Mark Fox is a designer and educator. He specializes in the design of trademarks, icon systems, and custom typography at Design is Play where he collaborates with Angie Wang. (Prior to his work with Wang, Fox designed under the nom de guerre BlackDog for more than twenty years.) Fox and Wang are co-authors of Symbols: A Handbook for Seeing, published by The Monacelli Press in 2016.
Known for creating arresting images with unusual concision, Fox has been described by Aaron Betsky, former Curator of Architecture and Design at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, as “a master at the specialized task of designing logos and symbols.” Betsky states further, “His designs have the impact of early twentieth-century propaganda, the aura of medieval myth, and the thought-provoking quality of a work of critical art.” Writing in Graphis, Ken Coupland notes Fox’s “talent for compressing the maximum amount of message into the minimum amount of acreage.” Regarding Fox’s winning entry in the 1993 San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Beaux Arts Ball competition, juror Michael Manwaring proclaimed, “A short, sharp blast in a roomful of frippery.”
He has designed trademarks and iconography for a range of companies, among them Autodesk, Bianchi USA, California College of the Arts (CCA), Credo Mobile, Elektra Records, Eveready Battery Co., Major League Soccer, Nike, Oracle, PowerBar, Random House, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, TV Land (Nickelodeon), University of California Press, Warner Bros. Records, and Wired.
Fox’s work has been recognized nationally and internationally in such publications as Affiche (The Netherlands), B.A.T. (France), Blueprint (England), Communication Arts (United States), Critique (United States), Graphis (Switzerland), and Novum (Germany). His posters are included in collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich; the Poster Museum at Wilanów, Warsaw; the United States Library of Congress, Washington; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). His work has also been acquired by the Letterform Archive in San Francisco, and the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG) in Los Angeles.
A one-man show of his political posters—“BlackDogma: Selections from the Work of Mark Fox in the Permanent Collection of Architecture + Design”—was exhibited at SFMOMA in 1999.
In addition to co-authoring Symbols, Fox has written articles for Communication Arts, Critique, and 3X3, and he authored the introduction to The New American Logo, published by Madison Square Press in 1994. His analysis of corporate trademark design, “Logos=God,” was featured in Communication Arts in 1999. He periodically contributes book reviews to the site Designers and Books; “Ray Bradbury, Jaron Lanier, and ‘The Digital Flattening of Expression’” was posted in 2014.
He served as President of the San Francisco chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) from 1995–1996, and sat on the board of the Architecture + Design Forum of SFMOMA from 1998–2000. In 1995 Fox chaired the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Design Lecture Series: “5ive Iconoclasts” featured Tibor Kalman, Vaughan Oliver, the Guerrilla Girls, Jenny Holzer, and Diller + Scofidio. In 2004, Fox was designated a Fellow of the San Francisco AIGA for personal and professional contributions to the San Francisco design community.
Fox is a Professor of Graphic Design at California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco where he has taught since 1993. He served as Chair of Graphic Design at CCA on two occasions, from 2003–2007, and most recently from 2013–2014.
He earned a B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1985, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.
photography: Will Mosgrove
Angie Wang is a designer and educator who specializes in typography and typographic systems. Her studio, Design is Play, is a creative collaboration with Mark Fox. Wang and Fox are co-authors of Symbols: A Handbook for Seeing, published by The Monacelli Press in 2016.
Design is Play’s work for March Pantry, Anson Mills, One Catering, and others has won numerous awards from the Type Directors Club, Communication Arts, Graphis, AIGA, and Print magazine. In 2013, Design is Play was one of forty-four design firms interviewed for Steven Heller and Lita Talarico’s book Design Firms Open for Business (Allworth Press). Design is Play was the subject of a feature article in the May/June 2015 issue of Communication Arts.
Wang’s work is included in collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich; the Poster Museum at Wilanów, Warsaw; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). It has also been acquired by the Letterform Archive in San Francisco, and the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG) in Los Angeles. Her work is featured in New Modernist Type (Thames & Hudson); Typography Essentials: 100 Design Principles for Working with Type (Rockport); and Typography Sketchbooks (Princeton Architectural Press.)
In 2014, Wang served as one of five jurors for Communication Arts’ Design Annual, an international competition of the best design created over the preceding year.
Wang is a Senior Adjunct Professor at California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco where she has been teaching in the Graphic Design Program since 2005. She has taught “Typography 3: The Book,” created the curriculum for the foundational course “Typography 1: Form,” and co-taught the Summer study abroad class “Amsterdam: Dutch Utopia” with Mark Fox. She graduated magna cum laude from UC Berkeley, and with distinction from the California College of Arts and Crafts (CCAC). She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
photography: Will Mosgrove
Graphic design is not a solitary pursuit, but a collaborative one, and we relish the opportunity to work with other smart, talented professionals. Some of our colleagues include:
Kevin Giffen, Wranch Studios
Tom Morrison, Morrison Productions