Hugh McCormick


Hugh McCormick is a graphic designer and founder of the Hugh McCormick Design Company based in Portland ME. He specializes in brand identity systems, packaging, mural and spacial design. Originally from Baltimore, McCormick moved to Maine to cut his teeth taking on freelance design work while earning a BFA from the Maine College of Art. In 2016, he moved into his first studio in downtown Portland where he has become a staple in the Portland creative community, designing branding, various packaging, murals and pieces of apparel for clients of all shapes and sizes.

McCormick is known for his ambitious and oft-times relentless work ethic. What began with foundations in simple branding and packaging work for Maine’s emerging craft beer and cannabis industries has evolved into creating immersive brand experiences. From spacial design to innovative creative direction, he now provides work for brands across the country and internationally, often followed by national recognition. While McCormick continues his work with the craft beer and cannabis industries, he continues to branch out to other inspiration-driven clients who seek to create brands full of detail oriented consideration backed by compelling reasoning.


Looking forward, are you optimistic about the role of graphic design in business and society?

Sure, the universal access people have to unlimited design resources like Canva and pre-set apps can make the visual world feel saturated void of creative intention. That’s at first glance though. I think there’s a reason we can still look at a sign painter’s work from hundreds of years ago and it will look light years better than the work of some marketing associate with thousands of dollars of equipment, programs and a Pinterest account. As subjective as real creativity is, it always stands out. When they say ‘They don’t make ‘em like they used to,’ that’s because ‘they’ used to have way less resources to lean on besides pure creativity. And that’s where all great work comes from, right?


Have the challenges of the past two years changed the way you approach your work?

Throughout the isolation and quiet of COVID, I kept reflecting on good old Sagmeister’s piece “obsessions make my life worse but my work better.” When the pandemic hit, the company I rented my studio from let go of their building, so I had to move my studio into my home. I found that my productivity skyrocketed without as many distractions. However, those distractions were reminders of my personal life and the reason “why” I do what I do. Sure, I think it made me a stronger designer, but I think it’s primarily because it helped me find my voice. It gave me time to remember “why.” Finally, I learned (1) there’s no shame in drinking decaf coffee throughout the day (2) its extremely easy to keep a pair of Nikes fresh in a quarantine and (3) your life gets exponentially better when you consider yourself free instead of alone.