savvy systems

At m design, systems rule! We believe that graphic design systems of interlocking print, electronic and environmental elements make it easier to transmit complex information, while also reinforcing a brand image.

How do design systems work? Glad you asked. We have created a visual aid to help explain the concept. The image below shows at a glance how a company might systematize their communications. There is a website with different sections that are color-coded by subject matter. Each section becomes the anchor for a related suite of coordinated print and electronic materials such as eBooks, tip sheets, infographics. By unifying all of these pieces through color, format, type and image, the brand unity is maintained both horizontally and vertically. 

Better yet, a smartly organized and well-designed system like this helps users more easily understand the messaging. A clear and informative user experience = happier customers! 

Does your information cry out for better organization? Let us design a custom coordinated communication system for you!

system visual.jpg

m design north + south


m design opened in Baltimore in 2002. Today the firm has two locations we call home. 
This month, we are taking you behind the scenes to show you our studios and brag about
the creativity that echoes through these walls every day!


Hooper Mill:  m design north

Located in Baltimore’s historic Woodberry, this old factory site has been our home for many years. Built in the late nineteenth century, the facility was originally a cotton duck mill. Many
of the original architectural features of the structure still remain, including 25ft-high ceilings, large windows and working tilt-in transoms.

The building now houses restored offices and studios for artists, photographers, craftsmen
and small businesses. Ours is a breezy, light-filled space conducive to creativity. Because we believe in collaboration, m design is thrilled to be sharing this rustic, factory space with two writers, two experience designers and one dog––and we love visitors!

Co_Lab:  m design south

Bright, bold, industrial and architectural, this inspiring space is our new home several days a week. Co_Lab offers a variety of private areas to chat, read, sketch or meet with clients. There is a large, folding, glass garage door that divides the kitchen and conference room, allowing
for natural light and a wide open feeling. Surrounded by other like-minded individuals, the creativity and inventiveness seems to flow. This modern, downtown office is the latest place where we can be found generating smart design!


We hope you enjoyed our backstage tour! We look to sharing much more with you over the next few months, so stayed tuned, subscribe if you like and follow us on social media.

justified type

Sometimes the push of a button on the computer is not enough.

Rivers can be beautiful, but not in typography! Typographic "rivers" are visually distracting areas
of white space that look like rivers winding through the text. This problem occurs when working with justified type, where both sides are straight. In
word-processing programs, justification can be achieved by simply pushing a button, but the computer is not perfect. Often, there will be too many words on some lines and not enough on others—creating rivers! The solution is to go in and adjust manually. If there are too many words, move some down, or not enough words, move some back up. Compare the example to the left showing undesirable "rivers" with the image at the top revealing a nicely justified body of text. Then decide if you are willing to do the extra work to make your justified type look good!