It’s Women’s History Month and to honor women’s contributions to American history, we are excited to bring back our Women in Design series! Each week we will shine a light on women trailblazers in the design industry. You might not know them all by name, but definitely by their work and influence on the design world as a whole.
Tracy Ma is known for her playful, unique, characteristic, graphic design work. She takes a different approach than other designers, with an attitude to graphic design as one big joke, even if no one else gets it!
She grew up in Hong Kong and described the city she grew up in as being “very convenient, brightly lit, and there was a very sumptuous pop culture offering”. The 90s Hong Kong signage and aesthetic is something she often goes back to for design reference, it’s nostalgic for her and gives her a sense of comfort.
When Tracy was 8 years old, she moved to Toronto, Canada where she later attended Toronto’s York University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
In 2011, she ventured to New York and joined Bloomberg Businessweek magazine’s art department in New York where she worked her way up to deputy creative director. Here she worked on graphic designs focusing on current issues and reworking them through funky ways to appeal to the eye. One of her more popular pieces being “Bitcoin Dreams” where she took an interesting spin on Bitcoin and paired it with a unicorn. Then, in 2016, she decided to leave Businessweek with an interest in expanding her experiences. She moved onto a job at Matter as their creative director and then in 2018 she joined The New York Times. She stands out in her workforce because of her pride and attitude towards job roles. “She sees value in collaboration, getting the best voices involved and heard, and working towards the goal of designing what hasn’t been done before. As a result, she is considered brave, but in being brave, she’s also now considered a rule breaker” (Source). She is always excited to learn and build on her learnings; she even taught herself motion graphics and how to code, which both help to make her design visions come to life.
Tracy Ma’s designs are like no other, her designs are bold, playful, unique all with a touch of lightheartedness to make people laugh. She can take something boring and turn it into art that is eye popping and engaging. She uses her surroundings for resources and inspiration to create something special. To add some extra fun and joy to her art, she uses hidden “Easter eggs” in a lot of her pieces. Tracy Ma continues to push editorial boundaries. Check out some more of her work below!