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We serve up maximum visual impact for businesses. We help academics communicate complex ideas visually; and we help performers sell tickets, records and merchandise so that they can make a good living.

If you’re ready to elevate your visuals and get your message out in a memorable way, a consultation with Harkness Design is what you might need. Talk to us.

Design for Academia

Marc Harkness brings a deep understanding of design principles, an artist’s creativity, and a respect and appreciation for text to every project we work on together. Some designers just put your copy into a page. Marc considers how imagery, color, texture, tone, and flow can best support the story you’re telling. He also has a keen sense of the reader’s experience and how text and design can work together to draw readers into a work and guide their journey. And Marc is always a pleasure to work with — he’s collaborative, thoughtful, engaged, and flexible. I am always excited to see what Marc will bring back to the table. He makes my work better.

Melinda Vaughn

Director, Bolch Judicial Institute, Duke

Design for musicians and performing arts

It was a great joy to work with Marc on the cover art for my first solo release. I think most artists really want a collaborator in working on an album cover — someone who can help them realize a visual “symbol” of the music they’ve worked very hard to create, and Marc was just that. He listened carefully not only to my ideas, but also — and more importantly — to the music. What came out on the other end of this work was a cover that really speaks to the feeling of the music inside that package. It was a great experience, and I’d recommend him to anyone.

Caitlin Cary

Recording Artist (Whiskeytown, Tres Chicas, The Small Ponds)

What we love to do

Brand Identity

More than just a logo: We help you create a visual language so your brand can shine online and in the physical world.

Publication Design

Print is far from dead: We’ll help you get the most impact from  your brochures, magazines, catalogs, and other printed materials.

Web Design

Make your website earn its supper: We’ll help you develop an online presence that will reach out and grab your audience.


Grab ’em by the eyeballs: We eat, breathe, and dream commercial and editorial imagery that is strategic, smart, and whimsical.

Art Direction

Need a creative hired gun? We can help you harness the powers of illustrators, photographers and producers to realize your vision.

Packaging + More

Get your goods to market: We have the tools and processes to help you get your ideas out of your head and into customers’ hands.

Publication Design

Marcos has served as art director of Duke Law Magazine for more than 20 years, and his creativity and talent are evident on each page of every issue. Over the course of our long partnership—32 issues—I was always amazed at his ability to give visual form to esoteric concepts, his attention to detail, and his thoughtfulness. And he made each collaboration fun! He is a joy to work with and a remarkable designer and art director.
Frances Presma

Editor, Duke Law Magazine

Cover illustration by Sol Cotti

Cover illustration by Sol Cotti

Some of our Work

Duke Law Magazine, Fall 2023 Issue. Client: Duke Law School

Duke Law Magazine Cover


Duke Law Magazine Spring 2022 Issue. (Cover illustration by Sol Cotti)

Bela Fleck Banjo Camp logo


Béla Fleck Banjo Camp — identity and suite of promotional materials and merchandise

Horses And The Hounds Album Cover

Illustration/Package Design

James McMurtry: The Horses and The Hounds LP and CD packaging. Client: New West Records

Musical Passage Website displayed on a laptop

Web Design

Musical Passage. A website documenting and exploring the music of enslaved people in colonial Jamaica. 

Website displayed on laptop

Web Design

Duke Law Magazine. Online version of Duke Law School’s alumni magazine.

Website displayed on laptop

Web Design

The Afterlives of Slavery. Art exhibit exploring the legacy of slavery in the Caribbean. Client: University of Chicago

Mountain Song Festival Logo


2022 Mountain Song Festival. Client: Mountain Song Productions

White Squirrel Festival Poster


Concert Poster. Client: The Dream Away Lodge

White Squirrel Festival Poster


Steep Canyon Rangers

White Squirrel Festival Poster

Web Design

Duke Law Magazine: Illustration and editorial design

Sarah Jarosz Poster


Sarah Jarosz Concert. Client: Haw River Ballroom

White Squirrel Festival Poster


Client: James McMurtry

Johnny Irion, Sleeping Soldiers of Love album design. (Illustration by Jim Youngerman). Client: Blackwing Records

Visual Identity Design

Marcos has this wonderful knack for synthesizing the multiple parts that make up a business, and then boils them down into a spot-on brand identity. Understanding my business goals for Laurel Bird Media, he poured all of those elements into a design that is visually accurate and extremely appealing. As an artist and creative spirit, he has an enormous capacity for empathy that lends beautifully to the work he has created for his clients. I admire and appreciate his sense of collaboration, that no question is irrelevant, and that all ideas are welcome.
LeeAnn Donnelly

Owner, Laurel Bird Media

Clients we’ve worked with

Design for Academia

Marcos has worked with me on several high-profile projects for a large research university, and his creative skill and professionalism have impressed me every time.  He brings exciting ideas and engaging designs to the table yet is flexible enough to adjust those ideas to meet client goals.  Importantly, Marcos is excellent at hitting deadlines and communicates clearly through the whole process. It has been a delight to work with Marcos on each project, and I enthusiastically recommend his services.

Land Douglas “Landy” Elliott

Associate Dean for Special Projects, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Duke University

Let’s work together

Ready to make a visual impact? Let’s talk.

Via Email

Or call me at 919-880-8922