Mike Nicholls

Understand you have value:

As much as is great for (young designers) to have internships at big companies… know that you could also do your own shit too. Have a vision for what you want to do for yourself, and not be so reliant upon working at (any) company. You have all of the options. Your value is not defined by where you work and, if it is—flex that. But know that THEIR value is up because they got you there. That’s how you have to see it.”

—Mike Nicholls, Founder, Creative Director, EIC

Nuances of the Black experience.

That’s my guest Mike Nicholls, He is a creative director, brand strategist, publisher, visual designer, and illustrator. He’s been translating ideas into visionary creative solutions utilizing his over 20 years of design experience and natural talent. Mike is also the founder and creative director of Umber Publishing, an independent publishing house based in Oakland, CA. He visually designs and illustrates the perspective of the contributor, from curation – to content and final magazine design.

We discuss the nuances of the Black and Brown reality and why a publishing platform such as a magazine allows the community to archive their own perspective.

I hope you can appreciate the way we nerd out on typography, culture, and the return to a tactile design experience. Enjoy!


An educator, designer, and a creative catalyst, George is a native New Yorker who started a podcast in 2017, because he didn't like to write. He also wanted a way to learn and chronicle varied ways or making. We hope you enjoy his journey.

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Episode 17