Rachel Madsen is an architectural designer, a brand and design strategist and a graphic designer. She understands design as a visual solution to a problem, whether within the small and static scale of a logo, the interactive scale of a website, or the large, three-dimensional scale of an interior space or building. Rachel asserts that design is more than what you see in front of you - it is an idea, a voice, a feeling and a message - and it is this perspective on design and its connection to so many things, that has allowed Rachel an extremely diverse career thus far. Her ability to think both analytically and creatively gives her the unique opportunity to work through a design/branding project from initial analysis and strategy, to design conception, to design completion.
Having worked as a brand consultant and environmental designer for such clients as Domino's, Haagen Dazs, Dreyer's, Starbucks and Ben & Jerry's, Rachel has helped large commercial clients access new visual identities, which she then translated into cohesive graphics and environments. Rachel's team worked together to ensure that the logo, the packaging, the advertising, the website, the uniforms and the retail space, among other things, were singing to the same tune. Once a prototype store was built and proven successful, the design would roll out to thousands of locations around the world. While traveling, she regularly finds herself bumping into an iteration of her design, in contexts from Frankfurt, to Doha, to Bangkok to London.
HEALTHCARE ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN
While with SmithGroup, a leading architecture and engineering firm, Rachel worked on a number of high-profile hospital projects including Sutter Health's California Pacific Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, and the Veterans Association.
Rachel played a key role in the brand metamorphosis of Sutter Health's California Pacific Medical Center via their new hospital campus in downtown San Francisco. Through research and analysis into new trends and technologies, science-based exploration into healing and wellness, and by incorporating a human-centered approach to observation and design, Rachel helped to generate a new hospital identity that was based on wellness, an informed departure from the previous sickness-based model. She translated these ideas into the visual scope by creating designs that stemmed from the brand-focused concept, from space plans, to architecture, to material and lighting specifications.
Rachel is a LEED Accredited Professional and has worked on numerous architectural projects where sustainability was a prime concern. She understands green building practices from the inside out and is extremely committed to not only minimizing a building's environmental footprint, but also to creating built environments that are integrated, adaptive and reciprocal to the natural environment. Prior to pursuing architecture, Rachel worked for a permaculture firm in Santa Fe, NM, where she learned the importance of sustainability and how designers have the responsibility and power to help conserve our natural resources, considerably reduce pollution and waste, and create a healthy, sustainable environment that not only ceases to take from the natural environment, but has the capacity to nurture it. This initial exposure to the world of green design was incredibly impactful and inspired Rachel's decision to pursue architecture and design.
After gaining the invaluable experience of working with large firms and clients, Rachel left San Francisco to travel around the world, volunteering, living and working in South America, Southeast Asia and Southern Africa. She worked alongside locals to build schools and homes in poverty-stricken regions. She helped small businesses in developing countries to brand and market themselves, benefiting them and the community at large. She developed logos, graphics and marketing materials for dive shops in Thailand and Mozambique and for travel agents in South Africa. While living in rural Mozambique she helped conceptualize, design and build a shop for a local family, complete with a hand (and foot)-painted sign.
Rachel is now working as a freelance designer in Los Angeles, CA. From creating a logo and website for a yoga teacher and social worker in Vermont, to working with an entrepreneur to design a theater in a historic landmark building in San Francisco, she is pursuing design on all levels.
Rachel studied architectural design at San Francisco's California College of the Arts, one of the world's leading design schools, renowned for its commitment to sustainability. Previous to this degree, she studied art history and fine arts in Santa Fe, NM, a background that enriches her design approach and sensitivity.
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