Annie Kao Interview – 50 States (Maryland)

May, 2017
Reading Time
4.5 mins
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Image © The Interviewee

Annie Kao – “the city reminds me that as a designer, my output should be communicative.”

This week we’re talking to Annie Kao, a Taiwanese graphic designer living and studying in Baltimore, Maryland.

This is the 10th edition of Creative Chair’s 50 States series, where we find out more about Annie and her thoughts on Maryland.

You can see a lot more from Annie Kao on Behance (highly recommended).

The Road Not Taken

Tell us a little bit more about yourself and what you do?

Hi, my name is Annie Kao, a graphic designer from Taiwan. I shifted from a business field to the design world, and my life changed, thank God, no regrets to this day. I am currently pursuing MFA degree in Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).

My work has changed a lot after being here; they become more funny and universal, I was somewhat poetic and self-centred before though. For now, my focus is on the humour in typographical thinking, and the coding generated visuals.

Space Oddity

Space Oddity

“ I was confused when I arrived; everyone told me this was a ‘dangerous’ city”

Space Oddity by Annie Kao

How has your state influenced the work that you do?

I live in Baltimore, which is the first city I’ve been living so long other than my hometown. I was confused when I arrived; everyone told me this was a “dangerous” city. But as I spend more time here, I realise that Maryland is a real place, it’s not an America bubble.

The 80th 366 Award goes to Annie Kao for her outstanding creative work.

I don’t think living here directly influences my visual, but the personality of the city reminds me that as a designer, my output should be communicative, it avoids me to do the things that are artsy or just speaks to itself.

Of your own work, what is your favourite project and why?

The rebranding proposal for Midtown Academy, which is the longest standing charter school in Baltimore City. I collaborated with two of my classmates. We were excited about this project because the school is in our neighbourhoods, we pass by and greet with people there every day.

Midtown Academy Annie Kao by Annie Kao

Our approach was to create a custom typeface, with the extended and condensed letterforms suggesting its expanded education, the robust and diverse culture. The bold typeface went really well with the vibrant colour palette, custom culture icon set, and multiple applications. What excited us most was, we were doing a project for people living only miles away from us, not for any abstract brief.

Midtown Logo Animated

And finally, if you died and got reincarnated as a song, what would that song be?

Happy by Pharrell Williams. I wish I die happily.

Happy (2013)
Pharrell Williams
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What began as a fun question to end an interview, has now become a wonderfully eclectic collaborative playlist by 161 people (and counting).
Maryland with Annie Kao
Our Forest