Hi there, thank you for your interest in my work! I’m a Graphic Designer helping retail leisure, entertainment, and lifestyle businesses raise their company profile and elevate their brand image among their best customers and future prospects. I help plan, develop, and produce brand identities, products, promotions and marketing for clients seeking distinct, custom solutions for visual communication.
Specializing in logotypes and lettering, I work in both analog and digital mediums, and in a range of styles, from graffiti-inspired calligraphy to contemporary takes on traditional sign writing to create effective, eye-catching design for: branding, packaging, labels, apparel and accessories, walls, signage, chalkboards, posters, promotional materials, and online media content.
Get in touch to chat about your next project.
My Story
I’m Michael Lopez (@DesignerMike), born & raised in Scarborough, a multicultural neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario, Canada to loving and successful immigrant Filipino parents. I’ve been working as a graphic designer since 2000. Starting out freelance and moving into agency roles, I’ve grown from Graphic Designer to Senior Art Director positions producing award-winning integrated marketing campaigns for tier-one consumer goods brands. In 2015, I started to build a business focused on doing what I love best in the design practice—typography and illustration. Balancing both business and creative sides of brand marketing, I strive to empower my clients to move their businesses forward by helping them to define their brand identity, as well as plan, develop and produce their products, merchandising displays, signage, promotions and marketing through design.
Portrait photo by @gabbizeauphotography
My love for drawing was sparked by my mom around the age of 4 when she taught me how to draw, colour, outline, shade and highlight an apple with pencil, fineliner, and pencil crayons. I continued to draw in blackbooks throughout high school, but never pursued art classes believing, at the time, that art was just a hobby to keep on the side. However, I did need an art credit to graduate, so I took Communication Media Arts Studies, as a more practical alternative, which gave me the opportunity to complete a 6-month co-op placement at Saatchi & Saatchi, Toronto. There I learned my way around an agency helping out in the studio, drawing up and mounting storyboards for art directors, and participating in big brainstorming sessions.
Not realizing that I’d already glimpsed my future path, I went to university to pursue a career as a chartered accountant but mostly drew graffiti letters and cartoon characters over my lecture notes. I discovered that I really enjoyed drawing things for other people and began to take requests to draw names and tattoo ideas. Soon I was being asked to create illustrations for posters, flyers and cards for student association events, and newsletter announcements. Having no experience with typography or fonts, I drew the letters and added 3D shadows to my handwriting to make the words in my pictures pop out. Until one day, in a 3rd-year macroeconomics lecture, while illustrating a poster, a friend remarked, “You know, you can make money doing that.”
“Doing what?” I replied.
“It’s called ‘Graphic Design,’ maybe you should look it up!”
And so I did. In 2000, after completing an intensive Computer Graphics course to learn design process and skills in Adobe, QuarkXPress, and digital media, I began working as a professional designer. I started in the studio of an internationally-renown comic book publisher creating ads and laying out editorial pages. Working among top artists in the industry helped me to hone design skills while learning advanced digital painting and illustration, as well as the comic book publishing process. At the same time I was also designing page layouts and building press-ready files for a pioneering Toronto street-style magazine which introduced me to the local art and design scene. A couple years later I began working in local marketing and advertising agencies. As my project assignments got bigger, and responsibilities increased, I developed my skills in brand strategy, project management and client presentation. I became known for using expressive type, being able to adapt design for a diverse range of clients, and delivering quick, yet polished concept design solutions. I have lead creative development of integrated media campaigns and promotions for national clients like Carlsberg, Coca-Cola, Diageo, Dr. Oetker, Kelloggs, Kraft, Labatt, Levis, P&G, Pepsi, Rockport, Scotts, Unilever and WalMart.
In 2015, I was let go from a full-time role after a company re-org, which left me feeling somewhat depressed and disillusioned about the value of design itself, as well as my own aspirations with it. So I began to focus on doing what I really love in the wide-ranging world of design—logos, lettering, and illustration. I started to share my lettering and calligraphy exploration on social media and noticed that my following started to grow. Continuing to follow the signals, I discovered vibrant lettering and design-focused, online global communities; got specific in my studies, reading niche books on creative business practices and branding theory; and began taking lettering and calligraphy workshops to learn and refine craft skills. I’ve since been building an independent creative business that delivers value to clients through applied art and design with purpose.   
You can follow my most current work on Behance and my journey in lettering and calligraphy on Instagram @DesignerMike
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