Michael Padgett is, perhaps, best described as a brilliant original. As a graphic designer, he delivers contemporary, forward-thinking work that’s adaptable to the right strategy and based on the client’s business needs. More than anything, he thinks of himself as a visual problem-solver and deliverer of solutions. Visually attractive is table stakes – Michael’s designs do a lot more than simply look good.

But if you ask him, Michael will tell you that fifteen years ago, he didn’t even know what a graphic designer really did. With a Harvard degree in English literature, and stints as a management consultant, bike mechanic, and latte artist, he eventually found graphic design and began teaching himself. Years later, at Knox Design Strategy, his unique combination of business savvy and sheer design talent have made him an invaluable member of our team, and a visual thinker that we (and our clients) rely on.

A native Los Angeleno, Michael grew up playing the saxophone and graduated from the L.A. High School for the Arts, prior to heading east to Cambridge, Mass. Four years later, degree in hand, he traveled the exploratory path a lot of creative people tread early in their careers, looking for direction and investigating a lot of alternatives. Then he discovered graphic design.

After studying at MassArt, Michael started his design career at a small firm in Cambridge, specializing in book design, print publications and logo design. In the following years, he focused on branding and identity design at Korn Design and goodgood in Boston, before founding his own design consultancy in 2015. After a move to New York, we snagged him at Knox in 2017, and he quickly became a key member of our design team.

His eclectic path notwithstanding, Michael brings a fiercely disciplined approach to his work. Lots of graphic designers simply want to create something pretty, and let strategy, constraints and ultimately, their clients, take a back seat to their own visual sensibilities. Not Michael.

He brings a research-oriented approach to his work, propelled by client needs and problems. Competitors, strategy, process, goals – all this gets fed into his determination of how clients should best present themselves in their markets in order to differentiate, and ultimately, prevail.

He also values constraints, which typically drive designers up the wall. For Michael, constraints are a challenge that force him to design simply, paring down his work to the essence of a creative concept. The goal of all his efforts is that moment when a concept reveals itself, when a visual solution to a business problem appears, when the pressures of the real-world demands of his clients’ business compress a visual concept into its absolute essence, from which he can begin to build. And it’s how Michael creates remarkable work that speaks for itself.

Michael Padgett – Graphic Designer

Michael Padgett
Art Director, Strategy & Branding