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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
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.
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Section: Why Design -
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