Michael Sambar: designer, traveler...moss expert?

What is your role at Cricket Design Works?

I head up the Milwaukee studio at Cricket Design Works. It's my home and I moved back here this summer after being in Madison for a few years. As our client-base in Milwaukee grows, I collaborate with new partners and expand our presence here. Additionally, my role as a graphic designer includes designing logos, websites, printed publications, digital ads and posters. I occasionally do some writing and illustrating, and have also been dabbling in animation.

What is your favorite part of what you do?

I really love the feeling of creating something that didn’t exist before, and seeing it go out into the world and fulfill a purpose. I also love seeing the excitement in the clients we work with when we share something that they’re really happy about. It’s almost like watching someone open a gift that you’ve put a lot of thought into. I also enjoy the amount of variety that I get to experience here. One day I might be working on a website for a biostatistics organization at the UW, and the next day I could be designing a poster for a fried chicken dinner at a restaurant, so it stays pretty interesting!

What unique background experience do you bring to Cricket Design Works?

I originally studied engineering for about 3 years before switching to graphic design. I’m not sure how much of that influences my work, but I’m guessing it probably strengthened my problem-solving abilities, which is a good skill to have in design. I also worked as a janitor for several years which allowed me to daydream a lot — which is also a necessary skill to cultivate! Besides school and work, I’ve done a decent amount of traveling. Both of my parents are from overseas so I’ve spent time with family in Europe and the Middle East.

What's one of your favorite places to go in Milwaukee when you want to relax?

There are a ton of awesome parks in Milwaukee that I like to spend time in. One of my favorites is Estabrook Park, which is right on the river and has a beer garden in it. You can order a stein of beer and just hang out under the trees. It’s perfect.

What is the last book you read?

I just finished A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman. I tend to read multiple books at a time, so I’m also reading one about Buckminster Fuller and another one all about moss.

What's your most memorable journey so far in life? And what about it sticks with you?

After graduation I went on this big trip to Denmark and China. It’s not a very logical combination of countries to visit from a distance standpoint, but it was a blast. I spent some time in Copenhagen, worked on an herb farm on this tiny island, travelled around Beijing and Shanghai and climbed a sacred mountain called Mount Tai. What stuck with me the most was the sense of freedom throughout the whole trip — not really knowing what I would do next. Also, seeing the variety of ways that people can live and be happy was inspiring.