Michael Lemme

ptw16-michael-lemme

CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER AND PARTNER DUNCAN/CHANNON, SAN FRANCISCO CA

Designer turned Chief Creative Officer of [gasp, pearls clutched] an ad agency, Mike’s background is equal parts brand strategy, brand identity systems, UX design and marketing. He has led rebrands for, among others, StubHub, Esurance, Autodesk, Blurb and Hard Rock International. Prior to D/C, lo these many years, Lemme was CD at the design firm Method, leading efforts for Autodesk, Reuters and American Apparel. In addition to the Rebrand prize, his third (the first was for Autodesk in 2006), he has been recognized in CA’s Advertising Annual, CA’s Interactive Annual, and was a One Show Interactive winner for SFMOMA’s “Making Sense of Modern Art” interface. As CCO at D/C, he is responsible for continuously elevating the agency’s creative standards, if not its morals.

WHERE OR HOW DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOR YOUR DESIGN WORK?
Virtually anywhere. From peers’ work ‒ constantly ‒ but also in entirely unlikely places. When a design problem is stewing in the background, the spark of a solution or a different way of approaching it conceptually will inevitably come while reading about or thinking about something with no obvious connection.

HOW DOES WHERE YOU WERE BORN, GREW UP OR LIVE NOW AFFECT YOUR DESIGN SENSIBILITY OR STYLE?
I’ve lived in Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Taipei, Pittsburgh, St. Gallen, San Francisco, in that order, more or less. But we are who we are pretty thoroughly and perpetually, it seems to me. Despite where I’ve been, I come from Midwest farm people, teachers. I think more than anything, those things affect who I am as a designer and a person.

FAVORITE COLOR?
#009900

FAVORITE TYPEFACE?
Oy. How many can I list?
I fall in love so easily and often. Have you seen the 4 of ARS Maquette?

FAVORITE TV SHOW?
Sealab 2021

FAVORITE BOOKS?
Cosmos by Carl Sagan exploded my brain as a young adult. Still a fave. And every aspiring type nerd should read The Elements of Typographic Style.

FAVORITE MOVIES?
Jaws, Fargo, There Will Be Blood, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, Adaptation

FAVORITE MUSICIANS OR BANDS?
David Byrne, Mos Def, Tim Seely, Radiohead

FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA?
GeoCities

FAVORITE FINE ARTISTS?
Marcel Duchamp, Dieter Rams

GREATEST STRENGTH/WEAKNESS AS A DESIGNER?
See below.

TALENT YOU WISHED YOU POSSESSED?
I’d love to be a better, less stilted writer.

ADVICE TO A YOUNG DESIGNER JUST STARTING OUT?
Find a place where you’ll be surrounded by people whose work you admire and who won’t let you coast. Repeat forever.

IF NOT A DESIGNER, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
Well-rested.

A MANTRA OR SAYING YOU LIVE BY?
I just bought the P98a/Erik Spiekermann poster, “Better done than prfect” [sic], but primarily as an admonition to myself ‒ not a sentiment I’ve yet managed to live by, or ever will. Who am I kidding?

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