If you don't know by know, you are light-years behind.

Since 2006, Stamen Design "studio has grown to a staff of thirteen, and has established a reputation for its expertise in creating compelling interactive design and data visualization projects. They are a 100% independently owned company.

At Stamen’s core is a commitment to extending our understanding through research projects. Their client work is full of opportunity for invention and discovery, and suggests inspirations beyond the immediate task at hand. Stamen’s close engagement with technology leads them to explore numerous research projects, which have a way of finding applications in the real world. They are neither a research and development lab, nor a straight up design firm. Stamen is something in between and among and around these things: a place where work is valued, where good ideas can come from anywhere, and results are paramount.

Stamen's client work and the research projects they pursue present them with as broad a variety of design challenges as they could hope for: from providing live views of social networks as they happen to covering live bicycle races over the internet, from building collaborative applications for car designers to describing the lifetime output of an all-but-uncategorizable artist/architect.  While they use a wide range of techniques to help them understand this broad range of concerns, their response has most frequently taken two forms: mapping and data visualization.

They work in San Francisco’s Mission District, above a grocery store in an old carpet factory at the corner of 16th and Mission Streets. The studio is a space full of plants, music, books, and laughter." (*Copied from Stamen.com and changed the narrative to third-party)...

If I had to pick only one innovative design studio/firm/consultancy/team that I would want to associate myself with, it would be Stamen.  From  what I can decipher, their mission, vision, products, services, values, aspirations, and essence is exactly what I want to strive for as a cartographer, data interpreter, geo-spatial analyst, and designer.  I really enjoy all of their projects, but the National Geographic iPad App, Toner/Watercolor Cartography, Pretty Maps, Cabspotting, LOCOG 2012, Nike Grid, Crimespotting are definitely my favorites.

Here are a few other photos from their site...