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The VCFA MFA in Graphic Design Program Blog

Huh? #35: An interview with Central Office

February 9, 2018

Central Office is a Portland, Oregon design consultancy that works seamlessly across identity, interactive and filmmaking assignments from an equally diverse range of supportive clients. Founded by Max Erdenberger and Megan McGinley, VCFA’s Ian Lynam took some time to chat with them about their practice.

Identity and collateral for Public Coast Brewing Company

Packaging design for Public Coast Brewing Company

In an interview in Pub magazine a decade ago, Max stated that he was more interested in the idea of ‘visual communication’ than the narrow confines of ‘graphic design’. Is that still the case?

Max stated a lot of things in those days. We think our careers have benefited greatly from the formal training and rigor that graphic design introduced us to. Graphic design is a tremendous gift that keeps us chronically employed and has taken us all over the world.

Identity and apparel for The Athletic

Identity and apparel for The Athletic

How have your interests shifted since the founding of Central Office?

We are finding more pleasure in working with the autonomy of our studio and are even able to carve out time to reflect on our work and pursue independent projects. However, we are always looking for the next challenge or collaboration. That has always remained whether we were working under the guise of another organization or as our own company. Our interests are starting to permeate into our work too. We are obsessed with architecture and environmental design, while still being curious about new design and technology trends.

Identity for Walker

Identity for Walker

How does parenting affect your practice?

You wish you could say not much. But the truth is our practice’s main focus is to support a healthy family and keep everyone engaged in the world instead of the opposite feeling. We are truly lucky to be able to do this even for just five years. For five years, Megan focused on raising our son Anders and teaching at Portland State University, now we are back working together like the old days in Los Angeles.

Packaging for Rapha

Packaging for Rapha

What are some things that you think anyone who is interested in deepening their design literacy read/look at/observe?

Of the top of my head. Look at Apartmento Magazine, Go to ikea and observe people and the environment. Wonderwall Case Studies, Significant Objects.

Identity for Adventure Wagon

Identity for Adventure Wagon

Who are your heroes and heroines?

Hella Jongerius, Nathalie du Pasquier, Sanna Annukka, Graphic Thought Facility, Michael Beirut, and anyone who has stood up for injustice.

Identity for Central Office

Who are the opposite?

Detractors? Oh man they are everywhere! I don’t think we pay them much mind as they don’t deserve the platform.

Noted! Thanks, Megan and Max!

Stay tuned for the next installment of “Huh?”, folks!