Small Design Firm specializes in the design and implementation of interactive, dynamic graphical applications. In making information accessible to people, it is necessary for designers to rethink current design paradigms. The computer screen is not a piece of paper and should not be treated as such. By taking advantage of the ability of the computer to display dynamic, flexible, and adaptive typography and imagery, we can invent new ways for people to read, interact with, and assimilate information. Likewise, the combination of innovative visualization with architectural space and well-designed physical interfaces puts potentially limitless spaces within a human context.


Small Design Firm
234 Broadway, suite 1
Cambridge, MA 02139

617 661 6680 : telephone
617 661 6685 : fax

We are located on Broadway between Kendall and Central Squares. Nearest Redline T stop: Kendall Square.

To order DVD portfolio, pamphlet, or press kit, send an email to dave[at]


David Small (creative director) completed his Ph.D. at the MIT Media Laboratory in 1999, where his research focused on the display and manipulation of complex visual information. This was his third degree from MIT. He began his studies of dynamic typography in three dimensional landscapes as a student of Muriel Cooper, founder of the Visible Language Workshop, and later joined the Aesthetics and Computation Group under the direction of John Maeda. His thesis, Rethinking the Book, examined how digital media, in particular the use of three-dimensional and dynamic typography, will change the way designers approach large bodies of information. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, Documenta11, the Centre Pompidou, and the Cooper-Hewitt. He is the principal and founder of Small Design Firm. From 2008 to 2010 he was an Associate Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he directed a research group at the MIT Media Lab.


Jenna Fizel (programmer + designer) joined Small Design Firm after working at KPF NY as a computational geometry designer. She graduated from MIT’s Department of Architecture with a BSAD in 2007. In her spare time Jenna enjoys exploring folded forms and creating small DIY projects.

Liz Hill (office/project manager) comes to SDF with a history in commercial & corporate video production and marketing strategy. She has two decades experience representing the work of some of the finest visual designers, directors, writers, and performers in the Northeast. A communications/literature grad, Liz grew up in, and has a penchant for, the antique auction world. She’s worked with experts from The Antiques Roadshow and in the folk art department at Sotheby’s NYC. A client liaison, she arranges consignments to select houses. Liz covets and collects early tin lithographed wind-up toys and circus ephemera.

Nathan Lachenmyer (programmer + designer) received an S.B. in Physics and M.Eng. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science before joining Small Design Firm in 2013. His research previously focused on instrumentation design and engineering, in particular designing devices for precision experiments with single atoms and biological cells. His current focus is interactive hardware and software design. Nathan also has a strong interest in computational design and digital fabrication which he calls upon in making fun interactive art installations during his off hours.

Michael McKenna , Ph.D, (partner) has been a partner at Small Design Firm since 2001. He has expertise in computer visualization and simulation techniques, and has implemented systems for 3D imaging, computer graphics and animation, human-computer interfaces, physical simulation, and biomechanical modeling. He has directed and animated award-winning short-films, which use novel techniques for computer-generated motion control. Dr. McKenna received his Ph.D. from the MIT Media Laboratory in 1994, his third degree from MIT. His dissertation examined the dynamic simulation of a complex human figure model, with 90 degrees of freedom, a complexity nearly unheard of in the animation and simulation communities. In 1992, McKenna co-founded Medical Media Systems, where he designed and implemented the "MMS Preview" application, for pre-visualizing and planning surgeries and other treatments, on low-cost personal computers. Preview has FDA approval as a medical device, and has been granted Medicare reimbursement. Mike has widely published his technical work, and his computer graphics images have been shown in Scientific American, Smithsonian Magazine, Science News and Computer Graphics.

Copernicus McSmallertons (chief canine officer) has been with Small Design Firm since emigrating from Canada at the tender age of 7 weeks. He has trained with a variety of local specialists. His duties include greeting visitors, delivering and opening packages, and keeping meetings from going too long. When not working, he enjoys long hikes, swimming, fetch and helping around the kitchen. He recently turned five years old.

Akua Nti (programmer) received an S. B. and an M. Eng. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT. Her interests include data visualization, speech and language, how people learn things, and photography. When she isn't working, she can be found eating tasty food, reading, or participating in various physical activities.

Morgan Packard (programmer + designer) Before joining Small Design Firm in 2012, Morgan studied jazz saxophone at New England Conservatory, earned a anthropology from Tufts University, performed in ten countries across three continents as a laptop musician, and co-wrote an audiovisual app for iPad which was featured in iTunes’ “best of 2010” list. In his free time, he sometimes builds huge crystalline sculptures out of nothing more than recycled office paper and tape, and continues to create engrossing musical experiences for touchscreen devices. Morgan’s not sure anymore whether he’s an artist or an engineer, and is just fine with that.

Andy Stuhl (associate programmer + designer) joined Small Design Firm in 2013 after completing his B.A. in Science, Technology and Society at Stanford University. His academic work has centered on the technological and cultural dimensions of sound recording and new media. He believes that community radio, comics, and hearty food are sources of good in the world.

Kate Terrado (senior designer) graduated from Northeastern University with a BFA in Graphic Design. She joined Small Design Firm in 2011 after working as a visual and interaction designer in Berlin, Germany. Her interests include typography, travel, and diagramming sentences.