Michael Edward is an amazing designer and visual arts expert whom I have met and had the pleasure of getting to know his story. I personally think his story is inspiring and can help lead others to explore the world of visual design and the intricacy of technology. He has been a phenomenal professional who many major brands work with for his expertise. Michael Edward is Founder of MOKO, an experience design consultancy, and Cofounder of the online series Design Logic. He also serves as a resident UX Mentor for Atlanta Startup Battle at Tech Square Labs. A strategist, designer, and educator, Michael champions the interdisciplinary multi-faceted nature of design.
He has worked with many famous brands, including Xerox, Google for Entrepreneurs, The Weather Channel, Voya Financial, Metro PCS, National Football League, Atlanta Hawks, Coca-Cola, and Bloomingdales.
Through writing, speaking engagements, and guiding the design choices made in organizations nationwide, Michael creates cultural value and human-centered experiences. He also lectures on the business of design and has inspired young designers at Alabama State University, Savannah College of Art & Design and Miles College.
As I had the chance to sit down with this awesome designer, you can see for yourself his passion for the arts.
Check out the interview below.
King Armah – What inspired you to pursue a career in design?
Michael Edward – I would have to say, my parents. They recognized that I was really good at drawing at a young age. The more I drew, the more contests I won. But in undergraduate school, I discovered that I didn’t want to just draw, but to also solve problems. So I transitioned from fine arts to design. Design ultimately being visual problem-solving.
King Armah – How has art & tech impacted your life?
Michael Edward – Design and technology play a major role in my life. I transitioned from just focusing on visual design solutions to using design to make amazing consumer experiences that sit at the intersection of technology, people, and business. Service Designer is the official job description. The goal is to create experiences people crave!
King Armah – What are your current career goals in the next 5 years?
Michael Edward – My current career goals are to continue growing my firm Moko (www.brandmoko.com), finish two more books, increase speaking engagements and grow Next Wave School which helps individuals create human-centered experiences.
King Armah – How has the tech industry impacted your career?
Michael Edward – Being in a world where almost everything we do is influenced by tech, you can’t but help but be impacted by it. I will say that I still believe in unplugging. We work with clients to identify what would be a meaningful customer experience, then figure out how that experience can be pushed by technology. I have found that the resulting solutions are more impactful.
King Armah – How important is hip hop in your life, and what influence does it have one your design?
Michael Edward – LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar stay circling in my playlist. I love these artists because they are consistent with their “brand”. As a designer, one thing I have learned through watching many artists – including the ones mentioned – is brand consistency. No matter their latest project, I can always pinpoint their most original self.
King Armah – Who has been the biggest inspirations for your design career from the top visual
artists and graphic designers in the world?
Michael Edward – My biggest inspiration would have to be Chris Do and Jose Callaber of “Blind” – a digital agency in California. L Dante Guarin, my business and design mentor, who is an amazing photographer and designer. Tim Brown of IDEO, a social and corporate innovation firm. Lastly, definitely not least, my business partner Benny Bennafield who is the founder of an amazing Agency called Humint out of Atlanta, GA.
King Armah – What do you see happening for tech beyond 2020?
Michael Edward – I think tech is in an amazing space. But I have to stick with my inner beliefs that even though tech has and will have amazing contributions to society, the best interface is no interface. Unique experiences that humans can only make with technology being the icing on the cake rather than the cake itself. We are in an experience economy. Before technology, there were uniquely crafted experiences. Beyond 2020, I can only hope tech enables more human-centered experiences that solve real problems.
King Armah – How important has education been in your progress?
Michael Edward – Education has been critical to my progress. Although I have some natural artistic talent, formal education has provided a pathway to convert my raw talent into a means to make a living. I have a obtained a BA in Graphic Design and a double Masters in Advertising and Design Management – with a focus on social and corporate innovation. I also have library of about 250 design-oriented books. I don’t want to be somebody who just does design, but someone who is seen as a thought leader and premier educator in the field of design.
King Armah – What advice do you have for how people can reach you for business or stay in touch?
Michael Edward – For people who would love to learn more about what I do, I can be reached at www.brandmoko.com and via email at [email protected]. I’m also, all over social media with the handle @imthatdesigner (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn)