Pyramigo Profile: Michael Anderson

An Interview with our Design & Marketing Associate

Posted: Jan 11, 2018

Every day we’re excited to come into the office. Not many people can say that. But we can, because we know the work we’re doing matters. We believe we can change the world. Each of us has a different story to tell, a different story about why doing good in the world matters to us. We thought we’d share it with you. Get to know the Pyramigos!

Meet Michael, Pyramid's Marketing and Design Associate.

Hey Michael! So, first off, where are you originally from?

Hey there! Well, I was born and raised in and around the Portland area. For most of my childhood, my family lived on a small farm in Helvetia, Oregon. It’s about 30 minutes west of Portland, and we owned a small nursery on our property.

How interesting! Not to be confused with the Helvetica typeface?

Ha! Not Helvetica, though I recently found out that the original name that the Helvetica type designers pushed for was in fact, “Helvetia,” which I am very proud of. “Helvetia” in Latin means “Switzerland,” where this influential typeface originated from.

How cool! So, what was your pathway to Pyramid like? From farm to…typeface?

Before joining Pyramid, I held various design internships and freelance positions, as well as taught art to elementary and middle school kids in both Portland and New York City. I moved to New York for college, earning a BFA in Communication Design at Parsons, The New School for Design. After graduating, I interned at an amazing nonprofit, The Center for Urban Pedagogy. I helped with various graphic design needs, provided assistance at community workshops, helped with fundraising and marketing initiatives, and got to know much more about public policy than I ever expected to. It was an incredibly valuable experience.

After completing that internship, I moved back to Portland and interned at Caldera, an arts education program that works with various schools around Oregon. The aim of the program is to provide opportunities for underrepresented and lower-income students to express themselves creatively, through year-long programming in their schools. It was started about 25 years ago by Dan Wieden, of Wieden+Kennedy, so inherently there’s a lot of really engaging and playful design work coming out of there.

While I was at Caldera, I began looking into agencies that more closely related to my design degree but that also placed an emphasis on equity and inclusion. After searching and searching, I discovered Pyramid… and here I am!

What a neat path! So now that you are here, what is your role at Pyramid?

I am the Marketing and Design Associate, where I support our clients and Pyramid team with various design projects. One day I may be putting together pitch decks or making updates to the website, and the next I may be tackling design work for some of our clients. In a way, I get to have a hand–or at least an eye–on a fair amount of the work being done at any moment at Pyramid.

Very cool! And what are some client projects you’ve worked on recently?

I recently wrapped up a project with the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington (CFSWW), working on its annual Give More 24! campaign. With more than 120 organizations in SW Washington benefitting from this 24-hour day of giving, we helped refine and unify CFSWW’s messaging and graphics so that all causes represented had a voice. I also recently completed an informational print piece to be used by the World Health Organization’s headquarters as it undergoes major reconstruction. The booklet details what changes will be made to its parking and commuting infrastructure and policies. I found this project to be very rewarding from a design-thinking perspective. With multiple changes occurring around the headquarters, keeping staff informed is incredibly important—and what better way to communicate these shifts than to think critically about the visual display of information and use of storytelling.

Awesome. So, what do you love most about working at Pyramid?

I relish in the fact that my work can be wildly different day-to-day. Every day I come in, I have the potential to try something brand new or to build on other skills due to the nature of my position. Some people enjoy a strict routine, but I find it much more exciting to flip back and forth, as it adds a lot of variety and keeps me on my toes creatively.

I also love working for a cause-oriented company. It's amazing to see all of the great work that gets put out into the world for a number of well-known or soon-to-become well-known organizations. It’s a very large reason why I’m here.

Plus, it’s great to be based in Portland with the best coworkers in town. And, there’s pizza in the building, so how can you beat that?

Well we love having you in Portland! What’s been an important lesson you’ve learned while working here?

I think since coming to Pyramid, I’ve realized It’s important to keep to a schedule, listen to everyone’s point of view, and always encourage collaboration.

What do you like to do when you are not at Pyramid?

Well I just moved into a new place, so it’s been a lot of cleaning up, unpacking, arranging and rearranging furniture, and getting to know the neighborhood. I’ve also been trying to jump back into painting and other crafts. I just started a project for this winter to draw or paint one animal per day. So far, I’m only three days in, but wish me luck as I try to keep this up! I also love to bike when the weather is nice, but with the rain, I revert back into my movie-watching persona. During the summer and shoulder seasons, I love to camp, hike, garden, and go on day trips in and around Portland.

Thanks, Michael!