Tracy Ma is a unique graphic designer and creative director. Part of her special quality lies in that she appears to approach design problems in a way that is truly free of cookie-cutter knee-jerk reactions, or trendy cliches. It can be difficult not to channel trends into one’s work, when our visual world is saturated with images that are regurgitated and fed black into cycles of Insta-friendy circulation. Sometimes it is also easy to fall back on the tried and true. Even large, successful design studios create similar logos, use the same colour palettes, and the same typefaces over and over.
Tracy Ma got her start at the Bloomberg Businessweek, a fortuitous beginning to a career in design. The pace and volume of editorial work affords a more experimental approach to image making. A news-focused magazine with a weekly run will be read and discarded pretty quickly. There is much more room to test things out, when compared to a one-off client projects that need to stand the test of time. If they don’t work, the readers will soon forget. The relationship between the written word and image is of course of huge importance in editorial design. It makes for the perfect space for Ma to exercise the full breadth of her wit and unrelenting sense of humour. She is funny, inventive, clever, and often surprising with her visual solutions. Whether a cover, feature spread, or an illustration for an online article, Ma makes it feel urgent and alive. Please head over to her website to find out more about her work — her descriptions and web design are very much worth the effort.