Spotlight: Joe Zeff Design

These wild ones are bringing their 3-D design to a tablet device near you

Designer Joe Zeff first made his living in the print world, at the likes of The New York Times and Time magazine, where he helped pioneer 3-D graphics for print using the same animation software James Cameron employed for Titanic. Now, as head of his eponymous studio in Montclair, N.J., he’s taken his 3-D know-how to tablets, flipping his print-centric business to one that’s practically all digital. His newest trick: Building apps for content creators, enabling them to self-publish directly to the iPad and Android devices, bypassing traditional media altogether. His firm’s latest app, The Final Hours of Portal 2, uses multimedia to tell the story behind the hit video game. In projects like that one, Zeff sees possibilities for the tablet that traditional publishers are missing. “Their big focus is, how do we take our content and put it on as many platforms as possible?” he says. But “we’re creating new ways to tell stories. The iPad is the most effective storytelling vehicle ever. The paradigm has completely changed.”

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