Contact Information Marc English Design
16201 FM 150 West
Driftwood, Texas 78619
Telephone 512.217.9468 Google Map Close Box
Student Portfolio Review | UnderConsideration[The following was sent to design blog,, at their request, regarding students and portfolios. I also sent them our 2-page pdf on Getting Your Foot in the Door. Send me an email and will send it to you.] How many student portfolios do you see in a month? Or in a year? I probably see the work of about 30 or more portfolios a year, though not all in person. I may see one a month in person, as the rest send pdfs, and I review them on-line. I usually instruct someone who wants in the door for any...View the rest of this entry.
ideas, ideals, and idolatry[The following was written while ruminating on our work for Chronicle Books, for a project regarding the Suicide Girls, of, who purport to be the contemporary version of the pinups of old.] I recently left the home of a friend, where I joined her, her husband and family for dinner, after several hours on conversation. One of those conversations was around the fact that her newest CD (Sarah Hickman, Motherlode) features a modern-day painting in the style of the ancient hindu kama sutra poses from India. A husband and wife (it is a domestic scene) get it on in...View the rest of this entry.
Human potential?"The creative person is both more primitive and more cultivated, more destructive, a lot madder and a lot saner, than the average person." - Frank Barron, the internationally known UC Berkeley scholar, psychologist, and beloved Esalen teacher, whose work exploring the creative mind influenced a generation of researchers. "Esalen is a non-profit organization that has been devoted to the exploration of human potential since the 1960's. Historical luminaries like Aldous Huxley, Joseph Campbell, Jack Kerouac, Alan Ginsberg, Joan Baez, and countless others have gathered here to develop revolutionary ideas, transformative practices, and innovative art forms. Today Esalen is a retreat...View the rest of this entry.

Illustration for Step Inside Design by the inimitable Marc Burckhardt, of Austin, Texas.

"You only live once, but if you live life like I do, once is enough."Marc English quoting Frank Sinatra THE WAY OF THE DESIGN SHAMAN by Joel Nakamura [Step Inside Design, September | October 2002] In this reality, his moniker is Marc English, but for those who believe in the theory of quantum parallel universes, English might simultaneously and interdimensionally co-exist as Marc Japanese, Marc Anasazi, or Marc Moroccan. A traveling man, a blues man, a shaman, English spreads the doctrine through his lecture, "The Way of the Design Shaman." Granted, he may not have the ritual scars of a recent sun dance, or the facial tattoos of a Maori warrior, but English elevates...View the rest of this entry.

The Best Part of Lost in Translation.Guest editorial on Speak Up called one of Top 5 posts in 2005. See why. Was in Denver a couple weeks ago. The dog and pony show Wednesday nite at the best old hotel in town for the Colorado chapter of AIGA. Great audience, very vocal, most around 25 years old, though a larger than normal number of folks with more grey than me in their hair. A raffle that I didn't know about having the "winners" have lunch with me the next day....View the rest of this entry.
The Way of the Design Shaman.We forget why we are here. We forget why we do it. It is age-old. The basic principles of memory, understanding your tools, intimidation of enemies, spatial understanding, sensory awareness, the sustained and focused attention of meditation, the ability to evoke waking visions and religious experiences, getting outside oneself - as in the vision quest of attending conferences, lectures, syposia - understanding the relationship between spirit and inspiration, understanding experience, the isolation and extreme privation of working alone, these are a few of the methods used by the Design Shaman. The Design Shaman are the visual poets and storytellers. They...View the rest of this entry.
Discovering New Worlds, or Recognizing Old Worlds and Working Toward a Better One.The failure of Christopher Columbus lie not in what he found, but in what he was seeking. The success of Columbus was not in discovering new lands, but in discovering the act of discovery. Which came about by way of a simple rubric: Experience is the best teacher. His education was not intentional, but circumstantial. Education at its best provides one thing: developing a way of thinking. That way of thinking includes defining a thought process, the process ultimately leading to a certain understanding. Select a few of the key words from those first two sentences - thinking, definition, process,...View the rest of this entry.

Inspirability.[The following is taken from the book Inspirability (HOW Books, written by Pash, spring 2005), which proposes "What inspires you? This was the question asked of forty of the world's top designers," including Milton Glaser, Chip Kidd, Stefan Sagmeister. I think it's a priviledge to be lumped in with Glaser, but am not so stupid as to consider myself one of the U.S.'s top forty designers, let alone the world.] Design shaman Marc English is an Austin, Texas designer, author, and educator. His studio, Marc English Design, creates visual communications for a wide variety of clients in the U.S. and...View the rest of this entry.
CMYK [At its core, CMYK is an archive of top-level graduate work in advertising, design, photography and illustration. Every issue's portfolio encompasses nearly 100 selections of bonafide "fresh" creative, chosen by leading professionals in all fields. The CMYK design annual is judged by a solo judge, to whom the magazine sends all entries. The following was the blurb that was written to accompany this year’s annual.] I consider myself fortunate when it comes to the profession I have chosen: For one reason or another I find myself in the position of surveying bodies of work asked to represent a city,...View the rest of this entry.
Esquina Norte proves MexiCANs.[ The following was written for Communication Arts magazine.] Three years ago I was doing a speaking gig in San Diego and a young woman asked would I care to speak at the first design conference ever held in Tijuana: Esquina Norte. Sure, why not? Esquina Norte is named for the point of land it occupies, the far northwest corner of Mexico. When one visits that actual point, they will find the massive wall that separates Mexico from the U.S. It reaches well out into the Pacific, where it’s end is met by cold, dangerous waters, rocks, and sharks. On...View the rest of this entry.
Milagros y Mascaras en la Hacienda de Diseno.[the following, a mix of hyperbole, purple prose, fact and only the fancy derived from hoping to inspire, was written at the introduction for the 2001 Design Ranch program. DR, an annual retreat in the Texas Hill Country, consists of a series of hands-on workshops lead by the nation's top creatives, and is attended by guests from across the country and beyond our borders. Locally, Milagros refer to small metallic figures or icons in a variety of shapes, which became a design theme for the retreat materials. This was written directly after reading a book on ritual that had come...View the rest of this entry.
E. McKnight Kauffer, and the shapes the dead can create.There are many kinds of influences one has in their careers. There are the mentors and heroes one looks up to, learn from, and there are those we put on pedestals of our own making. And fortunately there are those that influence not by overt pressure, but by enabling one to understand, to see in a new way. Or better yet, to clarify what is already in one's heart, one's head. For then we can find our place in the world. So it was with E. McKnight Kauffer. I am no authority on Kauffer, and all I know - or...View the rest of this entry.
Connect/Disconnect: Experiences that Transform.Time and distance have their ways of making two things happen. The first, is to make one forget, or help one forget, depending on what it is that's being forgotten. The second thing that can happen, is the exact opposite of forgetting, the knowing of something that you realize is inescapable. The coming to terms with what is, what neither time nor distance can take away. It is the true things that are inescapable. Like friendships that pick up right where they left off, whether it be months or years since the last communication. Or the fact that no matter...View the rest of this entry.
Frontiers are where you find them.I'm a curious guy. I want to know new things. I want to see new things. I want to learn new things. I want to do new things. With that in mind, I've criss-crossed this country of ours for 30 years in the pursuit of seeing and learning, of knowing places and people. The places are all different: creeks, streams, rivers, oceans, bayous, swamps, meadows, dirt, sand, limestone, granite, Ponderosa pine, Spanish moss, kudzu, gingko, coupled with heat, humidity, aridity, cold and winds of a thousand kinds. I can still remember the red Georgia clay I first saw at ten...View the rest of this entry.
On the Use, and Abuse, of Cultural Icons."If I ever see one more damn Kokopelli," I thought, "I'm gonna puke." And then as I plopped myself onto the grass to scribble this paper, not more than six feet from me lie a young woman, in bathing suit, reading. There on the outside of her upper left thigh she bore an adept rendering of said Kokopelli, permanently inked by a tattoo artist's needle. I felt both deflated and defeated, but certainly did not feel like vomiting. Let me explain. For three days running now, including said tattooed lady, I've seen the image of the ancient southwestern deity, Kokopelli...View the rest of this entry.
Between the Two: Individuals Living in a Community.Louis Pascal wrote "A man does not show his greatness by being at one extremity, but rather by touching both at once." Extremities can be measured in many ways: sacred/profane, courage/cowardice, give/take, motion/rest, theory/practice. Of the latter, which is part and parcel to everything we do in our business, Aristotle, tutor of Alexander the Great, believed that the soul was broken into extremities, the rational and irrational. Of the rational he broke that down into intellectual wisdom and practical wisdom - theory and practice - with practical wisdom deriving from virtue, or excellence. Aristotle explains at length the great gulfs...View the rest of this entry.
Balancing on the slippery slope of responsibility.I'm on a Ben Franklin kick these days. Or maybe I should say he's haunting me. It started when I discovered the "Join or Die" illustration from Poor Richard's Almanac. I knew Franklin was a former Bostonian, as well as a printer, writer, and statesman. Franklin recognized early on the power of print to teach, persuade, and instigate political and social change. The words "to inform, to please, to persuade" are straight from his autobiography. A good example is the best sermon. This bent for Ben compounded itself when, while on a flight to the national AIGA retreat, I finally...View the rest of this entry.
Success.Aside from health and happiness, it would seem that success is something we all wish to attain. How do we measure success? $$$, awards, choice clients, a steady and secure job, dental benefits? However one measures it, it don't come easy. A couple of years back, during my brother's commencement at Northeastern University, Reverend William H. Grey III encapsulated a few ideas that I had been musing over in nebulous fashion. The Reverend, after serving 13 years in the U.S. House of Representatives for the state of Pennsylvania in many distinguished positions, resigned to take the position of president and...View the rest of this entry.

1968.The "white album." Vietnam. Martin Luther King, Jr. Bobby Kennedy. U.S.S. Pueblo. Nixon, Humphrey, Wallace. Black Power. Broadway Joe Namath. Apollo. Planet of the Apes. Hippies. Hair. Biafra. Elvis' "come back." The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. For me those were important times. Heady times for a 10-year-old starting to be aware of what was happening on the radio and television, starting to look around and see how things worked. People. Events. Life. Thought I'd always love a brown '68 Mustang. My first cross-country trip with my dad to Mexico made me realize I was lucky. As my life...View the rest of this entry.