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Joseph Michael Essex is a critical thinker who hates the “s” that
many people put at the end of the word “communication.” He believes
communication is a singular process governed by how human beings accept,
store and access information. While the methods for delivering
information are varied, the function of preparing, packaging and
presenting a message is fundamentally the same. This propensity of his
to examine and test the most basic of assumptions forms the core of his
evaluative and creative process. That process is guided by the following
questions: What do you want to have happen, to whom do you want it to
happen, and what results do you expect? Since graduating from Virginia
Commonwealth University in 1970, Essex has asked questions that provide
meanings, reasons and guidance as well as answers.
Before co-founding Essex Two, in 1989, with his partner, Nancy Denney
Essex, he was senior vice president, director of design for
Burson-Marsteller World Wide and director of visual communication
planning for the 17 offices in the Americas. He has received hundreds of
awards, from major communication publications and organizations in the
United States, Europe and Asia, including medals from the New York Art
Essex became a member of AIGA in 1972, and in 1985 he was part of a
small group that formed the Chicago chapter. He has been on the chapter
board in one capacity or another since that time. In 1998 AIGA Chicago
presented him with its Above and Beyond Award for his extraordinary
service to his profession and the organization.
His fine art and commercial posters are in museum collections
throughout the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York
City. He has lectured extensively to student and professional groups on
the business of communication and his own design process.
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