Marc O’Brien (BFA ’08)

As an independent Design Strategist and Creative Facilitator, Marc O’Brien focuses on social innovation, human-centered design, and purpose-driven initiatives that create positive change in the world.

Marc loves finding ways for organizations to make a huge impact in unexpected places. Working with others who are working towards creating positive change, he uses design as a tool to help them do this in a better way.

In a playful workshop environment, Marc helps Fortune 500 companies to startups, non-profits to universities, come up with fun, achievable, and innovative solutions to challenges. His preferred method is making. With a background in both web and graphic design, he brings ideas to life so others can see what’s possible.


The Alabamboo Make & Ride.
In June of 2011, a team of four cyclists rode across America to share the Alabamboo initiative, a growing movement to bring sustainable bamboo production to Alabama, thus strengthening the economic and social fabric of the rural south.

Social Good Guides.
A series of 20+ small business guides created to support startup and early stage social entrepreneurs and nonprofit founders, as well as anyone interested in producing projects with social impact.

Hey! What’s good in ___?
A resource guide for creative people who want to learn about what good is happening in their city and ways to contribute back.

Future Project Expedition: Iceland.
This was an initiative that encouraged participants to take a worm’s eye view and push the limits of their impact through extreme physical, intellectual, and creative challenges. Covering 300+ miles of Iceland’s southern coast, Team FPX was inspired to unite design and humanity in order to identify and advance Icelandic enterprise. After our bike tour, we came up with a concept called Share Cycle.

Marc O’Brien on the web

What mattered about the BFA program?
Design Center (and John Malinoski) showed me that design can be used to create positive change in the world and as designers, we can do more than just push pixels. My work now stems directly from that class. Sandy Wheeler introduced me to empathy in design. Rob Carter taught me that beauty and function can exist simultaneously. Jerry Bates instilled a sense of responsibility in me. The Graphics Lab opened up my eyes to other areas of art and design. My classmates taught me the importance of communication, respect, and collaboration. Damn, I miss those days in GDES.