Former student’s work featured on Colbert Report

Animated work by former student Ruben DeLuna was featured on The Colbert Report during an interview conducted with author Annie Leonard. Her recent publication “The Story of Stuff” was also illustrated by Ruben.

Ruben DeLuna

We recently caught up with Ruben and asked him to tell us more about his involvement in this project.

“‘The Story of Stuff’ is a 20-minute web video that I animated through Free Range Studios (, where I’ve worked for the past 5 years. Free Range is a design studio based out of Washington DC and Berkeley, specializing in web/print/media for non-profit organizations and socially responsible businesses. I am currently the Animation Director here, overseeing the production of our mainly Flash and After Effects projects.

We were approached in 2007 by Annie Leonard, who is an expert on the materials economy, which details where all our stuff comes from and where it goes when we throw it out. She had been doing a live presentation on the topic for some time, and wanted a version that could live online. Free Range worked with her to shorten the talk to 20 minutes, and we produced the movie over the course of about 6 months. ‘The Story of Stuff’ launched in December 2007.

Stephen Colbert holding "The Story of Stuff"

Since then, it has been seen by over 10 million viewers, been featured in The New York Times (, and most recently Annie Leonard has had a ‘Story of the Stuff’ book published by Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster. Through Free Range, I created the internal and cover illustrations for the book. We’re also currently working on a series of follow-up videos, the most recent of which is ‘The Story of Bottled Water’ which will debut on March 22.

‘The Story of Stuff’ was also selected to appear in an upcoming exhibit at the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York. The exhibit titled ‘National Design Triennial: Why Design Now?’ opens on May 14, and will display a portion of the movie as well as my original sketchbook for the project.

We’re really excited by the success of the film and all the follow-up projects. If you need more info, check out the site

posted March 23, 2010