Before we start, we have to clarify that Mackey Saturday is not a new national holiday or a newly appointed day of the week, it’s a guys name. You may have never heard of him, but we guarantee that you have seen his work before and that you probably interact with it on a daily basis.
Oh, stop being all creeped out. Go to your phone and open Instagram. See that logo at the top? Mackey Saturday designed that. That may be his claim to fame, but he is also the principal designer at Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, a brand design firm that has designed many of the most iconic logos in the world. So yeah, Mackey Saturday is a pretty big deal.
Experiencing FOMO (fear of missing out) yet? We thought you would. But as always, we’re coming in clutch with a photo recap so you don’t feel quite so bad for missing it.
Disclaimer: Mackey’s talk included 275 slides, but our recap won’t be quite as long.
Want to play a game? Mackey is approximately in 90% of these pictures. Your job is to figure out the ones he’s not in. Ha.We’ll let you have this one.
There’s a line at the bar, per usual.
Here’s an artsy pic for ya.
Let’s call this one, “No one is looking directly at the camera”
Everybody is getting hype for Mackey Saturday’s talk. One girl can’t contain her excitement. (Hint: She’s smiling)
But before we brought Mackey on, our fab President, Bree had to talk about something to do with dollar signs.
The wait is over. Mackey started from the beginning. Literally. He talked about how he was born in Northern California and went to college in Colorado, opened a clothing/coffee shop and a grown-up skate shop, met his wife and oh yeah, designed stuff.
He talked about how he opened a design office in San Francisco and was splitting his time between there and Denver and then how he as about to move to San Francisco. And then he went into this story of these three guys. Then there were two of them and then there were three of them again. We promise there was a point to his story. All these guys he was talking about ended up Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, the founders of the brand design firm he now works for in New York. (Spoiler: He ended up moving to New York instead of San Fran in case you were wondering)
Good design gains meaning and power over time. Like New York.
He also let us in on a little secret about Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv. He told us that majority of the time, their logo presentations include 472 slides. Yeah, you read right. He said that that want to invest the time to bring the logo to life and answer every possible question that the client might have. Not to say that if your presentations don’t have 472 slides, you’re not doing it right, but maybe you should start doing this too.
Then he showed us some pictures of weird stuff. But these had a point, too.
You should break the rules. But only when you make the rules. -Just like the slide says.
He also lead us through the development and creation of the VR brand Oculous. Here’s all you need to know: Ramen noodles.
He also gave us a little behind the scenes of the making of the infamous Instagram logo that we all know and love. Here’s the story in a nutshell: Basically, the logo you see now is actually the fourth logo they went through. They wanted to create something that had a nostalgic feel, but would be able to endure over time. He started working on the logo for Instagram a few years ago and then the brand got acquired by Facebook. He thought it was over. But then it wasn’t. And the new logo has stuck longer than any other logo the company has gone through.
When you’re designing and creating something, it should be simple, memorable and have the ability to endure.
But that’s not all he talked about. He also gave us some incredible advice and things that he has learned over the years as a designer.
1. Your first idea is usually the best idea.
2. Your last idea is usually the best idea too.
3. In the words of the Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie Smalls: Mo Money=Mo Problems. What does this mean to a designer? The bigger the client is, usually means they’re a bigger pain to deal with.
4. Remember, you’re not designing for designers.
5. Simple minded solutions are intelligent solutions
6. There are bad things in the world that exist, but we, as designers, have the ability to communicate better than anyone. We have to be able to cut through everything and take a stand with our skills.
7. Design isn’t just problem-solving. Design is Art. (see side below)
8. Designing is about impact. In order for a design to be effective, it has to have an impact.
9. Good ideas never get old.
10. You’re never too old to have a new idea.
11. Always question client requests. A lot of times they don’t know what they need, that’s why it’s your job to pull it out of them. (We’ll all drink to that)
12. Don’t forget, all clients are still just people.
And lastly, number 13. Consider everything so you don’t have to worry about anything.
Mackey also stuck around for a quick Q&A. Here are just a few:
Q: What was the turning point in your career that really got you into identity design?
A: I was designing skateboards and loved the idea of communicating a complicated idea in a simple form and one day just decided I was going to do it. I basically wanted people, when they saw a logo to think of me.
Q: Why are your client presentations so log/why do you guys have so many slides?
A: First of all, we don’t show anything that we don’t believe in. Our purpose in doing this is to try to answer every possible question the client might have so there are no questions.
Q: Are you working on any side projects?
A: Yes. They’re super weird and top secret. I also do a lot of mixed media work and when I’m not working or doing that I’m either surfing, snowboarding or skateboarding.
Q: What can we do to stay sharp as a designer?
A: You have to decide that you want to stay relevant with the culture and really work on that.
And Mackey even stuck around to take a few pictures with everyone. What a stand up guy!
Before we go, we have to give a HUGE shoutout to THE Mackey Saturday for gracing us with this presence and inspiring us all. We also want to thank our friends at 8.2.0 for providing us with an amazing venue space once again. And the fabulous folks at the Dunhill Hotel for giving Mackey a place to rest after his talk. Also, sending a high five to our ever-so-talented Communications Director, Clay Boan, for the incredible pictures.