Rubric is a design consultancy with offices in Los Angeles and New York City.


We build websites and digital products that are designed to perform.

We are more than a graphic design studio – we are strategic partners that help design-minded businesses and institutions connect their goals with effective strategy and innovative design. We start from the ground up, working to gain a deep understanding of how your business works and the root of the challenges at hand. Why are you starting this project? What goals need to be met? What defines success? 

At Rubric, our goal is to create websites and digital products that drive results. All of our projects start with a Piloting phase where we identify and refine the project objectives, research the industry, and design a course of action that will inform exactly what needs to be built and how.





Market Research
Brand Strategy
Content Strategy
Information Architecture


Creative Direction
Website Design
User Interface Design
User Experience Design
Interactive Prototyping
Responsive Design


Front-end Development
Back-end Development
Ruby on Rails Development
HTML5 Web App Development
HTML5 Mobile App Development
Custom CMS Development


A team with a passion for driving impact through great design.


Alex Pines


Alex is one of the principals and co-founders of Rubric. He has over ten years of experience working with teams both large and small, in-house and client services, technology startups and advertising agencies. Prior to founding Rubric, Alex was a co-founder of Los Angeles based design firm Studio Unlisted. His work and writing has been featured in design magazines and publications including HOW, Communication Arts, IDEA Magazine, I-D, and PRINT Magazine. Alex is a member of the design for social change initiative, Project M and is an assistant professor at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, California.


Sam Trapkin


Sam is a founding partner and Principal at Rubric. Overseeing the strategy and design direction of the studio’s interactive projects, Sam has successfully led dozens of projects from inception to launch, ranging from brand experience sites to multi-platform product roll outs. Prior to founding Rubric, Sam was a co-founder of Studio Unlisted with Alex. At Rubric, he has been the project lead on some of the studio’s most challenging and immersive projects. Sam is a part-time faculty member at the Otis College of Art and Design where he teaches interactive design.


Justin Gilman


Justin is a founding partner and Principal at Rubric. With over 13 years of expertise in building and managing online experiences, Justin oversees the marketing and business development efforts of the studio. Prior to founding Rubric, Justin worked for a number of small design studios and agencies in Baltimore and Chicago. In 2011, Justin opened up his own design studio, Twin Collective, and worked with a wide variety of clients including Microsoft, Dropbox, and Marc Maron. He currently lives in New York City and focuses on building new partnerships and growth for Rubric.


Riyaz Shaikh


Riyaz is a technology architect with over 12 years of hands-on experience developing high-impact digital projects. Prior to joining Rubric, Riyaz led template development at Squarespace helping produce their award winning template products. At Rubric, Riyaz focuses on creating flexible technology solutions for a diverse spectrum of functional and content requirements. He is currently based out of Boston, and loves helping startups & nonprofits launch their ideas.


Q & A


How do you decide which projects to take on?

We take on projects where we feel like we can really make an impact on a client’s business. We generally don’t take on projects where we can only be involved in one piece of the process like design or development – we feel that we provide maximum value where we can take a project from start to finish, involved in everything from design strategy to implementation.


We need more than just a single website or app project. Do you offer any retainer services?

Yes. We understand that the needs of a growing company aren’t always clear-cut or predictable. We serve as a design team for startups and businesses, offering a flexible solution to answer to those ever-evolving needs.


Why don’t you do project estimates up front?

In our experience, the best results are achieved by first understanding the true goals and roots of the project – no two projects are the same. That’s why all of our engagements start with a short Piloting phase where we work with you to articulate the project goals, success metrics, and project requirements. This helps us build a plan for where you need to go, how to get there, how long it will take, how much it will cost, and what challenges you could face along the way. This ensures that the budget and timeline makes sense for both parties, expectations are aligned, and that the project has a realistic roadmap to success.

What kind of businesses do you work with?

Our clients range from the startup to enterprise level in a variety of industries including sports science, active sports, financial technology, educational technology, and aerospace to name a few. We partner with institutions and nonprofits as well. Generally, the industry is less important than the culture, people, and goals of the partners we choose to work with.


Is Rubric right for us?

If you’re looking for a partner to make great work with and help get the most out of your website or product, then yes. If you’re looking for the cheapest or fastest option and don’t care how it gets done, then we would not be a good fit. Our clients hire us for our expertise and track record in producing successful digital projects.


Do you work with nonprofits?

Yes. However, our approach remains the same – to create a course of action that produces real results. We still take the same planning-based approach to define what will make the project successful and what it will take to get there. To learn more about how we work with nonprofits, please get in touch.