Maki Nakagawa


Maki grew up in a lot of different places—his family moved between 5 cities in 3 countries when he was a kid. As a teenager, he took solo backpacking trips through Japan, Thailand, and Mexico. These experiences matured into his reverence and curiosity for the cultures and stories we all carry every day.

Maki's passion for social impact started in the Philippines working with families and youth living in poverty. From a young age, their stories provoked Maki to ponder about his place in the world and the difference he wanted to make.

At Civilla, Maki dives deep into understanding the experiences of families and staff in the Michigan child welfare system, while sowing seeds of imagination for how the future of child welfare could be. In his previous role at the H-E-B grocery chain, Maki informed design decisions for multiple teams by juggling fast paced research projects.

Maki studied at the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a bachelor's degree in human ecology and a certificate in design strategies.

Outside of the design studio, Maki’s a street, portrait, and lifestyle photographer focused on capturing human connection and cultural intricacies. His favorite photo is of his grandparents in Japan at their usual spot—brunch.