The History of Plazm

Plazm is a creative studio founded in Portland, Ore., in 1991 with the launch of Plazm magazine. Together with our clients, we solve problems, tell stories, and seek out truth.


Plazm magazine started as a cooperatively published, not-for-profit periodical that sparked a nascent creative community in early 1990s Portland. As the magazine garnered accolades and awards, it spawned a commercial design and branding firm whose clients have included Nike, LucasFilm, and MTV, along with local businesses and nonprofits such as PICA, the Northwest Film Center, and Fort George Brewery.

When Plazm Design co-founder Niko Courtelis moved back to Portland from New York City, he and Joshua Berger relaunched the studio with some of their long-term collaborators in fields such as type design, editorial content, and public policy. Plazm magazine is now published by the 501c3 nonprofit Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, under Josh’s leadership as founding Art Director.