Mike Nicholls

As we wind down this year’s Black History Month (and our anniversary month — 11 years!), we’ve got a super-sized episode with someone I’ve wanted to have on the podcast for a long time — the one and only Mike Nicholls. Mike is an award-winning storyteller with deep roots in hip-hop culture and design, and is probably most well-known for creating Umber — the design and culture magazine that highlights the global perspectives of Black people and POC from around the world.

Mike talked about how his love for magazines inspired him to create Umber, and shared some of the triumphs and challenges he’s faced over the years as the brand has evolved from a magazine into a media platform. He also spoke about his time as a designer in Atlanta, Philly, and Chicago, how Oakland inspires his work, and talked about how being a designer and a hip-hop artist helps keep his artistic integrity intact.

For Mike, his creative expression is about more than just making ends meet — it’s about creating with a purpose and about telling stories that resonate on a deeper level and embrace the authenticity of Black and brown experiences!

Sponsored by Brevity & Wit

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School of Visual Arts has been a leader in the education of artists, designers and creative professionals for over seven decades. Comprising 7,000 students at its Manhattan campus and more than 41,000 alumni from 128 countries, SVA also represents one of the most influential artistic communities in the world. For information about the College’s 30 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, visit

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