As a designer in the Bay Area who loves books, I have always been in awe of the beautifully designed ones from the renowned San Francisco publisher, Chronicle Books. As a young designer, I dreamed of working there. Instead, I landed at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where through my work as Design Director, I met Michael who immediately struck me as one of the nicest, most approachable members of the Bay Area design community. Between organizing events such as the long-standing 50 Books/50 Covers Design exhibitions, to regularly inviting outside designers to Chronicle to engage in lively conversations,it was hard to miss him. From his eye for well-apportioned toolboxes to his many stories, I became a big fan. Therefore, I was honored when he asked me to collaborate with him on this interview
Jennifer SonderbyWhen did you know you wanted to be a designer; was it something that you knew from a very early age or did it find you?
I think it happened gradually. I was always interested in drawing and my mother saw that I took drawing lessons on Saturday mornings, and once I reached high school, art was a part of the curriculum. You could say it began there. In due course, I recall going through books and magazines in the high school library and among them were old Graphis magazines. Back in the day, it was a compilation of design and artwork from an international cast of designers and artists. So that was my first introduction to design. I think around that time I also became aware of design from a couple of sources that were in the environment, specifically the New Haven Railroad locomotives and cars, that received a new livery design by Herbert Matter and Norman Ives. Both of them taught at Yale, which was only about 15 miles from where I grew up in Connecticut.
I was impressed because they were not like any other trains that came through my town which were mostly black and sooty. These were something different. They were orange with white highlights and bold slab serif type. It was clearly a departure from the more traditional locomotives. In fact, it used to be called the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. When Matter and Ives redid the design it became known as the New Haven Railroad.
The design of the International Paper Company trucks also caught my attention. The letters “IP” in the logo formed a tree. Lester Beall, who designed the logo, also lived in Connecticut. I recall talking with some adults about it and they said, “The guy who did that made a lot of money.” So, I put two and two together and surmised my interest in design could lead to a profession.
JSI can see those freight cars. The influence of the Matter and Ives designs could also be seen rolling through the suburbs of Chicago when I was growing up. I am seeing a pattern here…transit graphics or graphics on things that are moving. How did this shape your early design sensibilities?
Well, I also became aware of the work of Brownjohn, Chermayeff & Geismar because they had published a small booklet for a typesetter in New York called Watching Words Move. It was about four inches square, a small stapled booklet using one font, and one point size. With those elements, they created this marvelous book of visuals composed from letterforms. For example, in the word “tunnel”, the “U” was inverted so that it formed a tunnel. Or they might have the letters in “blast off”, chopped into little bits as if it were blasting off from the baseline of the word. Using an X-acto knife, the words were cut apart and made into these wonderful and often amusing word illustrations that said more than the word itself.
More than anything, I think this small book cemented my interest in pursuing design. Soon after, I found myself thinking about how I might “draw” a word. Those were the early signs that this was something I was interested in pursuing.
JSWas this what inspired you to attend art school? Did you immediately decide to study design?
MCYes. In due course, I attended a small art school in Connecticut. At the time, the closest I could get to a design curriculum was called “Advertising Design.”
JSAh, yes. The term “graphic design” has had a few iterations and continues to evolve. When I began college, it was called Communication Design.
MCAnother way of saying it was “Commercial Art”.
JS“Commercial Art” might be its most egregious name.
MCYes, it was awful. It doesn’t have the same ring as graphic design or designer. The graphic design assignments were book covers, album covers, posters and things of that nature. At that time, we made everything by hand, either drawn, painted or cut out of paper. (which is very different than working through ideas on a computer screen).
JSWhere did you work after graduating from art school and what made you decided to go to graduate school at Cranbrook?
The route to Cranbrook was a circuitous one. As I was completing my last year of art school, a nearby industrial design firm called to see if there was anyone interested in applying for a graphics job. The school’s director suggested I go talk to these guys. Before I could put my portfolio together he added, “Oh, and you will have to have a resume.” Of course, I didn’t know anything about resume writing. While it seems amusing today, I wrote my resume as a form of prose. I went to the interview and was pleasantly surprised that no one raised an eyebrow as they read my “resume”.
Shortly thereafter, I received a call from one of the principals of the firm who offered me the job. Of course, I was elated, and they added, “We’d like you to start as soon as possible.” This was before I had graduated. So I conferred with the director of the school and he said, “Well, I think we can work that out and as long as you fulfill all of the projects that you have before you.” So I thought, “Well, why not get a head start.” Of course, when you are that age, you’re a superhuman, you can do many things and stay up late to do them. I left school before graduating and began this job as the only graphic designer on staff at the industrial design firm. When it came time, I went back and graduated with the rest of my fellow students.
Curiously, what I found there was another form of education, this one by osmosis. All of the guys—and they were all guys—were industrial designers. I was vaguely aware of what industrial design was. Unlike today where “industrial design” refers to “product design”—back then they were designing industrial sorts of things. I learned how the design process proceeded from sketch to mockup to working drawings to manufactured products. As a result, this job provided an informal education in [applied 3D design]. I look back on that experience with gratitude, fortunate to have gained that knowledge
And then my life took an unexpected turn: I was drafted into the military. Since I was not at a university, I didn’t have draft counseling. Nor did I want to leave the country or become a conscientious objector. So, I found myself classified One-A, fit for service. A friend of mine—a computer programmer—who had served said, “Just make sure they know your background and what you have studied.” He added, “You know, I spent a lot of my time in an air-conditioned office in Saigon working on computers.” I took his advice, went through basic training and when asked about my background, I let those in command know about my design education and experience. Following basic training, I was classified as an “illustrator”, the closest the army could come to graphic designer. Following basic training, I was sent to Fort Bragg, North Carolina to the JFK Center for Special Warfare—the base where the Green Berets had been established. I was assigned to a Psychological Operations (PsyOps) company, a euphemism for propaganda. The idea being that in the event of a conflict, people like me would be sent to disseminate leaflets or broadcasts in support of our allies’ mission.
JSWhat sorts of propaganda were you responsible for producing? What was that like?
MCAt Fort Bragg, I worked on things that were unrelated to psychological warfare such as painting decorations on the headquarters windows for Christmas or drawing the calligraphy for award certificates. For PysOps training, writers, designers, photographers, and printers would go into the field in a self-contained media truck. A “mock” situation would be staged and we were directed to design and produce print and broadcast propaganda in response to the mock situation. Sometimes this would take the form of a community newspaper.
JSDo you still have any of your work from this time?
Sadly, no, I don’t.
After about ten months, I received orders I was being sent to Vietnam— something that no one wanted to hear. However, because of my background and training at Fort Bragg, I was sent to a PsyOps company based in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. This was a less active region, militarily speaking. Not unlike Ft. Bragg, I was in a company comprised of draftees like myself who might have been teachers, architects, lawyers or printers. The draft provided the army an array of educated, skilled personnel whom they readily used.
My company was charged with designing propaganda intended to convince the South Vietnamese to support their government and not to collude with the Viet Cong. To encourage this, we would design leaflets that would get translated into Vietnamese and printed. The written Vietnamese language is based on the Roman alphabet, a result of the French colonization of Vietnam. French missionaries phoneticized spoken Vietnamese and created a written language, which is different from their neighbors, Cambodia and Thailand, who use the Khmer script.
After the leaflets were printed, they would be loaded into a small aircraft and flown to a site where intelligence believed we could win the hearts and minds of the populace. To disseminate the leaflets, we would crawl back into the fuselage of the aircraft and stuff them into a chute in the belly of the aircraft. The dimensions of the leaflets were calculated to encourage a certain type of “flutter” as they fell from the sky —one that would cause them to not stray far from the targeted area.
JSThat’s so interesting.
MCConcurrent with leaflet drops, there were broadcasts too. In this form of PysOps, a plane would circle around an area and broadcast propaganda messages. Occasionally, if the mission were on a Sunday, a priest would tag along and deliver a religious message. Of course, history has shown us that none of that was convincing and the North Vietnamese prevailed.
JSHow did you ensure that the messaging and the design of the materials you were creating were not offensive to the South Vietnamese?
MCWe worked alongside the Vietnamese, who reviewed the messages. They were allies to our mission. We also did some things that I would call civic-minded. For example, we designed posters on health-related topics such as how to brush your teeth, or how to build a functional chicken coop. While most of it was military in nature, there would be the occasional assignment to do something humanitarian.
JSSo, you finished your tour of duty in Vietnam, you come back to the United States and you land yourself back at graduate school in Michigan?
MCActually, I landed at the Oakland Army Base. After being discharged, I spent some time with an old classmate in San Francisco. I liked what I saw—the natives seemed friendly and I tucked that away in my brainbox. I returned home and after working in my hometown for a couple of years, I packed the car and headed west. After several years of freelancing, including a stint at Landor, I realized that there was more to learn about design. Being curious, I explored design schools and just so happened to meet Katherine and Michael McCoy, co-heads of the design program at Cranbrook, at a design conference. I told them that I was thinking about going back to school and they said, “Well, you should think about Cranbrook.” What I didn’t realize at the time was that they were recruiting me.
MCSo it seems. I received a scholarship upon acceptance. I also had the GI bill which provided education benefits, so I packed up the car again and this time drove to Michigan to spend two years there under their tutelage.
JSAnd that was at an incredibly rich moment in time at Cranbrook
MCIt was, and in some ways, it still is to me. While it’s cliché to say you never stop learning, I think that’s to a large extent true. What they instilled in me and the other students was that sense of intellectual curiosity and exposure to the larger world of design, at least larger than I was aware of at that time: the importance of the Bauhaus and the so-called Swiss School of Graphic Design, the Ulm School which was the successor to the Bauhaus in Germany, as well as the other movements in art that influenced design. They would invite designers to come and spend time with us, to lecture, or to critique. One aspect that I hadn’t bargained on was the proximity to the fine art students and their resident professor/practitioners who also brought in visiting artists to lecture and work with the students.
JSThe McCoy’s offered something different—literally a marriage of 2D, 3D and experimentation.
JSWhat was your takeaway, how did that influence you…or did it?
That’s a good question. Kathy McCoy, who had worked with Massimo Vignelli at Unimark, focused on 2D/graphic design and Michael, an industrial designer led us in 3D design exercises. They exposed us to what was going on in graphic design outside of the U.S. We would discuss work by Wolfgang Weingart, Josef Müeller-Brockmann or Armin Hofmann and Dieter Rams’ work for Braun. Weingart, in my view, was curious because he bridged the gap between the tradition of Swiss design–rational, logical–and what was going on in popular culture, which was punk. At the time, there was an explosion of DIY graphics. Copiers were available everywhere and you could piece together your own design and have it run off in multiples, cheaply. This was new and exciting. Weingart merged the immediacy and irreverence offered by this new tool with a rational Swiss-based aesthetic. This was a significant moment in the pre-digital design era.
On the 3D side, Michael was a furniture and industrial designer so we were expected to design in three-dimensions. For me, this was a throwback to my early days when I worked in the industrial design office. The school had close ties with Herman Miller whose headquarters were in Zeeland, Michigan—not far from the school. People from Herman Miller would visit us or we would we would travel there for a tour. Cranbrook was the school where the Eameses, Saarinen, and Bertoia studied, and Herman Miller was the manufacturer that made much of their furniture. That history was not lost on me nor the notion that design is a holistic practice. This exposure influenced my thinking and appreciation for other forms of design. As it happens, it has played a major part in what I have been doing here at Chronicle.
JSWhich is much more than book design.
JSOK. But first, you graduate. The west coast lures you back. And you work at Landor for a stint before taking the job at Chronicle Books and designing the identity.
JSDesigning an identity for a place, company, institution is different when you will be tasked with bringing the brand identity alive and supporting it long term. What was the process like at Chronicle Books? The company must have been small at that time.
It began rather informally with a conversation with my boss, Jack Jensen, who is now the president of the McEvoy Group, our parent company. At the time, Jack was the president of Chronicle Books, when he came to me and asked, “Do you think you can look at our logo?” At the time, the logo wasn’t anything to speak about. It consisted of the name set in type, a bold kind of slab serif.
I accepted the challenge as it represented an opportunity to put into action all that I had learned and practiced prior to arriving at Chronicle. I realized I couldn’t do this entirely by myself so I had to figure out who I was going to consult. My first call was to Tom Suiter, whom I had worked with at Landor and who had his own firm called CKS Partners. I said, “What I’d like to do is have you make a proposal that you can join me in presenting it to Jack.” He agreed.
In due course, we arrived at the spectacles logo that we continue to use today. The spectacles are hand-drawn so the logo has an informal look that is characteristic of the company.
As you’ve alluded to, the logo serves as a point of departure——the brand truly comes alive in its implementation. For us, a smaller company, the brand extensions at that time were limited to stationery, the spines of the books, and catalogs. In fairly short order, seeing that I was adept at birthing the identity, Jack said, “Do you think you can look at our trade show booth?” Of course, I had never been to a publishing trade show but he said, “Here is what we have”, and handed me some black and white photos of their set-up. It was a stock system, at the very top of which there was a header that said “Chronicle Books”. Beneath were shelves, some storage cabinets, a couple of tables and chairs.
I said, “All right.” I then called on another old Landor colleague of mine, Earl Gee. Earl had worked on exhibition design projects and so when I asked, “Would you be interested in this?”, he said, “Yes, of course. What are you looking for?” So I described the square footage and the nature of the trade show. Before I hung up I added, “I’ve just seen this exhibition of Russian constructivist stage sets at the Legion of Honor museum…Why don’t you have a look at that?”
That suggestion was really a whim on my part. In my mind’s eye, the aesthetic from that exhibition could form the basis for the trade show. So Earl saw the exhibition and came back with a presentation that was clearly influenced by what he had seen: geometric shapes and forms—expressions that I thought were innovative, especially for a publisher’s trade show booth. When it was built, it was different than anything I had seen before and as a result it garnered a lot of publicity and accolades. We used that for a while, even though it was labor intensive to install and dismantle. Over the course of doing multiple trade shows and realizing the effort they required, I was determined to design a more expeditious way to transport and install a trade show structure. So, I commissioned architect Mark Macy to explore a portable, easy to assemble, almost no-tools-necessary-kind of trade show environment that we still use today, ten years later.
JSFrom the inception of the logo to the first trade show booth design, how has the Chronicle brand evolved from its beginnings?
As the company grew, its need for promotional material grew with it, and in earlier days that was primarily print. We established a Marketing and Communications (MarCom) design group to produce the catalogues, ads, posters, and other print materials. And when the internet became the medium of choice, we hired people who could manage that. Our first website was horrible by today’s standards, but we learned and evolved. It was a time when we grew as a company.
One of the best sellers from that period was Griffin & Sabine, which we called an “interactive book” before the term became absorbed into the vocabulary of the digital world. In 2000, the first year we were an independent company (prior to that we were the book publishing arm of the San Francisco Chronicle), we published The Beatles Anthology, and shortly thereafter, The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook, all international bestsellers that appeared in dozens of languages thus solidifying our reputation beyond our borders.
Those successes led to growth and therefore, more opportunities for design, promotion, and marketing. Eventually, we arrived at what might be called the right size of the design group. We continued to design things ourselves and when necessary, consult with freelance designers. In addition to books for adults, we had a children’s group, and then a third stream emerged that was concerned with non-book items such calendars, greeting cards, address books, journals and the like. These products were opportunities whereby we utilized the artwork from our books. Also, if we saw artwork or photography that excited us, we would produce products based on that designer or photographer’s work even if it did not derive from our books. Caroline Herter spearheaded that endeavor, and it now represents about a third of our business. All of that was in synch with the spirit of experimentation within the company and augmented our growth. Increasingly, booksellers began to carry ancillary goods and as a result, we placed our products with them, especially if they were offshoots of our books.
JSThat leads me to my next question: A “Creative Director” title can mean many different things. What does it mean at Chronicle books and for you, in particular?
You’re so close to it at the time that you don’t see the forest for the trees. What I have realized was that the opportunity I was given was a nexus of everything I had learned and experienced prior to coming here—the exposure to industrial design, corporate identity, packaging—because, in essence, books and other things are packaged goods. Also, I had worked for an architect for a while so I was conversant with that discipline. Since I have come to think of myself as a design generalist. Over time, I assumed more responsibility for the implementation of the identity across various media including the offices that we’re sitting in. While I didn’t design it myself, I was involved in finding an architect, creating a brief for them and working with them to realize the program.
I think this self-realization of “design generalist” is not inaccurate. I have done a number of different things, all of which add to this totality of what comprises the Chronicle identity, it’s image. Yes, it is the books, but it's also much more.
JSYou see yourself as the guardian of the brand’s spirit —its ethos.
MCYes, Chronicle’s brand is known for its spirit, creativity and value. The offices are a physical embodiment of that spirit, as are the trade show booths and the retail stores. I think it’s fair to say the image of the company ranges in scale from the business card to the building.
JSI’m wondering what you think about the future of the book. As technology is changing the way we consume text and images, how do you see that changing the way that we read and design books in the future? What did you learn from the workshop you taught on this subject at RISD?
MCI was curious to see how design students would view the book of the future. The conclusion: the book would be more dimensional. Relevant to this, we’ve just published a book called This Book Is A Planetarium by Kelli Anderson. This book, made of paper and some other materials, does things with the book I have not seen done before. For example, you open the book and it forms a string instrument that you can play. The book is called a“planetarium” because inside there is a domed die-cut planetarium in the middle where you place your cell phone underneath, turn on the flashlight and it will project constellations on the ceiling if you are in a dark room.
JSSo, are all books going to be this way in the future?
MCNo, I think that books will continue to be in the shape and form that they have been for over 500 years. I think books for children provide more latitude for exploring conceptual formats. There will be pop ups-and other kinds of interactivity in paper-based books because kids are curious.
JSYou have seen hundreds and thousands of interesting projects pass through Chronicle. What project was the most surprising? The most disappointing? The most inspiring?
As I recounted earlier, establishing the identity of the company and extending that to our products, built environments and later, the architecture of the building was gratifying. The most disappointing? Following our bestselling Beatles book, we acquired one on the Rolling Stones. It too was a large format book (read: coffee table book) which surprised us with its lackluster sales. Stones fans don’t read? Hard to say. We repackaged the text from that book in a smaller format paperback that appears to be holding its own. More recently, in 2017, Chronicle celebrated its 50th anniversary, which coincided with The Summer of Love festivities in San Francisco. I felt this was an occasion that should be celebrated by ourselves and the larger community to whom we look for inspiration—the artists, photographers, designers and writers who have contributed to our success. I proposed that we develop a book that was an illustrated history of Chronicle from its earliest days to the present, with examples of the work, reminiscences of those who were there at the beginning—including highlights of our journey as an independent publisher. This yearlong celebration culminated with an exhibition that we staged at The San Francisco Center For The Book.
Of course, the challenge was, with 50 years of publishing, what are we going to show? Our former industrial designer, Ben Laramie, whom I had enlisted to design the exhibition said, “Well, what about one book from each year?” And I said, “That’s an intriguing idea”. Concurrently, we also had about 30 years worth of kids’ books to display. The opening event was a rousing success.
JSSince my arrival in San Francisco as a young designer, you’ve served as a pillar of support in the design community—whether it’s serving on a panel, an advisory board, or organizing events, such as the long-standing 50 Books/50 Covers, to more recently, Books X Design, (in partnership with LitQuake) and the 50th Anniversary exhibition at the Center for the Book. You’ve also regularly invited outside designers into Chronicle for various events whether it would be participating in critiques or presenting work on a panel. Within your orbit, ideas and people seem to connect. Is this something that you consciously strive for or does it naturally just happen?
MCI think it’s been intentional to find connections— we have a relationship with the creative community and I thought it behooved us to have opportunities for people to come in as guest critics or to stage events here around the topic of book design or as a participant in San Francisco Design Week. I have done my part to see that we have that outreach because it’s easy to isolate yourself, to keep your nose to the grindstone and not see what’s going on around you. It’s not unlike what I experienced at Cranbrook, where the McCoys brought people in to expand our horizons so we could hear about their work and to learn what they had to say about our work. It’s important for a company to be connected to the larger world around them.
JSNaturally, you would be a teacher. You have led workshops, lectured and taught in various forms and in different school settings. What role does this play in your design process?
I think it’s incumbent upon those of us who have practiced as long as I have to impart and share that knowledge with students and with younger people. By teaching, you share a different perspective. You can expose students to different schools of thought. Not everyone is a teacher, and we’ve all had good ones and not so good ones. For me, it’s a challenge: how do you share this knowledge in a semester-long course or a one- or two-day workshop? It’s inherent in some of us to want to do that.
As a teacher, you are the sage and you are also a student because you are learning from those whom you are educating. While that sounds paradoxical, there is truth in that.
JSYou are responsible for the launch and success of the Design Fellows program at Chronicle—a program that in many ways has served as a template for other Design Fellow programs around the country. What inspired it? Has it changed since its inception?
Yes, it has evolved. The history of the Design Fellowship has its roots in my time at Landor where we had interns from The University of Cincinnati. When I arrived at Chronicle, I thought I’d like to continue this practice because you often discover good people. The challenge for us was that our projects have longer schedules and three months was not enough time for an intern to become fully engaged or complete a project.
After discussing with some others, we decided to extend the time frame and position it as a post-graduate residency. Instead of calling it an “internship”, we decided to call it a “fellowship” because they are fellow designers—they are not getting coffee or running errands—they are designing alongside us and we are in effect, mentors to them. We sponsored the six-month fellowship but due to market forces, we later had to reconsider the approach again as the competition for design talent increased.
JSDo you think that was because of the stipend amount and the financial challenge of living in San Francisco?
MCThere is the financial challenge but also a serious demand for talented designers. The design community is joined at the hip with the technology sector. Newly minted designers have very attractive offers to avail themselves. So we extended the residency to one year, increased the stipend, and we provided benefits, including vacation. The Fellows essentially become employees for a year. If someone leaves, the Fellows are positioned to take on a full-time position because they’ve spent a meaningful amount of time with us and we’ve had an opportunity to get to know them.
JSIt’s true that San Francisco is a quirky, amazing, challenging, competitive, inspiring and expensive place to practice design. The city is bursting at the seams with designers. One would think it would be easy to hire and maintain top design talent. But it’s not true! For those not able to dole out tech industry wages, it is a struggle as I was all too familiar trying to hire designers to work in the cultural arts sector. You, on the other hand, have a remarkable track record on this front. Do you have any secrets you can share on how to choose and retain the best designers?
MCThe biggest challenge for us is replacing someone of, say, middle- or senior- level experience.
JSIs this due to salary, mainly?
MCYes. As you’ve alluded to, those who are starting out and don’t have elevated expectations are easier to bring on board. But, as an organization, you want to have a graduated contingency of designers, from recent grads to senior level. To use the sports analogy, we are always looking to have a solid bench of experience.
JSThe Fellows program provides an opportunity for young designers to gain experience and provide a pool of talented designers for you to pull from when positions open up. This allows movement and growth for all levels within. No?
MCYes. The labor market is dynamic and someone is always going to leave for one reason for another, and so the Fellows program has served as our secret weapon. When you find good designers you do what you can to keep them.
JSYou are a father to two kids who are now no longer kids—I can imagine they grew up surrounded by oodles of beautiful books and good design.
MCYes. My kids are no longer kids. They are young adults.
JSDid that have an influence on them? Was every wall in your house a bookshelf?
Well, nearly so. Occupational hazard.
My kids—I still call them kids—grew up surrounded by books and art. It would be hard not to be influenced by it. As a parent, you never want to say to a kid, “You must” or “you should” because they will often do the opposite. So, it’s better to take a less imperative approach where the books, the dinner table conversations are part of the experience. I think all of that combined led them to do what they are doing, which I am pleased with. They both went to art school and are involved in the design realm.
To my mind, the ultimate goal of a parent is to help your children find a place in the world doing something they enjoy and that you had a hand in guiding them.
JSYou have dedicated 20+ years to Chronicle Books. What motivates you each morning to get out of bed, ride your bike across the Golden Gate Bridge and walk through its doors each day? What keeps it interesting and makes it meaningful to you?
MCI don’t ride every morning.
JSOkay. Almost every morning.…
None of us likes getting up in the morning, but for me it’s the opportunity, and excitement about the things that I have yet to finish. Over the last several years I have been instrumental in bringing books to Chronicle or to one of our sister companies, Princeton Architectural Press or Galison. I receive proposals or I may have an idea that’s not right for Chronicle but perhaps a good fit for Princeton. For example, there is a book called 20/80. We’ve all heard of books or articles, 20 Writers Under 30 or something to that effect. On one of his visits, I was musing with Kevin Lippert, the publisher of Princeton, and I asked, “What about our design elders, those, say, over 80?”
We then rattled off a number of amazing designers who fit this bill, he said, “Tell me more about this idea.” The book, entitled Twenty Over Eighty: Conversations on a Lifetime in Architecture and Design was published by Princeton in 2016.
JSI want to read that book!
On the topic of bicycles, my own book, Words To Ride By, was published last year. It’s a compilation of quotes on cycling from some well-known and some not-so-well-known sources—people such as Albert Einstein, John Lennon, Diane Ackerman–who comment on what bicycling has meant to them. It’s illustrated with photographs, old adverts, and some New Yorker cartoons. I always have a few projects in the wings, that gets me up and-a-‘em.
The fact that I enjoy what I do—connecting people, ideas, and creativity gives meaning to your life.
JSThe future is bright.
Jennifer Sonderby, founder and creative director of the San Francisco design studio Sonderby Design specializes in design strategy and branding for art and cultural organizations. She is a designer who loves to tell stories.
In her former role as the design director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Jennifer led the museum’s in-house design studio to strategize, design and successfully launch an award-winning visual brand to support the institution’s expansion projec
Her work is included in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection and is recognized in publications and by professional organizations worldwide.
When she is not contemplating the intricacies of new identities, she is writing and designing her own futuristic novels.