About Michael Johnson

Michael set up Johnson Banks in 1992 after learning his trade in brand consultancy, design and art direction across the globe in Tokyo, Sydney, Melbourne and London. The company is known for how they define, then design, brands that make a difference.

They work with people who want to do big things: tackle hunger; fight for an open internet; address child poverty; raise billions for innovation and education; bring culture and enlightenment to the world; create products that question the norm; shift paradigms and change lives.

Their projects are as varied as world famous museums, art centres in Philadelphia and Paris and not-for-profits across the world. They rebranded the pioneers of ethical investment, Acumen Fund, and for Mozilla undertook the world’s first truly ‘open’ rebrand. They rebranded Action Against Hunger across 54 countries, worked for the Gates Foundation in Europe and in the UK they are working with the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London. Recently they have rebranded Teach First, Duolingo, the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), the Royal Academy of Music, campaigned for the Natural History Museum and rebranded Jodrell Bank. In 2023 they are working on projects across public health, further education, climate change innovation and cultural outreach.

Johnson himself oversees the strategic and creative output of the company but is just as likely to roll up his sleeves and get involved in the work himself. He is a regular speaker at the world’s design and branding conferences, including multiple appearances at Typo Berlin, Kyoorius Design Yatra in India and Brand New conferences in the USA and Europe.

He has conducted lecture tours across India and China, been an external examiner at multiple UK design colleges and is a Fellow of Ravensbourne College. He is currently visiting professor at Glasgow School of Art, visiting tutor at Kingston University and a visiting lecturer at multiple universities including Art Center Pasadena and the University of Cambridge. His online branding course on verbal and visual branding has thousands of students across the globe.

The Independent Newspaper selected him as one of the 10 most notable British Designers and The Guardian Newspaper named him as one of the UK’s top 50 designers. The Guardian also described him as ‘bright, fluent, relentlessly articulate’, and Design Week said ‘Johnson has a knack of being able to distil the complex, diffuse or workaday down into simple, intelligent, witty messages’.

He has written three books, including the transatlantic bestseller 'Branding: In five and a half steps' and his third, 'Now Try Something Weirder' was published in 2019. He has won most of the design world’s key prizes, including seven ‘Yellow’ and one ‘Black’ Pencil from D&AD, and has dozens of designs in the V&A's permanent collection. In 2022 he was inducted into Design Week's Hall of Fame and in 2017 he was awarded D&AD's highest honour, the President’s Award, joining a list of previous recipients that include Sir Terence Conran, Ridley Scott, Wally Olins, Alan Parker and Sir John Hegarty.

In his spare moments he wields old-fashioned yet wonderful cameras, and wonders why, after half a century of practice, he isn’t a better guitar player.

If you would like Michael to speak at your conference, please email info@johnsonbanks.co.uk

Visit Michael's Wikipedia page.

Download a hi-res image here.