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Everything is advertising. Very little today is successful advertising. The more niche it gets, the more universality or relativity is lost. We got into advertising after having designed the Donghia Furniture ads and then some other firm placed them (got commissions, etc). Advertising has high stakes and hence high earning potential, but one has to be on most of the time to sell it to your clients. I like advertising that is simple, clever and talks to the customer as well as anyone else who wants to read it.


Aids is a horrific disease. When I started my studio in NYC, serving the fashion industry, it was just a rumor. But by the time I left Manhattan, it was no rumor. Being fashion designers, many of my clients were gay. Most of them passed all within the space of 3-4 years. I remember crossing them off my Christmas card list. One year I crossed off twelve names.

Alexander Julian

One of the Levi Strauss licensees, we worked on the launch of the Women’s line.

As The World Turns

My husband works for ATWT. I was lucky to know someone there and got to design their 50th anniversary logo. We also designed the animation for the on-screen bug.


We have done many props and prop logos for the show for over 10 years. Our favorite was the entire condom section of a pharmacy.


There’ve been a number.

My favorite was Print Case Book’s package design award for the Perry Ellis Knit Kits.


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Bill Robinson

Brand Design, Great menswear designer, prematurely died of aids.


Martha Voutas (Creamer) Donegan

Matthew Hilbert


I have been continually blessed in my life, I have no doubt. I haven’t always been deserving, but God has taken care of me, and I love him for that.


Branding is so important, and I was lucky to be a neophyte New York City designer in the boom days of branding. At my start in 1973, I worked for Vogue, where I honed my looking ability. But brand design was something I was good at from college, and it became the mainstay of my studio work from 1978 to the present.

brands created

As The World Turns 50th Anniversary


Bill Robinson

Brooklyn Leadership High School

Dana Buchman

Donghia Furniture

Carmelo Pomodoro

Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design

Cornwall Package Store

Drizzle Raincoats

Dukakis Bentsen presidential campaign

Eagle Rock

Fairbrooke Industries

Hambrecht Terrell Interiors

Kent Greenhouse & Gardens

Kent Singers


Northwest Lumber


Personal Diagnostics

Perry Ellis

Perry Ellis America / Levi Strauss & Co.

Perry Ellis International


Rockaway Chamber of Commerce

Women in Foundations Corporate Philanthropy

Zodiac Shoes

brands worked on/with

Adeptus Arts

Alexander Julian Colours

Andrew Geller

Clairborne Menswear

Dixie (Creative Director –CD)

Donghia Showrooms

Fantastik (CD)


Glass Plus (CD)

Izod Lacoste

Liz Claiborne

Perry Ellis

PowerMate (CD)

Salty Dog

Steve Fabrikant

Brooklyn Bureau

Brooklyn Bureau of Community Service (BBCS) is a multi-program agency doing valuable work for the underserved of Brooklyn. After I left Manhattan, when Lily went to school, I was looking to rebuild my clientele. I called on BBCS after a 15 year absence. I’m so happy I did. BBCS helps balance out the fashion side of me.


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Carmelo Pomodoro

Very innovative, tough and creative client. I loved his clothes. Sadly, he died of AIDS. Carmelo bought his house in Cornwall after staying with me at mine.


Current partial list

* As the World Turns

* Baked Jewels

* Battle Hill Forge

* Brooklyn Bureau of Community Service

* Crowe Jeweller

* Cornwall Package Store

* Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design

* Rockaway Chamber of Commerce

* Skylight Communications

* Steve Fabrikant

Full Client List (.doc)

Cline Bettridge Bernstein

Unbelievably talented lighting design firm. We designed their logo in the dark ages and worked on their web design (not implementation) years ago.



Almost every job starts with some form of consultation to assess what the communication needs of the client are. They may be different from what the client thinks they need, so we work to find a way to fuse the implied needs with the necessary steps to get there. The first consult is free. Consulation leading to work is wrapped into the proposal time. Consultation that is pure consultation is billed at the prevailing rate.

Crowe Jeweller

Crowe provided an outlet for Martha’s creative writing, creating weekly ads that ran in the Litchfield County Times, and garnered a fair amount of attention by the locals.


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Dana Buchman

It was truly amazing to be part of the launch of this line for Liz Claiborne corporation. To see where it went, how it grew, how Dana changed, and to get 4 and 5 models working all at once is a task one shouldn’t take on too willingly. Photographer Paul Lange was masterful in getting us there. We found girls, one of whom wasn’t yet Mrs. Rod Stewart, and while Liz didn’t always like them, we did.


Design is the opposite of chaos. Everything needs design. Design creates order. Order promotes communication, ease, and recognition. Who doesn't need design?

Designers’ Designer

I remember Rea Lubar, Perry Ellis’s first press agent, saying, “Designers, they’re a dime a dozen, but a copywriter, I could use a copywriter.” I asked if she would see my portfolio anyway, and she sent me on to Perry and he hired me to design his logo. Too many designers today haven’t been trained in classic design but have messed around a lot on the computer. So today, Rea would probably say they’re worth 5¢ / doz. Design is essential to everything. It’s how we perceive things and ideas and how we get information. It’s how we process work, how things function ergonomically, and why teams succeed. Everything that is successful has design at its core. I ended up being a designers’ designer, and that is challenging and fun.

Deskey Associates

I was delighted to become the 2-D creative director for such an important namesake. When I began, I had 22 people to supervise, then we downsized. Downsizing is so hard. Downsizing was so prevalent because in the digital age everyone believed we could turn things overnight. People forget about the creative process—essential to good design.


I mailed a moving announcement to Donghia at the encouragement of Bill Weaver, his creative director. Angelo saw it and called Billy in saying, “We’ve got to find this moving company.” We won some nice accolades and awards with Donghia’s logo, catalogues and advertising until he gave the account to Peter Rogers.

Drizzle Raincoats

Drizzle was fun. Always. Jane and Jack Lipman were one of those troublesome and hilarious couples behind closed doors that I was always inserting myself between, trying to get them on the same page. Other famous couples, the Chaus’, Perfumers Workshop, Laughlin and Perry, my good friends the Fabrikants.

Dukakis Bentsen

I didn’t want this assignment. I grew up in Massachusetts, and left it pre-Gov. Dukakis. I was a politico junky back then, watching both Democratic and Republican conventions start to finish. Tom Brokaw's commentary on the Duke’s stage setting noted he wanted it to resemble a movie set. So, when a client of mine who also worked for his campaign asked (demanded) that I submit a design for the struggling-to-find-themselves effort, I knew just what he wanted. I designed a flag campaign, with live action and freeze frames, something we’ve seen a great deal of since 9/11, but the campaign just "bought" the flat artwork. In those pre-Internet days, it was tough to get materials out. My company devised the ways and means for dissemination of hard copy, separated art to be shipped via FedEx in tubes. The campaign couldn’t figure that out for themselves, so they didn’t win my vote.

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Less is more quickly read. Better to design with, my dear.

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It’s a strange world to have grown up in, but well worth it for the curve it provided. I keep waiting for those futuristic stretch suits they showed in comics of my youth. One outfit, worn all the time. It would get us out of these cycles, which make old people like me yawn. 


Studied web design and advanced retouching to stay abreast.

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Gant / Salty Dog

Great opportunity missed. Some thoughtful design on our part—did research in the stores that made retailers want to buy into the Gant Shirt program on the verge of great comeback. Ducks weren’t in a row, manufacturing wasn’t in place. Plan for success.

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Henri Bendel

Geraldine Stutz was masterful to work for. Her entire creative leadership team met once a week in her office. We talked about everything—things she’d gotten in the mail, great shoes coming in, new vendors a buyer had found, security concerns, window schemes. She taught me about how to manage a great team—clue them in and let them clue you in on a regularly scheduled basis.

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As Creative Director of Deskey Associates, I worked closely with Iams in Dayton, Ohio, optimizing packaging across both Iams and Eukanuba brands, as well as on launch feasibility for new veterinary products. We ran focus groups with vets at conventions. Everybody talks about increasing brand awareness and the lesson there is, MBA’s aside, make sure your own team’s awareness is where it should be.


Being an illustrator saved my butt when I first came to NYC. I didn’t make enough money working as a designer for Vogue to live here. Illustrating gave me a boost and helped me go out on my own with the money I saved. Those books I illustrated gave me a web presence even when I didn't have a site.

Izod Lacoste

Now there were two brands that shouldn’t have been joined but were in the US when they were my client. Izod Lacoste was tanking and blamed it on trends—preppy being out. Cleaning up the Lacoste side of things helped, but strategically management obviously wasn't ready to divide. Lacoste had a global presence the US didn’t share. Today the Lacoste company owns its name and my old client Bob Speigel from Perry Ellis America is heading up that firm. Izod too is doing much better on its own. I did get to work the US Open for two years in a row, and got to see some great tennis.

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Jerimiah Syme

Illustrator we represented—see www.jdsyme.com

Jewish Board of Families & Children

This was a great big project we worked on. It was quick and I loved it.

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Levi Strauss & Co—Perry Ellis America

Working with Levi’s bigness and Perry Ellis on PE’s home turf was serving two masters. Levi’s turned around and hired us to work on the Alexander Julian women’s launch afterwards, so we succeeded in meeting needs. It was a great go at making snaps and leather patches and novelty tags. Perry's choice for Bruce Weber's launch photography was too Calvin Klein for me. That’s one of the few marketing snafus I saw Perry make. He could call things well.


The best model. Best girl.

Liz Claiborne

Tough one. Liz was going to retire. Needed a surrogate for design/marketing decisions on the off-months she was away from NYC. We were hired. Big retainer. Big company. Very run from the top with little autonomy among the somewhat frightened staff. Spent a fair amount of time with management team setting design priorities and processes. Did some good work though and that makes a difference. LC was aggressively growing then and asked me what designer I would recommend to invest in, bring on. I said “Isaac Mizrahi”. Funny, because now Isaac is heading up Liz Claiborne. He wasn’t interested back then.

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Guest editorship, 1973. One of the last. Yes, I’m that old. Got to Paris and the copy chief called to ask if I would come home in a good enough state of mind (watch that champagne!) to edit my own copy. Yes! Mary Randolf Carter Berg was my editor; she really catapulted me and my career—getting me hired by Conde Nast after HR said “Thanks, we’ll call you if anything opens up,” and hiring me to illustrate for year$ to come.


Misunderstood word. How we communicate about our products, ourselves. That’s what sells it. Selling is something that is driven by good communication. Marketing evolves out of what you got, not how you spin it.

Mass College of Art

Alma Mater. Good school—and it was cheap. People came out of there and knew how to work. Good work habits. Essential. I later chaired their Foundation Board. I asked Jim Champy to replace me. He did.

Matthew Hilbert

My assistant who is more than that. He’s an example of successful home schooling. Matt can source anything well, and isn’t afraid of not knowing something. He is quick and figures it out. He is underpaid, hire us more so I can pay him more.


Good bosses mentor. Lots of people need mentoring. People aren’t taught processes innately these days, so they don’t know how to get what they need. I seriously mentor a few people but don’t spend enough time with them. My twins just got into Babson and Union colleges on full scholarships!! Yeah. Find someone who needs a foot up, and it will fill you with a sense of fulfillment like nothing else.

Milton Glaser

Teacher at SVA nights I studied with for 2 years. He taught me great lessons, the first of which was “Don’t make anything too precious.” Good advice for someone with designer clients.

Mr. Muybridge

My first play, based on the life of Eadweard Muybridge. Constant work in progress. Muybridge was an early inspiration. About as important as How to Wrap 5 Eggs—the book and the show—other early inspirations.


My company in NYC from 1978 to 1993. Martha Voutas Productions Incorporated.

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My nephew Glen Reen is a NASCAR driver. I love racing. See Zodiac, below. My sister, Glen's mom was a consultant on the shoot. We rented the race car from Bobby Reen, Glen's dad. Racy.

Nestle USA

At Deskey, I had the opportunity to write their business proposal as required from Nestle in attempt to limit vendors, manage finances. It was a tome, written between NY office and Cincinnati affice; I was the best writer on the staff, but with little Nestle experience. Still I won us a team interview, was part of the presenters, and Deskey got the business.

Northwest Lumber

Hardware and Lumber store where we had weekend house. Created a brand there that was widely used and leveraged business into a sellable state. Great former owner, a Vietnam dustoff pilot, Dusty Sandmeyer.

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Old Employees

mostly great and deserve acknowledgement for their creative input. Many of the pieces in our portfolio are directly attributable.

Kim Ellerman

June Robinson Nall

Rodney Landi

Allyn Lipari

Norico Kanai

Kathleen Bishop Shartz

Michelle Braverman

The Runners--Tad, Yvette and I forgot your name

Cheryl Doncaster

Sal Taschetta


Eric Savage

Gregg Lipman

Debra Schuman MacRae my ex-college roommate

Janice Hogan

Yvonne Fuentes

Adam Osterfeld

Heidi Stevens

Carin Ullman

Stephanie Relkin

Crazy Jane

The guy I hired away from a friend and lost a friend forever. I’m sorry, Susan.

John Fenyo

Kara Glynn

Camille Rustige

Nick Wojtukiewicz

Matthew Hilbert

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Perry Ellis

Longtime client—6.5 years. Asked me to head up marketing; but couldn’t go in-house. So much had changed in the company, and in Perry too. He was enormously loyal, playful and helpful in getting his licensees to hire me, which made for great growth in those years. I loved the work we did for Perry and always will.

Perfumer’s Workshop

Married owners. Interesting fragrance company that needed marketing plan and when they heard it asked if I had read their personal papers—“How did you know that?” Looking hard, listening well.


I love playwriting. It is all about order and one has such control over every thing and each character for the length of the play. One requires free space in your brain to listen to characters though, without it you’re sunk.


I saw a portfolio or two a day in all my years as Assistant Art Director of Vogue, and as Art Director of Bendel’s. I got really good at discovering talent and at telling people what they needed to know about their books. In my own business, I continued to see portfolios and to critique when I thought someone could hear. Don’t show stuff you don’t personally love.

Press archive

Press Archive (PDF)


Process is a big deal not made too big in this day and age. But getting back to it—that’s why the success of Martha Stewart, the food channel, American Idol, Biggest Losers, Home design shows, Cooke’s. Experts sharing how things are done—giving us access to technique, steps, how to’s. Process in design gets short shrift because of computers. That’s a shame. Nothing’s changed; we still have to run it through our brains to sort out the best.


We do props. Here are some.


Result of people experiencing things out of the ordinary and being asked to deal with it like nothing happened. My first husband came back from Vietnam with PTSD. It’s in the vernacular now. It wasn’t. People were called crazy.

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Queens Council on the Arts

Great art map opportunity.


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Rockaway Chamber of Commerce

Logo and Website designed by us.

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School of Visual Arts

See Milton Glaser above. Also taught there for 2 years in continuing ed. classes. Graphic Design for Fashion (which I wanted to call “LOOKING 101” but was talked out of it).

Skylight Communication

Joanne Wojtusiak is a tough, terrific critic for anyone about to face an audience. She is very helpful in getting you focused and eradicating guffaws.


Worked on lots of shoe clients—Andrew Geller, Geoffrey Beene, Palizzio, AuPair, Proxy, Perry Ellis Shoes, Portfolio Shoes.


Our favorites: Adobe Creative Suite; Matthew can learn, run anything.

Steve Fabrikant

A client today. Nancy Fabrikant found me speaking at AWED. We have worked on and off since 1988, and Steve and I often brainstorm about other avenues of business. He is very creative. The line is handknit and especially well made.

We designed, built their website and work closely with them to update it each season.

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team building

I am from a family of 8. I learned team building in my diapers. See Henri Bendel above for what it takes, but it does take time and energy. The team always needs reinvesting in.

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Vietnam War

I spent years trying to find out where the guys my age were who weren’t messed up and then I figured out that Vietnam and my youth coincided. I went my way—they went theirs. I went to the dedication ceremony in DC for the Wall. I reconnected with Mike Creamer, two years later, we married. He taught me all about the war from many perspectives. When he died, I was a member of the Ct. Governor’s Emergency Council on Veterans Affairs. War leaves deep wounds in our soldiers. It wounds them in ways they often cannot overcome.


My first job after college. I started out reading every article because I eventually had to make all the copy fit, and sometimes hire illustrators. I had a very competitive boss; that probably taught me to be a good boss. Devil Wears Prada is very real.

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web design

Matthew does most of the implementation. We’re a good team.
cbbld.com (Original Design Only)
crowejeweller.com (Copy Only)

Woman’s Day

Ellen Levine was looking for a designer to redesign the magazine. Ann Shakeshaft, an old friend was up for the job, and asked if we’d team it. It took about 9 months to overturn the old design regime, but we boosted the advertising revenue extensively, and made a great friend out of Ellen.


I have always written and would like to write more. Doesn’t matter what. My career in NYC began because of my written entry to Mademoiselle magazine’s competition. My favorite writers: Tillie Olson, Jane Austen, William Manchester.


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Zodiac Shoes