How This One Flyer Inspired Huge Act of Kindness, Take a LOOK

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Max Kolomatsky has an artistic eye, so works as a digital artist and filmmaker. Earlier this year he found himself in a sort of creative rut and had no idea how to spark his inspiration. Then, by chance, he spotted someone’s flier stuck on a pole. That poster could use some help, he realized. So he drew a better one and posted it beside the original. Totally free of charge, just because it would help someone out.

Artistic eye and a kind heart

The artistic eye of 24-year-old Max Kolomatsky knew exactly what was needed, even before his brain consciously realized it. While wandering the streets of Brooklyn, New York, Max noticed a “flier taped to a pole.” His first thought was that the sign could use some help. Suddenly he had his flash of inspiration.

When I see something poorly designed, it’s in me to imagine how I would do it differently.” That, he exclaims “got me really excited.

The handbill which caught his eye was “soliciting people to join a game-night group.” Catan is a popular board game and a local group was “looking for individuals interested in playing.” Anyone else would have seen it, read it and walked on by, barely noticing.

The original proclaimed: “Hey! Do you like to play Catan? We recently moved to Bushwick and we are searching for people for awesome game board nights!!!!!” That sign might actually work if it looked a little sharper, he thought. Then he made the leap of inspiration and decided to go ahead and just fix the darn thing for them.

It was clear to Max’s professionally trained eye that the flier “was cluttered and text-heavy.” He didn’t know the folks who stuck it up there but felt “compelled to give the sign more charm.

With nothing much to do that fateful February day, Kolomatsky couldn’t get that poster out of his head until he came up with one like it, “but a little bit more fun and magical.” He bizzed it up then went back and “taped the revamped poster to the same pole, next to the original.” That was his first random act of graphic design kindness but wasn’t the last.

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Heartwarming and cool

When Maria Barambio noticed the new and improved version of her flier, she was amazed. “I have very limited knowledge of photoshop,” the 32-year-old explains. “What he did was super heartwarming. It was very cool.” She had just moved to the city from Paris in July. The act of kindness sparked by his creative eye for improvement broke him out of his funk, too.

All it took was the sudden realization that “there were signs all over New York that could use an artist’s touch.” While not getting paid to do the work, he could still use the project as material for his legitimate work. A win-win situation for everyone. It got him some national attention and a cushy job offer but that isn’t why he did it.

Mostly Max likes his random sign improvements because it gave him a wide range of interesting subjects to spark even more ideas. “There are a lot of interesting fliers out there,” Max observes. Many are “not achieving their full potential.” The changes don’t need to be dramatic to be extremely effective.

He now keeps his eye out everywhere he goes, “on the lookout for other signs to improve, specifically ones for local businesses.” He really wants to “support those who would appreciate his work the most.” So far, Kolomatsky completed five such improvements. He’s done ones for “a handyman, a band and a mover.

Max is clearly “focused on people that could use the assistance. Good design really can benefit a small business.” After the game group, Max noticed “a small appliance shop in Brooklyn called Jose’s Refrigerator & Stove.” His roving eye caught “a boring and tattered sign, written in Sharpie.” He didn’t go for an over-the-top Madison Avenue extravaganza, he kept it similar to the original. Max “maintained the original sign’s simple black-and-white look, but he added bolder text, a cleaner layout, plus illustrations of a refrigerator, a stove and tools.

He anonymously taped it outside the shop’s window, above the original. “I like to think that from their perspective, it sort of appeared out of thin air.” Jose Muhammad has owned that store for 38 years. He “was stunned to see the sign when he arrived for work one morning.” He’s also “grateful.” Not only did he move it inside, he made some photocopies and put one on the front door. “It looks good to me,” Jose beams. He’s hoping to someday meet the artist to say thank you personally.

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