Works and Days

Reed Winter Externship Reflections 14: Number Twenty three, Corey McPherson Nash, Sanjeev Verma

For my externship I worked with Michael McPherson '69, the creative director and co-founder of Corey McPherson Nash, a design and branding firm in Boston. Michael studied philosophy at Reed, but then received his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. He described this transformation romantically, musing that he stepped out of the Reed library one evening after completing his Yale PhD application, and saw before him a gleaming sunset envelop the campus. The sun set and he saw the light. Something struck him that day, and he immediately withdrew his application to Yale. He moved to a cooperative farm in Washington to ponder his next move. Here he refined his skills in calligraphy and increased his knowledge of typography. His zeal for design eventually led him to RISD, where he was a member of the first graduating class.

Since then, Michael has inscribed a culture of unwavering commitment to creativity and quality design at his firm, Corey McPherson Nash. The firm produces meticulously-crafted branding material and emphasizes a cooperative relationship with clients to determine their brand position. During my externship I was able to step into Michael's shoes for a few days, and gain exposure to video and graphic designers who were passionate about making great products. I saw their intensive creative process unfold first-hand and began to understand the necessity of making countless renderings and revisions; I appreciated their cooperative work environment; I laughed with them when they struggled to explain the difference between a vermillion and amber orange to clients. Overall, it was a fantastic experience. 

In addition to the work experience, Michael's story and character left a very meaningful impression on me. He facilitated my interests, engaged me in his work, and inspired me to keep a diverse array of interests.

Cool Fact: Michael did all of the calligraphy for Gary Snyder's Cold Mountain Poems.

Tags: design, graphic design, brand design