Sometimes you really don’t need to go to grad school. At least that’s the case for Jimmy Thompson and Harry McGowan, two artists–cum–designers who met while attending CalArts in Valencia. After graduating in 2004/2005 with their BFAs and working through various art-world and film production jobs, they decided to lend their artist’s sensibilities to creative direction; in 2008 they formed Brainbowinc, a design firm specializing in branding, Web services and motion graphics. With their intelligent, crisp, colorful and extremely hip work, Brainbowinc has managed to wrangle an impressive client list — Sony, Nike, Columbia, HBO — while maintaining the loyalty of the artists, musicians and small businesses they began with. They even managed to make a ridiculous music video ad for Muscle Milk, “Spring Break It Down,” seem innovative and worthwhile. Thompson and McGowan can be found smack dab in the middle of downtown L.A.’s Toy District, around the corner from the Los Angeles Mission, down the block from the Hotel Bixby, and above Casa Bebe, a roll-up wholesale storefront that features bedazzled booty jeans. The only decorative flourish is the one that came with the location: a back wall painted with a graduated rainbow, which, McGowan says, the landlord won’t let them paint over. “He told us when we moved in that we couldn’t touch it.” Apparently, it’s not chasing anyone away. 417 Wall St., #42, dwntwn. (805) 660-0078 or (805) 320-2961, —Rena Kosnett

LA Weekly