I’m really excited to share a bit of insight behind the creative minds involved with makelike. If I had to pick a new set of friends the Portland, Oregon based designers, Mary and Topher, would be at the top of my list. Why? Well, who wouldn’t want to be friends with someone who collects Boy Scout camp coffee mugs, framed photos of St. Mary’s Lake in Glacier National Park, vintage Brock dinnerware and photos of other people’s pets? Not to mention they are majorly skilled artists and seem like really fun, interesting, witty people. Enjoy!
photo courtesy of Adrian Gaut
Great brand name…what does it mean and where did it come from?
Thanks! We were inspired by the mysteriously undocumented folklore behind “makelike” phrases (makelike a tree and leave, etc.), so we chose it as our name (thanks to our friend Bob) and hosted a dinner party where our friends helped us write our own makelike phrases. We’ve also found that due to our “West Coast dialects” we end up saying it inadvertently in sentences when concepting ideas (e.g. “We could make, like, a really awesome tea towel.”)
Tell us about the process of starting makelike and how you got where you are today.
We got our official start in 2000…although we (Mary and Topher) had been working together at a Portland design firm called Johnson & Wolverton for several years prior. Our first job as makelike was a 200+ page spec magazine called MILK with CD Richard Christiansen (now Chandelier Creative, NYC), with whom we have collaborated with for the past ten years on various editorial (and other) jobs – including Suede and Radar (second iteration) magazines. We’ve always tried to incorporate pattern within all of our projects and our first intern (and now #3 man) Rob Halverson brought the hand-drawn stuff with him in 2000 from MCAD. Using self generated art successfully for our client’s projects for so many years, we finally decided to do it for ourselves in 2009 with our product line. We all love cacti, so we started with that as our first collection’s theme.
How would you describe your design style/philosophy? How has it evolved over the years?
We believe in making things that people want to keep – or better yet, cherish. What is the point of spending the time and resources to make something and then have it discarded or recycled? We try and make things with personality or soul – things you want to collect. For the product line, we’ve made things that we want to see in our own homes! A portion of our our time “designing” has evolved from something we do only for clients, to something we also do for ourselves. That’s made it a lot more fun. Aesthetically, when you take a step back and look at our client work over the years, you’ll probably notice that our style is diverse, flexible and capable of shape-shifting, but overall, we’ve stayed true to a consistent approach that ties everything together as a cohesive body of work – regardless of it’s complexity or simplicity.
You guys sound like you can do just about anything, photography, printmaking, sewing, installation…any favorite mediums? Any type of art you’ve been itching to try?
Well yeah, I guess we can….We all went to art school and we all studied some design in school – but none of us majored in it. That gives us a wide variety of skill-sets and the ability to do anything. Plus we live in the middle of a creative hotbed (Portland, Oregon), where it’s possible (and really easy) to remain curious, share and learn new things from the gifted people that surround you – every day! Go spirit of collaboration!
Your dream project?
Please share five things/people/places that inspire you.
M: Walking around my neighborhood, walks in the forest, camping, the Read the rest of this entry »