Margo Chase

It was Autumn 2001, and the talented and gracious folks of AIGA Nebraska were hosting a design camp on the prairie with their 2nd annual Nebraska Art Farm. Far from the urban din, Arbor Day Farms, an Arcadian retreat, was our hideaway brimming with exceptional design superstars and stars-to-be at every turn. I’d been invited to present, along with Robynne Raye of Modern Dog, Kit Hinrichs of Pentagram, and an unbridled typographic alchemist, Margo Chase.

I lead a workshop on brainstorming identity design, while Kit shared American flags and his Pentagram archives and Robynne taught a naive group the fine points of painting on black velvet. Crowd pleasers all around, but no one commanded the rapt attention of campers like Margo leading a class on creative lettering. She was encouraging, invested and unflinching in sharing her every insight. Her enthusiasm and the attention of the attendees never waned. It’s hard to be anything but friendly in Nebraska, but the glow of her warm karma that weekend was unparalleled.

It was that evening that Margo asked me about an upcoming project I’d mentioned called LogoLounge. I’d shared the vision and mentioned the need to wrap up populating the site with enough exceptional logos for a proper launch. Margo and Robynne tripped over themselves offering up their full archives for the site and thus became two of our earliest Founding Members.

LogoLounge.com was an untested concept and a pretty sketchy idea at the time. Undoubtedly having buy-in from Chase Design Group, Modern Dog and other believers made it so much easier when approaching gods and demigods for their early support. Margo enthusiastically shared better than a hundred of her identities, many of which had never been documented in journals, and this provided the design community one of the most exhaustive archives of her work at the time.

There was no easier decision than to select Margo as the first feature design article for LogoLounge Volume 1. Her just-completed seminal work for Madonna and her Drowned World Tour provided the design community an insight into the mutual artistic efforts and processes of two pop icons. More than a dozen early iterations and castoffs of the project were featured in the book; that article is reproduced here.

Margo took every opportunity to push the envelope of life. Pressing her passions to the brink assured her efforts were the brightest in the sky. A life lost too soon for sure, but an indelible contrail that creatives will aspire to for generations to come.

To read Margo’s obituary, please see here.