This month’s AIGA Maine Member Spotlight features Wendy Clark. We talked to her about work, her life in Maine, and her experience with AIGA.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
For 10 years I’ve run Wendy Clark Design, creating online and print work for clients from Freeport to France. Before that, I worked in the online arm of the Portland Press Herald for 14 years. I studied at the Art Institute of Boston and UMass, graduating summa cum laude in ’95 with a bachelor’s in graphic design. I particularly enjoy helping clients with publication design, logo design, and finding novel solutions that integrate classic design with newer technology, such as live interactive maps or on-trail signage for a QR-code scavenger hunt. I also designed and published a series of 14 mountain biking maps for greater Portland areas, available in local bike shops.
What brought you to Maine, and how long have you lived here?
In the early 90s, on a first date, my dinner companion said, “You’ve never been to Maine? Well, I’ll take you to Maine!“ And indeed he did. We moved to Biddeford Pool in ’95 and I’ve lived in greater Portland since. We sailed a lot at the start so my first experience of many coastal towns here (even Portland) was by water. I started mountain biking regularly then too. It seems natural to be situated near the ocean, and my heart is in the forest. Maine suits me.
Why did you join AIGA Maine?
Years ago I was a member of the Art Directors Club, which later folded into the Ad Club. Although I do work in advertising for my clients, designers and artists are my tribe. So I joined the Maine chapter of AIGA in 2009. Talks and social events keep my world expanding. Also, I’m glad to support an organization that recognizes that graphic art and design is not a nicety, but a necessity.
What are a few of your favorite spots in Maine
Carrabassett Valley. As an avid xc skate skier and mountain biker, I love the trails there. Not much beats a day of riding, lunch with your feet in the Carrabassett River, and “post-ride” at The Rack or Tufulio’s.
I also love dinner on the sidewalk at Enoteca Athena in Brunswick. The food is excellent, the sidewalk is deep enough for both diners and all walks of pedestrians, and the Maine Street setting is a great mix of old and new. (As a font nerd, I can’t help but wonder if the “Lincoln Building” identification across the street might be original Art Nouveau lettering.)
How do you get inspired?
When clients are passionate about what they do, that’s creative fodder. I learn from them and we collaborate. In the last month, for instance, I’ve:
- worked with a Grammy-nominated voice actress and podcast producer on a new logo and a website overhaul,
- created branding and packaging materials and a starter e-commerce solution for a biologist extracting salmon serum to sell for use in research worldwide,
- designed a website and payment-QR-code mini cards for a tai chi instructor who now offers year-round(!) classes on the beach here in Freeport,
- worked on an annual report and started work on New Orleans conference materials for a lumber/building-supply analyst who has struck out on his own.
All fascinating. I also try to maintain a steady diet of visual food such as blogs, galleries/museums, books, and a stack of Communication Arts annuals as long as my arm. Most importantly, once I’ve absorbed as much as I can, I let go. I go for a bike ride or ski and “zone out.“ Inspiration often comes when I’m not looking for it. Some of my best work has been done in the woods.
Which designers are you following these days?
I don’t follow individual designers so much as I follow aggregate sites like Behance or One Page Love. But I do occasionally bring up Stefan Sagmeister’s Instagram reviews and try to guess which projects he’ll like or dislike and why. (I’m often wrong, but it’s a great exercise.) I thought Aaron Draplin’s Adobe Max talk was great, so I check out his feed sometimes too. And I’m currently leafing through ’s How to Use Graphic Design to Sell Things, Explain Things, Make Things Look Better, Make People Laugh, Make People Cry, and (Every Once in a While) Change the World. Locally, I will never scroll past anything posted by Jeff Woodbury—an uncompromising artist in all that he creates, captures, and writes.
What design trend do you love?
Illustrated beer cans! I know of a couple of breweries that have used illustration for a while— Geary’s had been featuring a MECA artist on their bottles every year for decades, but lately, it’s great to see the beer can trend really taking off. There’s now an art gallery in the corner of every local market. Wouldn’t it be fun to see this trend expand to other beverage packaging? Imagine a Kandinsky-esque wine label (the whole thing, not just a Mouton-Rothschild label-topper), water packaging by Angela Adams, street art on bourbon bottles.…
Where should we go to see more of your work?
Best places are wendyclarkdesign.com/work and @wwwending on Instagram.
AIGA Maine Member Spotlight is a regular series where we highlight one of our AIGA members. If you would like to make a suggestion for an upcoming spotlight, please email us at email@example.com.