AIGA SB kicked off 2016 very similar to last year: meeting up in a cozy East Side studio for good conversation and great work. This time, Mike Silverander was the father of our feast, leading us through thirty years’ worth of work by his agency Silverander Communications: publication design (books, magazines, catalogs), collateral, digital media, identity and more. The firm’s deceptively unassuming presence in Santa Barbara has held steady since 1985.
For many years Silverander has specialized in publication design, specifically books—designing more than 300 covers a year—overcoming the common challenge of creating the work before the book itself is completed. Mike explained that his background in journalism made the transition to publication design a relatively easy one, especially once he realized design was more than being “a layout man with an attitude.”
During the brief Q&A we learned that the firm loves taking on all aspects of big, monster projects (what they call “going beyond design”) and then conquering them to the point where it’s routine—but quietly. Silverander Communications thrived during the transition from print to digital; Mike noted that they’ve always been interested in “what’s next” instead of dwelling on “what happened.” In the thirty-year history of the company Mike has no one “favorite project” or “best work”—he instead enjoys the regular satisfaction of work done well—so while a career recap was unusual for him, it was a good chance to take stock of the big picture.
Special thanks to Mike for opening his Cota St. studio for us to pile in and chill out. Thanks also to Director of Projects Danielle Fox for coordinating with us, and to the Silverander Communications staff: Lee Ann Engle (Senior Designer), Laina Malm-Levine (Studio Manager), Deanna Buley (Designer), Jenna Alvarado (Designer), and Andrew Burk (DevOps). A great way to start the year!
Rock Star Gig Rating: On a scale of “zero” to “insane,” this fun and friendly night checks in at “mellow backyard acoustical jam with twenty-five of your best friends.”
Photos by Marianne Cothern, David Cowan and Keir DuBois.