Designers gather in Alabama to address community challenges

Today, a group of more than 50 dedicated creative professionals is gathering in Birmingham at the AIGA Alabama Design Summit to learn, solve and model how creativity can be harnessed to defeat the limitations facing social and economic development in rural Alabama.

The Summit is an invitational event where attendees use design thinking to develop innovative contributions toward solving social and environmental issues that affect people’s everyday lives. Over three days, teams of participants will share ideas and experiences as they focus on four specific initiatives, then document best practices about how the design profession can influence and lead a social change agenda through active community involvement.

AIGA, as the professional association for design, is deeply committed to the Birmingham gathering, its experiences and its outcomes. The aim is to facilitate the kind of creative interaction among many types of professionals, all with a shared interest in solving a problem, that can be so successful in finding new solutions to stubborn problems that bear directly on the human experience. We want to help by convening the right people from many disciplines; channeling their interaction through a thoughtful process toward purposeful ends; and serving as a catalyst for real action.

Our interest is to serve the needs of real people, while empowering all involved. And in this case, to document a process that we can encourage to be used in communities around the country. We expect this to be an extraordinary several days—enriching for those who have offered to help; enabling for those who have shared problems seeking solutions; and enlightening in how we can learn from these days to inform others in communities where AIGA has chapters that could lead additional local change.

Follow the Summit over the weekend on Twitter and on Flickr.


The July 21–24 event in Alabama includes design leaders from more than 20 local AIGA chapter boards, businesses, and social institutions:

Renna Al Yassini
Interaction designer, Cooper

Matt Allison
Principal, Matthew Allison Graphic Design

Marshall Anderson, AIA
Design Initiative

Jessi Arrington
Founder and owner, WORKSHOP

Doug Barrett
Assistant Professor, Graphic Design, University of Alabama at Birmingham

David Blumberg
Designer and Associate Creative Director, Slaughter Group

Roy Burns
Design Director, Lewis Communications

Charlie Cannon
Associate Professor, Industrial Design, Rhode Island School of Design
Director, Research and Design, LOCAL Architecture Research Design

Amy Chapman
Project manager, AIGA

Robert Clouse
Director of the Office of Archaeological Research, University of Alabama

Dwight Cooley
Project Leader, Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Steve Cox
Co-founder and executive director, International Expeditions

Richard Dendy
Faculty member, Samford University

Anthony Dihle
Senior Designer and Associate, MV+A Architects

Robert Dodd
Recent BFA Graduate, Industrial Design, Rhode Island School of Design

Mark Dudlik
Director, Lost Creature

Susie Fagg
Intern, Auburn University Urban Studio

Jared Fulton
Architectural Designer, Slaughter Group

Brian Ghiloni
Senior designer and partner, Locust Grove Studios

Jillfrances Gray
Managing Principal, JFG

Tim Hamilton
Director of Sales and Marketing, American Printing Co.

Philip Hawthorne
COO, Executive Consulting Services

Sally Hermanto
Associate director, reDesign

James Hersick
President and creative director, RocketFuel Design Company

Wendy Jackson
Executive director, Freshwater Land Trust

Paul Johnson
Program supervisor, Alabama Aquatic Biodiversity Center

Ryan Jones
Principal, Seedbomb Creative

Jeremy Kaye
Co-Founder, Co*Lab

Carol Kerr
Designer and faculty member, UWM and MIAD

Bruce Lanier
Principal Architect, Standard Creative, LLC

Matt Leavell
Project manager, AL Innovation Engine

Min Lee
Assistant professor and director of Graphic Design, University of Montevallo

Lea Ann Macknally
President, Macknally Land Design

Rachel Martin
Principal, Rachel Martin Design

Weston McWhorter
Designer and interactive strategist

Nisa Miranda
Director, University Center for Economic Development

Dan Monroe
Part owner and chief wordsmith, Cayenne Creative Group

Cheryl Morgan
Director, Urban Studio; Professor of Architecture, Auburn University

Gwen O’Brien
Co-principal and creative director, Plenty

Doug Powell
Co-founder, Schwartz Powell Design and HealthSimple

Zev Powell
Sophomore, College of Arts & Sciences, Washington University St. Louis

Stacy Reinhardt
Senior Interaction Designer, frog

Karen Rolen
Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham

Vincent Scatliffe
Founder and Creative Director, Contnuous Lne and SXC

Sheri Schumacher
Associate Professor, Architecture, Auburn University

Sam Shelton
Principal, KINETIK

Sarah Tripp Stephan
Senior Vice President, Pyramid Communications

Beth Stewart
Executive Director, Cahaba River Society

Bill Taylor
President, Economic Development Partnership of Alabama

Tracy West
Creative Director, 50,000feet

Roy Wilhelm
Web designer, National Geographic

Ken Zinser
BFA Student, Graphic Design, Corcoran College of Art + Design