EPISODE #36 || Michael Benjamin, Creative Director at Anthem Branding

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Michael comes to us from the world of visual branding, sharing his experience from 20+ years of being a self-defined design nerd. Hear about the process of creating a visual brand identity, personal branding and resume tips from the class he teaches at CU Boulder, and being a creative of color in a city not known for its diversity (and the case for sticking it out).

Topics Discussed

  • Getting his start as a 14-year-old intern and a 16-year-old freelancer.  
  • Anthem Branding’s work in strategic branding, custom merchandise and retail packaging, and what’s kept him there for 10+ years.
  • What goes into the process of visual branding, including designing for people who aren’t you, and putting yourself in the audience’s mindset.
  • Being a creative of color in a city not known for its diversity, and being somewhat of a trailblazer in these smaller cities. 
  • Personal branding advice and resume tips (and pet peeves) from the class he teaches at CU Boulder, and from the materials he receives from candidates. 
  • The Boulder advertising scene and learning to network at events that feel more like parties. 

Mic Drops

“I’m going to use this typeface not because I like it, but because I think this other person will. That’s cool as a designer, that’s what I really enjoy, and I think it kind of makes you stretch. You have to do something different from what you would do just for yourself.”

“As a person of color, you see a lot of things happening, and you see a lot of things that you don’t agree with. And if I can be something of a trailblazer—if someone hasn’t seen a brown person before who lives in Boulder, and they can see me, and see that it’s not scary and I’m contributing to society, I think that’s a good thing, maybe it’s a pretty low bar, but that’s where I’m at.”

“Being real—that’s what branding’s supposed to be about. [..] The more real you can be with your branding, the more authentic, I think that’s what eventually resonates with people, if you’ve put the time to craft a unique message to them.”

Resources Mentioned

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About Michael

For over 20 years, Michael Benjamin has worked with creative shops, marketing agencies, and small businesses to design and build brands. He's the creative director at Anthem Branding, where he leads a team of designers and brand strategists dedicated to helping organizations across every industry create powerful visual identity systems, retail packaging, and custom merchandise. Michael lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife, Haley, and their cat, Honey.