Cardinal Innovative
Cardinal Innovative


Cardinal Innovative Mission

To create elegant and functional work that effectively communicates to its intended audience. To playfully design with strict standards while respecting the vision of clients. To be constantly learning and refining skills.

Who Are You?

A writer, climber, and graphic designer, McKenzie Long loves editorial and publication design. Both writing and design require critical thinking and inventive problem solving to present information in a clear and engaging format. This is what appeals to her about climbing as well: the intrigue of the sport is that it is problem solving with risk. Whether she is developing a complicated layout for a guidebook or is high off the deck fiddling in gear before pulling a spicy move, McKenzie is familiar with finding creative solutions.

Combining her love of climbing, writing, and design, McKenzie authored and designed the second edition of SuperTopo’s High Sierra Climbing, which was published June 2013.  She is also the co-author and creative director of Wolverine Publishing’s Bishop Bouldering Select, published January 2016. Her first creative nonfiction book about national monuments is forthcoming from University of Minnesota Press fall 2021.

McKenzie has run her own freelance business since 2011. She graduated with a Bachelors of Science in graphic design from the college of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning (DAAP) at University of Cincinnati in 2007. 

Why the Strange Name?

In 2009–2010, McKenzie was honored to be a sponsored athlete at the elite training center, Mountain Athlete in Jackson, Wyoming. The coach, Rob Shaul, gave her the nickname “Cardinal.” She didn’t know why, but grew to identify with it. Eventually Coach explained that the name symbolized “classy yet strong.” This is a very flattering description, but it is also is an accurate description of McKenzie’s outlook and what she strives to accomplish, in design, in climbing, and in life.