Mike Sanchez 1928 – 2020

Mike Sanchez

Michael Sanchez, graphic designer, interior designer and one of the leaders during the early days of environmental graphic design, passed away on February 27, 2020 after a brief illness. He was 91 years old. He started his own firm in 1965 providing interior planning and design, graphic communication and institutional product design. That evolved into a focus on environmental graphics as the field developed into a fully recognized discipline. The firm he started is now SKA Design, specializing in developing comprehensive signage and graphics programs for healthcare facilities, educational campuses and transportation venues.

Michael was an active member of the design community for nearly 50 years. He served as an SEGD board member and treasurer in the early years and was a past president and lifetime member of the USC Architectural Guild. Additionally, he taught environmental design courses at Art Center College of Design for more than 25 years. He traveled extensively as a guest lecturer for the American Association of Airport Executives, the National Parking Association, the National Research Council Transportation Board and the European Parking Congress.

“Mike was a real pioneer in the field and one of the last connections to the important architects of mid-century Los Angeles, including William Pereira, Charles Luckman and Gin Wong, many of whom were his friends and clients,” says SEGD Fellow Wayne Hunt, “Classically trained, he was equally comfortable designing elegant bank interiors and hospital signage systems. He was also one of the classiest guys in the business, cool and understated but always projecting an engaging warmth. He loved good design and art of all kinds and knew how to make an excellent martini and select the right cigar.”

Michael’s goal was to create designs that communicate to everyone, not just other designers. He was a great leader, an excellent teacher and a good friend to all who knew him. He loved his work and embraced all of what life had to offer. He will be greatly missed.

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