Merle Fisher’s Brand: Artistic Ambition & a Long-Standing Creative Process

Written by Meg Seitz · Photography by Julia Fay

Merle Fisher was 16 years old when he discovered the career he does today.

“I remember going to the office of a friend who was much older than me, and I saw all these posters and albums and graphics she was designing,” he recalls. “And I remember thinking, ‘I can’t believe people get paid to do this.’ It was just so cool to me.” {Continued below}

The artistic ambition sparked that day had been there; arguably, his entire life, but most certainly since age nine when Fisher received a wood saw from his father. The boy started designing and making wooden toys with it. And – as he recalls with a laugh – so many wooden toys.

“Making those wooden toys when I was a kid was more about the creative process than anything else,” he says.

You can only imagine what it was like for that kid to find out as a teenager that the creative process could be a career. He ran with the idea not long after that when, at 19 years old, he took all the money he earned from a summer job and invested in two things: a used Mac off eBay and Adobe’s Creative Suite.

Merle knew only the saw and wooden toys had changed form – the process would be the same. Armed with his new tools, he was ready to hit the ground running.

He just needed the work.

“I can’t believe people get paid to do this. It was just so cool to me.”

In exchange for office space, Fisher started working as a secretary for his dad with a focus on designing small projects and creating collateral like business cards. The opportunity wasn’t as much about making money; it was about following industry leaders in graphic design via YouTube and blogs to learn the craft – and hone his own style.

From there, he started finding clients who needed graphic design for brochures or catalogs. It was enough work to keep him busy – and get him noticed by a local agency in his hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The agency offered Fisher a job in print design.

It was in that role at the agency – working with other designers and learning the more technical side of design – that Fisher discovered a new passion: the branding process.

It was a new creative adventure for the designer as well a whole new way to deliver valuable solutions to clients. He started to refine the process – then took an idea to the agency’s leadership.

“I went to them, and I said, ‘I’m doing this thing – this branding process – where I show clients other ideas and perspective, and then based on their feedback and goals, I design what they like and what they need,’” he remembers. “And they just said, ‘We’re just going to stick to our ways.’”

It was then that Fisher decided to go out on his own as Merle Fisher.

That was 4.5 years ago.

“Logos are my passion because people want their logos applied to things,” he says. “And I love the process of imagining where the logo will live and all the creative applications that are possible for it.”

Today, Fisher focuses on branding – which means designing brand and visual identities for clients.

What’s his favorite thing to design for those identities? Logos.

“Logos are my passion because people want their logos applied to things,” he says. “And I love the process of imagining where the logo will live and all the creative applications that are possible for it.”

Which, if anything, proves that Fisher is still that nine-year-old kid who is excited, adventurous, curious and thriving in his own creative process.

Meet the Author: Meg Seitz is the Founder and Managing Creative Partner of toth shop, an agency with one goal: Elevate your brand’s content through powerful writing, creativity, and strategy. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor with Queens University and Founding Partner of the children’s book series, “Bea is for Business”.

She’s an English major with an MBA, so she can talk Homer’s “The Odyssey” just as well as she can talk sunk costs – though she’d much prefer the former.

Meet the photographer: Julia Murray, owner of Julia Fay Photography, feels most at home behind a camera with a story to tell on the other side. Her business began during her sophomore year of college, while majoring in radio and tv broadcasting. Now residing in Charlotte NC, she primarily shoots weddings and other local small businesses like her own. Her favorite part about her job is the connection it brings between art and people.