Absolute value

Our name, Studio Absolute, is born from the mathematical term, “absolute value” meaning distance from zero. We begin every new project as if we are starting from zero—taking nothing for granted and evaluating all possible directions to realize a creative and practical solution.


Russ McIntosh

Principal + Creative Director + Designer

So how does a ranch hand, Hawaiian tour guide, forestry technician, log home builder, butcher and electrician end up in a design career?

Your guess is as good as his… it would have been a lot easier to have known what he yearned to do, went to college and landed a design job. Instead, he took the winding adventure of life that landed in design and ultimately shaped his approach to his work.

Russ’ entry to the design world began at a small local newspaper in his hometown where on his first day, he struggled to coax a CD from a Mac and had to teach himself QuarkXpress in two weeks (the equivalent of learning a foreign language in the same time frame). In the process, he realized, “Hey, maybe I have an aptitude for this?” Yes, organize things, set type, use the grid, obsess over the details… It was here that his passion for design began to unfold.

Russ grew up constantly sketching inventions. He was always curious about photography, signage, industrial design, dimension, order… yes things neatly placed. The Reagan administration probably didn’t know what hit them when Russ’ sketch arrived for the new battleship the government didn’t know they needed.

As Creative Director and Designer at Studio Absolute and over 20 years after fumbling with the Mac CD drive and sending sketches to the President, Russ’ portfolio includes work recognized in the Oregon Addy’s and the publications, Visual Marketing, Logolounge Books 7, 9 and 10 and Master Library editions. Russ is self-taught and credits his success in design and typography to years of mentorship under a skilled and talented Creative Director in the branding field. There he had the opportunity to work on projects for Krusteaz, Ghirardelli and Thomas Nelson Publishers. Russ’s emphasis on strategy-driven design and strong typography drives the successful projects that channel through the studio.

When Russ isn’t behind his desk or in front of the whiteboard he enjoys time outdoors with his wife and family exploring the wonders and inspiration of the Pacific Northwest.


Cheryl McIntosh

Principal + Photographer + Copywriter

Cheryl began her marketing career at 7 years old, pedaling her artwork around the neighborhood. She knew early on she wanted to market for the creative sector–and that great work sells itself.

Cheryl’s experience has always centered on telling compelling stories. Her career in marketing began in resource development for eight branches of the Boys & Girls Clubs. She went on to manage a nationally renown book design firm, FaceOut Studios. There Cheryl was responsible for managing the communication between publishers and designers on hundreds of book projects in various stages of completion. She also worked with the studio to develop and introduce new products to the publishing market.

In 2009, Cheryl launched Studio Absolute with her husband, Russ. Here, Cheryl helps clients plan and execute their marketing strategy by crafting the words and imagery of their brands. Her focus centers on writing engaging copy and extending clients’ brand visuals through photography. Her specialty is in name creation and brand discoveries. She has named several Oregon companies and organizations such as Lenity Architecture, Abilitree, Windsong Senior Living and Kahoot. During this process, Cheryl crafted the overarching content that helped them to introduce, or rebrand, their company and reach their target market. Her in-depth approach to the discovery phase helps shape the brand identity and direct clients’ long term marketing strategy.

Cheryl started DONE in 2015, the photography, writing and marketing counterpart of Studio Absolute.