MB (yes, just the letters) is Creative Director at Landor & Fitch’s San Francisco studio. She has more than 14 years of experience as a senior creative, culturalist and brand consultant for high profile global brands. In her career, MB has worked closely with founders and communications and marketing executives of some of the most disruptive companies, helping to craft their brand strategy and visual identity.

Previously, she was the founding designer at OutCast, San Francisco, and formed outlier, a creative studio within the company, mentoring a diverse team of designers and artists for more a decade. With deep expertise in digital first brands, her clients have included Airbnb, Nest, Adobe, Intuit, Facebook, Lyft, HBO, Spotify, Amazon, Comcast and Cisco.

MB has worked on end-to-end brand creative, brand systems, social-digital experiences, brand campaigns, activations, launches and events for high-tech, digital brands and is well-versed in the unique challenges and opportunities of the space.

How did you become involved in socially responsible communications and why do you believe design can be an effective tool for this goal?

Several years ago, I started to really question this notion and oft-mentioned phrase that “design can save the world.” I was firmly entrenched as a corporate creative in the Valley and seeking some purpose in my work. I spent some time sitting with this, truly questioning my motivations and what actually brought me joy at work. It became clear to me, having gone through this exercise, that I loved to give back — my time, my knowledge and expertise to people and projects that were challenging the status quo, for the benefit of others.

I joined other colleagues at Landor & Fitch who were also seeking this purpose-driven studio practice. We started to have discussions internally about how to fit in pro bono and community oriented work into our 9-5. Initially we took on some open briefs: one, in particular for the UN around combatting COVID-19 misinformation which was poignant and imperative design for public health that came at a critical time.

That interest and work garnered more opportunities and folks at Landor & Fitch began to coalesce around bigger themes of sustainability and design for inclusion. I joined the Good Squad, which is the volunteer army of designers, strategists, copywriters and account people who devote a percentage of their time to sustainable projects. Fast forward a year and I now sit on the Global Innovation Team working towards infusing sustainability into every single project through packaging, spaces and experiences, and mentalities (imagery, representation, and behaviors).

Given the confluence of events and challenges our society now faces, does 2021 present any special opportunities, urgencies, obstacles to designing for good?

The pandemic has truly created space for us to reconsider what we spend our time on and what is meaningful to us. There is a powerful sea-change happening with restorative justice and rethinking historical narratives. This reckoning around race, gender and colonial attitudes will only bring about greater awareness and understanding — helping us to move forward as a society. In addition, the very real climate consequences that are in play around the globe have contributed to a general sense of climate anxiety being felt across borders and generations — driving urgency for action. All of these cultural shifts are compelling us to account for something bigger, not just the self — to design for the greater good.

THAT’S what gets me up in the morning — the sheer potential to truly create change.