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Profile: Mark Minelli

Name: Mark Minelli
Job title and company: President, Minelli, Inc.
Degree(s): BS in Graphic Design
Professional interests: My board and brand work with the international NGO, Pact; the science and emotion of perception; all things art and culture. I am also constantly fascinated by how and why cities evolve.

What are you working on now?
We currently have a very interesting mix of projects: Two museum projects midstream, a college branding initiative with a strong social media/storytelling component, and a complex healthcare project. I am particularly excited about a brand place-making project in Brooklyn that allows us to marry many of the areas we are interested in. And, of course, our work with the BSA.

How do you explain to your mom what you do for a living?
Something creative.

What inspired you today?
Does last weekend count? Spring.

What industry buzzword would you kill?
I would kill buzzword. It’s such a buzzkill.


Pact, a global NGO

When you’re working, do you discuss or exchange ideas with your colleagues?
Unless they tell me to leave them alone.

What are you reading?
These interview questions. Is that too literal of an answer?

Do you sketch by hand or digitally?
I always go back and forth. I really like what happens to a small visceral sketch if you drastically alter its scale digitally.

Has your career taken you anywhere you didn’t expect?
Tanzania, Cambodia, Myanmar.

Where is the field of architecture headed?
Hopefully, never anywhere near Brutalism.


Museum of Science, Boston

Can design save the world?
It seems unlikely, but at least we can try not to make it worse.

What do you hope to contribute from your work?
Contrary to my answer to the previous question, I have always wanted our work to matter. Branding and design create powerful symbols that can rally people around important ideas. The tricky part, of course, is that kind of work also seems to be diametrically opposed to anything that makes money.

Who or what deserves credit for your success?
As my father-in-law always says, more luck than brains. I guess I also feel that growing up without a lot is quite liberating. You know that world does not owe you a thing. [You] are going to have to bust your butt to get somewhere.

Your least favorite college class?
I thought business classes were painfully boring. I always wanted to spend the time in studio. In hindsight, maybe a couple more of the business ones would have come in handy.


Handel and Haydn Society

If you could give the you-of-10-years-ago advice, what would it be?
Buy lots of Apple stock at $18 a share.

Your favorite Boston-area structure?
I love Rowes Wharf for its early role in helping the city re-embrace its harbor. It still works very well today. I am equally excited about how Atlantic Wharf and, soon, Lovejoy Wharf are further advancing that connection.

Who would you like the BSA to interview next?
Tom O’Brien, [founding partner and managing] director of The HYM Investment Group. Tom is a very interesting guy, and he really cares about the city. He used to run the [Boston Redevelopment Authority] and is now heading up the development company that is redoing Government Center Garage. It’s a very complex project and incredibly important for Boston. Good stuff.

If you were on a late-night TV show, what would your 30-second plug be?
Why do the dumbest, most inane things get the most attention? How about we start talking about stuff that really matters. (Guess this is why I will never get on late-night TV.)

If you could sum up your outlook on life in a bumper sticker, what would it say?
Live like your life depends on it. Do good work. Play with your kids. Snowboard. (That’s too long for a bumper sticker, but if I have to distill it any more it’s going to feel like a messaging project.)