In 1996, Shelly Langton attended an international design conference where she frequently heard the comment, “Oh, you’re the American.” Being the only participant from the United States was not a distinction she embraced. Langton, an AIGA member since 1993 and an AIGA Seattle board member at the time, decided to research and write a paper supporting AIGA’s membership in Icograda, the International Council of Graphic Design Associations, which she believed to be a key step in the process of involving more American designers in the international design community. That paper, which she presented to the AIGA board of directors, and her subsequent efforts to promote cross-cultural awareness have been instrumental in paving the way for a more globally engaged AIGA.
Langton, who is the graphics manager for KPFF Consulting Engineers, became involved with the World Affairs Council and organized an international conference co-sponsored by AIGA Seattle and Vancouver’s Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC). It was at that 2002 design conference, held in Vancouver, that the AIGA Center for Cross-cultural Design (AIGA XCD) began to take form. Langton and several other American designers met to discuss their shared interest in connecting with the global design community. The result was a decision to work together to create an AIGA community of interest to foster greater communication between designers across cultures.
In May 2005, after changes in policies and circumstances, Icograda welcomed AIGA as its 91st professional association. Langton and the AIGA XCD team aspired to host an Icograda design conference in the United States. Though it once seemed far out of reach, Seattle hosted Icograda Design Week in July 2008. The time and effort contributed by Langton, as one of the key organizers of this remarkable event, were instrumental in its tremendous success.
AIGA Seattle recognized Langton’s tenacity, vision, intelligence and commitment by naming her a 2007 Fellow.