Michael Braley is like a lot of us. He’d like to create something on this earth that he can be remembered for. That may be designing a cool logo and slogan for a bottle of vodka. Likening it to a child making a little piece of pottery in school to give to mom and dad, Braley feels that same childlike sense of pride.
“I like to make things — hands-on design. I want a physical artifact that says ‘I made this,’” said Braley, creative director at Shatterbox, a rising design studio in Lexington.
In Braley, Shatterbox hit the mother lode when he inquired about a job in Lexington after a distinguished career in New York and San Francisco. The 41-year-old won a slew of awards in top national and international design competitions and had his work displayed in modern art museums, publications and exhibitions. He leads workshops at universities and professional organizations around the United States.
Braley’s wife is from Lexington, and the two decided last summer it was time for her to return to her family’s roots.
“Michael is about as original a graphic designer as there is. I studied him, and when he sent in his resume, I looked at it and thought, ‘This can’t be the same guy, because I’ve seen his work and read about him before,’” said Jeff Ruth, president and chief creative officer at Shatterbox. “I realized it was the same guy and called him back.”
Ruth said Braley was looking for “a good fit.” He had worked for some of the better design companies in the country and had his own firm in Brooklyn, N.Y. “He said we were the only local agency that really fit his style. If I see someone like a Michael Braley looking for a job, you know I’m going to jump on it,” said Ruth.
Russ Hensley, Shatterbox’s CEO, calls Braley a high-end print design resource who, by moving here, has changed the level of design talent in Lexington.
“He’s a different player for Lexington; we’re fortunate to have him,” Hensley said. “He interviewed with several design companies but chose Shatterbox because he liked the environment and flexibility.”
Ruth has been able to focus on his specialty — Web and interactive design — and let Braley handle print designs.
“That has split those functions,” Hensley said. “Now there are two very talented guys in web and print.”