Member Spotlight: Laurie Churchman

Laurie a designer and educator. Her areas of expertise include: branding, publications, systems design, information design, typography, and civic engagement. She is an Adjunct Professor of Graphic Design at MICA and Philadelphia University. She has also taught at Izmir University of Economics, Izmir, Turkey, University of Pennsylvania, and NC State University. In 2009, she received the AIGA Fellow Award, the highest honor a chapter can bestow on a member. She is a past board member of AIGA National, World Studio Foundation, AIGA/NY, and AIGA/Raleigh. She holds a BS from the University of Delaware, an MFA from Yale University and a certificate from AIGA/Harvard Business School Design Leaders program.

Tell us a little about yourself. What is your current job?
I’ve lived in Philly on and off since 2002. I’m a huge fan of the city and embrace its richness and grit everyday. Having said that, I’m also an avid traveler perpetually dreaming up the next adventure. For inspiration I lap swim and teach design.

I have a solo design firm, Designlore, an umbrella under which I make work, write about design and teach design. Designing books is probably my oldest and greatest love. I work as a consultant conducting Design Thinking seminars at Johns Hopkins and with private clients. In this role I guide people towards solving significant problems in innovative ways. I’m also an adjunct prof at Philadelphia University and MICA.

How long have you been in the field?
Starting with my first book “The Birthday Party” in kindergarten, pretty much my whole life. I still have the book. It was written in a 1960’s symbol writing system called ITA that never gained traction. Good news for all students who came after.

Why design? What inspires you to do the work you do?
One of the best aspects of being a designer is learning something new from each project and client. Also best is the collaborative process of working with people whether a single artist or an entire community. And tied for best, is being able to impact change at many levels. I’m grateful that my life and work feel seamless most of the time.

How long have you been an AIGA member?
I joined while in college, some 30 years ago! Upon graduation I moved to New York and began volunteering at AIGA events. I worked the bar table which meant that I got to pour wine for my design heroes—and drink for free.

Why did you join AIGA?
I wanted to soak it all up, meet people and learn. As a student I could feel the energy at AIGA events and was eager to be part of it. I still feel the same.

How have you benefited from your AIGA membership?
In ways too numerous to mention, truly, I’m an AIGA junkie. Following my wine pouring days I’ve participated in AIGA as a board member (chapter and national), as the chair of the national Design Educators Committee, and as a member of various chapter committees (NY, NC and Philly). I was absolutely honored to be named a Fellow in 2009.

I’ve been inspired by so many people and made wonderful lifelong friendships. I’ve grown professionally and danced with abandon at conferences. I’ve mentor young designers and actually worn a fairy costume for a chapter retreat. And, a few weeks ago I attended the annual Gala at which I hugged AIGA friends from across the country and admired the achievements of the Medalists and our profession as a whole. We’ve come a long way, baby!

What do you enjoy most about the Philadelphia Chapter of AIGA?
Like Philly itself, the chapter is neighborhoody in its feel; it’s fun and active. I appreciate the breadth and quality of events along with the dedication of the board and volunteers. Thanks for having me!

By aigaphiladelphia
Published May 4, 2016
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