Spotlight On: The Narrative

Meet Dan McManus and Sofya Karash, Partners and Design Directors at The Narrative

Dan McManus grew up in Connecticut, moved to Boston to attend Northeastern University (BS in Graphic Design), and later to Chicago to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago (MFA in Graphic Design). He was an Adjunct Associate Professor at University of Illinois at Chicago and Lecturer at Washington University and at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he taught professional practice, advanced graphic design, typography, and more.

Sofya Karash is a Ukrainian-born designer and educator, a graduate of Maryland Institute College of Art (BFA in Graphic Design and Illustration), and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA in Visual Communication Design). Sofya is an Assistant Professor, Adj. at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she has taught a wide range of courses over the last decade including graduate seminars, data visualization, and image-making for designers.

Since our founding in 2012, The Narrative has had an all-consuming passion for design. Our research-based methodology, custom project approach, and inspired dedication to the design process lead to compelling and effective visual narratives that reflect the quality, consistency, and innovation of our client’s products and services.

Here are some of The Narrative’s projects.

150 Media Stream
Naming, identity, marketing and web design

Artspace 304
Identity, illustration, and web design

Book design, writing & exhibition

900 910 Lake Shore Drive
Identity and web design

For more about our deep dive into everything Mies and our research and design process check out a talk we did for The Type Directors Club about the 900 910 project: The Search for Mies Typography: Branding 900 910 Lake Shore Drive.

To hear more about our backgrounds, design process, and The Narrative listen to our recent conversation on the Underscore Podcast.

In March of 2022, The Narrative moved to St. Louis from Chicago, opening an office in the Central West End. It’s been a joy to discover our new home—Sofya joined the communications committee of the Lafayette Square Neighborhood Association and loves spending time at Lafayette Park. Dan is a season ticket holder for St. Louis City SC and a member of the Saint Louis City Punks supporter group. GO CITY!

We have also loved exploring with our daughter Gala—some of our favorites are drawing at the Pulitzer, fishing at the History Museum, getting inspired at TechArtista, looking at bugs at The Magic House, and breathing in the fresh air at the Botanical Gardens.

As the newest design studio in town, we were honored to be asked to brand AIGA St. Louis Design Show 26—the show has a great tradition and we were ecstatic to be able to contribute to the St. Louis design community and introduce ourselves and our work.

Long before this project we had become fascinated with discussing and photographing the typographic vernacular in our new environment and used this as a foundation for determining what Saint Louis,-inspired typography looks like.

Our first impression was that it is a “serif city” based on the historic typography within walking distance of our home, but once we ventured out we quickly realized it is much more eclectic and quirky. One constant seemed to be Art Deco type— it is everywhere. We were also fascinated with the flag and Arch and were hoping to include subtle references to them in our design. Eventually, we found the perfect two typefaces for the show (both with French origins like Saint Louis)—we used FF Pigalle for the primary typeface and Maax for the secondary.

The implementation of the branding for Design Show 26 was bold and playful—reflecting the joy of bringing the design community together in person for the first AIGA Design Show since the start of the pandemic.

Thank you to everyone who came to the show and a big congratulations to all of the winners—it was inspiring to see your work.

We look forward to doing more for and with our local design community and to meeting more designers, educators, students, creatives, and just good people in this great city—you can follow us at @thenarrativedesign or contact us at


Share Button
By AIGA Saint Louis
Published May 16, 2023