Designing a Better Future for Seattle
We are a community of creative pioneers, harnessing the power of design to build a better future. We constantly explore and leverage the physical and digital landscapes, by engaging people through design-related programming.
We are designers, strategists, writers, developers, students, educators, directors and volunteers. We call the Pacific Northwest Home. We are AIGA Seattle.
Our National Organization:
AIGA advances design as a professional craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force. As the largest community of design advocates, we bring together practitioners, enthusiasts and patrons to amplify the voice of design and create the vision for a collective future. We define global standards and ethical practices, guide design education, inspire designers and the public, enhance professional development, and make powerful tools and resources accessible to all.
Founded in 1914 as the American Institute of Graphic Arts, AIGA remains the oldest and largest professional membership organization for design and is now known simply as “AIGA, the professional association for design.”
National Initiatives with Local Movement
Design for Good / Learn More
Design for Good is an initiative to build and sustain the implementation of design thinking for social change. The initiative recognizes the wide range of designers’ work and leadership in social change which benefits the world, our country, and our communities. AIGA Seattle has a long history (20+ years) with cause-related projects going as far back as the founding of Art with Heart, and AIGA Link, to the more recent establishment of the Changemaker Series.
Women Lead / Learn More
Women today outnumber men in AIGA’s membership—as in design schools and disciplines—yet leadership, representation, and parity remain a challenge. The Women Lead Initiative is committed to empowering women in design and advancing the vital discourse on issues facing professional women today without generalizing or segregating women designers. Instead, we aim to address persistent biases and inequities inclusively and constructively. AIGA Seattle has organized several popular Women Lead roundtables, panel discussions, and lectures, including a five-event extravaganza this year for Women’s History Month.
Design for Democracy / Learn More
Established in 1998, AIGA Design for Democracy applies design tools and thinking to increase civic participation. Independent, pragmatic, and committed to the public good, Design for Democracy collaborates with researchers, designers, and policy-makers in service of public sector clients and AIGA’s goal of “demonstrating the value of design by doing valuable things.” Design for Democracy made its debut in Seattle last year with three events, including a Get Out the Vote drive.
Diversity & Inclusion / Learn More
There are vast opportunities to support a more diverse audience of design students, practitioners, managers, thinkers, enthusiasts, clients, consumers, and policy makers. Recent passionate conversations among AIGA members have catalyzed the Diversity & Inclusion Initiative to augment ongoing AIGA programs with new ideas and resources that take a comprehensive approach, considering race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability and disability, age, and other factors that shape creative perspective and professional experience.
In-House INitiative / Learn More
As one of the biggest member groups of AIGA, in-house creatives deserve some special attention. In-house INitiative is a joint partnership between AIGA and The Creative Group. This program provides knowledge and tools to help in-house designers make a greater impact at their companies, evolve professionally and connect with a broader network of peers. In-house INitiative delivers inspiration, advice and insights from leaders of the in-house sector via online channels and in-person events.
Our Local Leadership
A robust design community led by a volunteer group of directors, chairs, committees, advisors, & volunteers
Our Board of Directors is an all volunteer team voted in by the chapter membership. These hard-working leaders manage the chapter’s business affairs, set the goals and vision for the upcoming year, and lead an even larger team of Chairs and Committees who all work together to build a better design community.
Brendan creates under the name Lost In Print. As an Art Director for 10+ years in Chicago he served on the AIGA Chicago board for nearly 4 years. Today he’s photographing commercial portraiture and lots of live music in addition to working on a variety of branding, print and UX design projects. Brendan is an Eagle Scout, a wannabe sommelier and he’s looking for the next story to tell.
John’s been a part of Seattle’s creative community for over 16 years, winding his way up from an entry-level admin role to Chief Operations Officer at Methodologie, and most recently was Director of Operations at Digital Kitchen. He savors being surrounded by stupendous strategic design and does what he can to help it thrive. Cultural artifacts bring him joy, especially vintage pinball machines and mid-century vinyl record cover art.
Jenna currently designs digital products at Mentor Creative Group. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, she has a self-defined degree called Arts, Communications, and Cultural Studies. She’s passionate about improving people’s lives with design.
Kris Olmon is really just a unicorn in disguise. While incognito in Phoenix, he spent his days doing publication design & brand communication. There he began his 10+ years with AIGA and was a founding member of Phoenix Design Week. The heat was on to him so he fled to Seattle. Now he’s hiding in plain sight at a Fortune 500 company as an Instructional Designer & Project Analyst. Although the job is satisfying and life is good, he occasionally dreams of running wild & free.
Bio coming soon!
Vice President of Client Services at Oracle. In 2013 Wacarra was honored as one of the top 40 Under 40 in Direct Marketing by Direct Marketing News. She actively volunteers at Girls on the Run International and at YearUp, in addition to serving on the Executive Board of AIGA Seattle.
Adam Merkl has worked with Seattle’s creative community for 15+ years. Energized by fresh perspectives, he currently is an independent consultant for Brand Strategy, Business Development and more. Previously, as co-founder of Hilliard’s Beer, Adam developed unique partnerships with Jameson Irish Whiskey, ClearChannel /iHeartMedia, and more. Adam thoroughly enjoys select puns, 80s cars and events likely to have a photo booth.
Ken is passionate about turning complex systems into simple workflows that empower people to get things done. As a designer at Gravity Creative, he works with clients large and small to build and extend their brand across platforms and mediums. He’s been an active member of AIGA since 2009, previously with the Washington, DC, chapter.
Gina is a brand alchemist who melds the elements of a brand into a vision of clarity. She is the Creative Director and founder of Pontaray, a branding consultancy with expertise in omni-channel retail and nonprofit communications. Her favorite opportunities leverage her experience at Coach, Eddie Bauer, etc., to aid nonprofit organizations amplify their mission. Gina lives on Portage Bay with her husband, son and mini-poodle.
Jessica is a 19-year veteran of the architecture/engineering/design world, and a long time administrative project manager and event planner. Having years of experience juggling high priority projects, assignments and details has enabled her to be successful without losing sight of the big picture. Her energy, versatility and “get it done” approach allow her to manage projects of all size with success.
Special Events Directorspecialevents@seattle.aiga.org
An East-Coaster with a personality as fiery as the ginger hair on her head, Krista Serianni specializes in magazine and publication design. Krista strives to use her work to make a difference and is dedicated to creating for non-profit cancer organizations and other charitable individuals. In addition to loving good design, Krista is passionate about eating ice cream, adding to her extensive poster collection and petting every dog she sees.
Student Events Directoreducation@seattle.aiga.org
Whether creating a memorable brand experience, working through a creative evaluation, or giving an onsite presentation, James Holt is always thinking. He is passionate about visual communication of all kinds, designer art toys, Seahawks football, and dad jokes. James has worked in the Seattle area as a professional creative in a multitude of disciplines for the past 15 years viewing every project as an opportunity to make a difference.
Kirsten Kenning Kent
Women Lead Directorwomenlead@seattle.aiga.org
Heading into her second career, Kirsten is currently an Interior Design student at Seattle’s Art Institute. Kirsten is known for her listening in order to understand and generate. She is passionate about making a difference for others, whether it be their physical environment, discussing the tough topics, or teaching them about juicing. She also gets excited about cycling, yoga, hiking, and time with friends and family, especially her sons.
Design For Good Directordesignforgood@seattle.aiga.org
As a freelance designer, Ashley brings brands to life through print, product, and packaging. She is passionate about creating positive change in our world through design, loves organizing information, and is obsessed with books about cities. Originally from the Midwest, she has called Seattle home since the day she arrived.
Design For Good Directorchangemaker@seattle.aiga.org
A senior designer at the Hilt agency, Arnold distills brand clutter into simplicity and purity—uncovering compelling stories, one pixel at a time. He believes every designer should feel empowered to use his or her passions to help create positive social change in the world. He’s spent the past six years working with nonprofit organizations, including a year volunteering with Americorps VISTA. Originally from the South, Arnold is obsessed with tiny things and Riverdance.
In-House INitiative Director
Nominate you or someone you know for this position!
Daire is a freelance UX/Visual designer and a Digital Marketing Specialist. When she’s not in digital mode you can find her traveling the world. She may be coming soon to a city near you.
Rachael’s passion for technology has kept her busy over the years. Working as a project manager for healthcare startups and a major social media company, she enjoys being surrounded by the creative energy from working with design and product teams. This very energy has inspired her to pursue her own design adventures. The first brought her to Seattle, and her second to AIGA, shortly thereafter.
Originally from Brazil, Thabby recalls when she decided she wanted to be a creative professional—at 8 years old she would cut up magazines and recreate their layouts. While living in Brazil she earned a degree in Architecture and Urbanism. Since then her life has been an adventure—from Brazil to Russia to Italy and finally the U.S., where she acquired a degree in Graphic Design at Boise State University.
Bio coming soon.
Lainie joined AIGA Seattle in January 2016. Laine’s comes from an Accounting and Education background. She is passionate about tennis and loves a good bottle of wine. She lives in Bellevue with her husband and son.
Having been around for almost 30 years now, our chapter has amassed an impressive amount of initiatives that aim to build a better community. From Art with Heart, to AIGA Link, to our biennial design and technology conferences Into the Woods and Hive, many of our chapter initiatives are kept alive and strong by a dedicated group of Chairs.
Diversity & Inclusion Chairdiversity@seattle.aiga.org
Design For Democracy Chairdesignfordemocracy@seattle.aiga.org
Media Relations Chairmedia@seattle.aiga.org
Claudia de Almeida
Made up of prominent members of the Seattle design community, our Advisory Board offers guidance, advice and a fresh perspective on how the chapter and community are doing. Lead by the Advisory Board Chair, this team regularly meets with the Chapter leadership and occasionally rolls up their sleeves to help bring new initiatives to life.
Jeremy Wheat Design Studio
Quesinberry and Associates
Seattle Pacific University
Elmer dela Cruz
University of Washington
The Fellow award program is a means of recognizing designers who have made a significant contribution to raising the standards of excellence in practice and conduct within their local or regional design community as well as in their local AIGA chapter. The areas of education, writing, leadership and reputation, as well as the practice of design are given equal consideration in measuring significant contribution. These are our AIGA Seattle Fellows.
2016 AIGA Seattle FellowLearn more
2016 AIGA Seattle FellowLearn more
2014 AIGA Seattle FellowLearn more
2012 AIGA Seattle FellowLearn more
2010 AIGA Seattle FellowLearn more
2009 AIGA Seattle FellowLearn more
2008 AIGA Seattle FellowLearn more
2007 AIGA Seattle FellowLearn more
2007 AIGA Seattle FellowLearn more
2002 AIGA Seattle FellowLearn more
2000 AIGA Seattle FellowLearn more
1999 AIGA Seattle FellowLearn more
The Chapter President is voted in by the Board of Directors to lead the chapter toward successfully executing their collective vision. Each of these leaders have made their mark on this great design community and continue to do so long after their term.
Brooke Mackay Castro
Tan Le & Laura Zeck
As a membership-based organization, we owe a lot to every individual who makes the commitment to becoming a member. You are how we keep AIGA thriving, even after 100 years, and although we can’t list all 700+ members of AIGA Seattle, we would like to at least give a shout out to those who have signed up at the Leader & Trustee levels. Thank you for your above-and-beyond support.