Oliver Uberti

Case Study: 826michigan

Selections from my volunteer work for 826michigan




826 National is a network of creative writing and tutoring centers, each with a unique theme designed to inspire students and delight adults. I first got involved with 826 in Washington, DC, where I helped design the buildout of 826DC’s Museum of Unnatural History.

Upon moving to Michigan in 2012, I linked up with the local chapter and began creating posters, products, and books for them whenever I needed a reminder that design is FUN.




826NYC slings superhero supplies; 826 Valencia outfits the modern buccaneer. 826michigan services robots. One of my first projects for them was a set of enlistment posters for the coming robot revolution. In early 2017, programming director Amy Sumerton asked if I had ideas for a new set (above). The fine print highlights the Detroit Robot Factory's comprehensive, 826-step program to complete sentience for ALL bots.


Where do I even begin to talk about how easy it is to collaborate with Oliver? He’s the perfect mix of out-of-the-box creative and holy-cow-attention-to-detail meticulousness—a true unicorn.
— Amy Sumerton, 826michigan



Mind Openers, Emotion Upgrades, Robot FOOD*—just a few of the many products Amy and I dreamt up for 826michigan's pair of gift shops: the Detroit Robot Factory and Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair in Ann Arbor.

*not actually food




I'll never forget the excitement of seeing my first published book in a bookstore. 826 gives students the same feeling. 

In A Lantern of Fireflies, 826michigan paired student authors with professional illustrators, such as Jon Klassen, Dan Santat, and Erin Stead. I contributed an illustration, along with the cover design, these little reading fireflies, and a set of two-color endpapers that had my brain in logistical tangles.

Years ago, 826 National & McSweeney’s published Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country, letters to President Obama, and I Live Read Close to Where You Used to Live, letters to Michelle Obama. When it came time to assemble a collection of letters to our current president, I was eager to help. I hope you consider what they've written. Some are funny; many are wise. All are heartbreaking.