1996, again: everyone good is booked.'”

Freelancers are valuable right now. Many businesses that let staff go during the recession aren’t re-hiring workers as we emerge from it. Instead, they’re using a rotating pool of temps who are almost always sent packing and replaced before they work enough hours to earn benefits and overtime pay. Sure, this gives the freelance market a nice shot in the arm, but it also gives companies a source of labor that doesn’t come with the overhead of having a full-time staff.

As the recovery builds, corporations are facing the reality that they can no longer have their cake and eat it, too, and are conceding that talent costs money. This is certainly true in my industry, publishing. During the recession, freelance rates were low because work was scarce and employers had the upper hand in terms of compensation. Salaries were slashed for the staff jobs that still existed, and independent workers were accepting rates that people turned down when I first began my career, twenty years ago. Now, with tablet publishing creating a market that needs a new set of skills, supply and demand are giving independents much more leverage. One manager at a major national consumer magazine pays good freelancers $60-$75/hour to work on the iPad and tablet editions. After desperately looking for a freelancer to help with a big print project, another told me, “it feels like it’s 1996, again: everyone good is booked.”

Mind you, what goes up must come down, and the recent economic crisis certainly won’t be the last. So, while the going is good, smart freelancers will work on paying down debt, and stashing some cash for the next rainy day. Some options for doing this are a business savings account and a retirement plan. ING Direct, which pays higher interest rates than many other institutions, offers business and retirement products, and Freelancers Union, where I sit on the Board of Directors, has a 401k plan for qualified members.

Indy workers always have value, but the high demand for freelancers in the current economy empowers us to earn more and invest in our futures. It’s a perfect time to proudly take a seat at the table as a skilled professional, and avoid the “I’m just a freelancer” trap.

No Soap, SOPA: Solidarity Sends Washington a Powerful Message

1 Feb

Wikepedia goes dark in protest of SOPA

The battle to stop SOPA proved that people working together using a free and open internet is a powerful weapon for creating change.

Legislation in the House of RepresentativesH.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), is, “a bill to promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and in- novation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.” The Senate version, S. 968, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), is, “to prevent online threats to economic creativity and theft of intellectual property, and for other purposes.”

While protecting intellectual property is a major concern of creative pros, many of us felt that SOPA would do more harm than good, by limiting free speech and giving big business even more power, which would harm our ability to make a living in this tough economy. In fact,  The Graphic Artists Guild, of which I’m a member, withdrew its support of the bill in December, and issued this statement.

With SOPA up for a vote on January 18, internet users turned the very platform SOPA would limit to launch a massive and powerful protest. Thousands of sites—including my own—went dark, replacing their home pages with a protest one. Tweets with #Blackout SOPA were trending. Google blacked out its logo, Wikipedia went dark,  and Jeff Bezos blogged about Facebook’s opposition to the legislation.

Tweet during SOPA Blackout, January 18, 2012.

Washington had no choice but to pay attention, and by the afternoon, two Senators withdrew their support for the bill. Others followed, and by the end of the week, it was announced that SOPA, at least in its current form, was dead.

This type of legislation is sure to come back, and when it does, it will hopefully be much smarter and balanced. My representative, Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-NY), agrees in her response, dated February 1, 2012, to my message asking her to vote against PIPA:

Thank you for writing to me regarding S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act of 2011. I understand the concerns that have been raised over the original approach towards solving the problem online piracy poses to our overall economy and New York jobs. All New Yorkers should be able to agree on the shared goals of cracking down on the illegal piracy of copyrighted material without any unintended consequences of stifling the internet or online innovation.

After working hard with my colleagues to make important changes and improve the Protect IP legislation, it became clear that a consensus on a balanced approach to achieve these shared goals could not be reached. I believe it is time for Congress to take a step back and start over with both sides bringing their solutions to the table to find common ground towards solving this problem.”

For more thoughts on the future of SOPA, here’s a piece from the Huffington Post, by entertainment attorney Ivan J. Parron.

The important lesson to be learned from this is that there is power in each of us, and when we combine it and stand together as one, real change is possible. Fighting SOPA in the digital arena helped bring that change fast, but only because we had—and used—an internet that allowed us to use our guaranteed right of free speech.

Two American Graphic Design Awards

13 Sep

I’m proud to have won two American Graphic Design Awards From GDUSA Magazine, for the third consecutive year. The winners are a spread from Countdown Magazine, published by The Meredith Parents Network | Custom Solutions, and the other for, my personal website. These pieces were among the 15% of over 8,000 entries to receive an Awards Certificate of Excellence, and I thank the Editors and Judges for selecting them. They will be published in print in the American Graphic Design Awards Annual, which serves as the November/December 2011 issue of GDUSA, and on the web in the Online Winners Gallery.


The Truth About C-Sections homepage Home Page

Paper Cuts: BW Chicago

BW Chicago Cover: Paper Cuts

Solidarity: BW Chicago

BW Chicago: The Power of Black Solidarity

Freelance Labor Isn’t Free

22 May

I have great clients who pay me as agreed. Unfortunately, many independent workers do not. The good news is that something’s being done to stop non-payment of independent contractors in New York State, but we need your help to make sure our efforts are successful! See the two simple steps that you can take to help get freelancers paid, after the jump.

unpaid wages flyer

Download this nifty flyer to attach to an email or post on your wall, and remind co-workers, friends, and family that they’re being ripped off, too!

Last year, according to estimates from a Rutgers University study, New York State saw a staggering $4.7 BILLION IN LOST WAGES! I had the privilege of traveling to Albany this week with the Freelancers Union (where I’m also running for a spot on the board) to lobby at the Capitol for the Freelancer Payment Protection Act (S4129/A6698). This bi-partisan bill gives NY State independent contractors the existing legal protections that traditional employees have under the Department of Labor. The legislation is self-funding: companies found liable by the DOL Commissioner will be fined 25% of the amount they owe, which will pay for the law’s enforcement. The investment of passing the bill—about $500,000 according to lobbyists’ estimates—would pay out exponentially by generating $323 MILLION in NY State tax revenue that’s not being collected, due to non-payment of independent contractors. We’re pulling out all the stops to make sure the bill is passed in the Senate before it adjourns for the summer, and we need your help!

1. Please call or write your NY State Senator to ask him or her to support our bill. Go to the New York State Senate website, enter your information in the “Find My Senator” fields at the top left of the window, and once you click submit, fill out the Contact Your Senator form (copy and paste the editable text below, or write your own). You can also call your senator’s office using the numbers listed, and use the text below as a script for your conversation. Or, even easier, use this form from Freelancers Union and edit the pre-written message, which will be sent to the appropriate legislators based on your address when you enter it.

2. Forward this post to friends and family, and ask them to support this legislation. Even if you’re not an Independent Worker, you know some of us, and likely work with or hire us.

Passing this bill will help to bring fairness to the Independent Workforce in NY State, which encompasses occupations such as Management, Arts, Entertainment, Transportation, Legal, and Healthcare, and pump millions of dollars into the State’s economy. The bill is sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Martin Golden (R) of Brooklyn, and as of right now, has 15 co-sponsors spanning both parties.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to help NY State’s economy and workers!

All best,


Cut and Paste this editable text and
email it to your New York State Senator

Co-Sponsor the Freelancer Payment Protection Act (S4129)

Editable Text:
As a resident of your district, and the (parent/sibling/relative/friend) of a New York freelancer, I know that Freelancers often struggle to collect owed wages from clients. Yet unlike traditional employees, Freelancers lack any labor protections to ensure that they get paid for the work they do. A recent study by Rutgers University economist William Rodgers shows that 42% of independent workers in New York State had trouble collecting payment last year, totaling an estimated $4.7 billion in lost wages.

The bipartisan Freelancer Payment Protection Act (S4129) was introduced this spring to provide the same wage protection to independent contractors that New York has provided to employees for decades. Rather than having independent contractors waste time and money pursuing owed wages on their own—through small claims court or by hiring an attorney—this bill would allow independent contractors to file a claim through the New York State Department of Labor. This solution not only helps the individual but also could help New York State recoup millions in state tax revenue that is lost every year due to client nonpayment.

As your constituent, I ask that you please co-sponsor S4129 to ensure that my (child/sibling/relative/friend)–and every worker–can collect the money that they have rightfully earned.


(Your Name)

Gianni’s Insight

29 Jan

Insight, By Gianni Lopergolo

I was very saddened to hear that Gianni Lopergolo, a schoolmate, passed away this week after a long battle with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gherig’s Disease.

A few years ago I was introduced to Gianni’s beautiful book, Insight, and also learned the sad news that he was sick. We both graduated from Marlboro High School, and I was surprised that I never knew he was a photographer, since artistic students usually crossed paths in such a small school. Gianni’s vision is impressive, and the images in Insight, created for Hasbro, revolutionized the way the company photographed their products. The book, designed by his wife, Alex, is sponsored by Hasbro to raise funds for the National ALS Association, its Rhode Island Chapter, and a fund for Gianni’s three young sons, Matteo, Marco, and Massimo.

Insight is much more than a showcase of Gianni’s photography. Its power comes from his thoughts on his love for photography, how his art helped him cope with his illness, and how his imagination helped him enjoy his family’s future while he could. Personally, I’m grateful that his work allowed us to connect, however briefly. I didn’t hesitate to promote Insight on his behalf to faculty at photography schools, which he hoped would use the book in their courses.

In the dedication of Insight to his family, Gianni writes, “I hope you will have no regrets in life and that you will find this book a source of inspiration and passion.” It’s in this spirit that I’m posting his story, with deepest sympathies to his family and friends, and hope that you will find as much inspiration and passion in his legacy, as I do. Rest in peace, Gianni; I’m thankful that your suffering is over.

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Airforce Special Forces
Joe vs. Cobra

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