This is an exercise to look at the things you’re good at, what you want to learn, and what you love to do at work.

If you want to skip the explanation of how this came to be and go straight to how to use it, go ahead.

Why I Needed a Map

I came into this career sideways — from a music degree, through journalism, and on to web. …

Photo credit: Top left — DeSoto Records/Jawbox, top middle — Erica Bruce, bottom middle — Katherine Davis, bottom left — DeSoto Records/Jawbox, right — Threespot/Chris Montwill

Bill Barbot is one of the founders of the creative agency Threespot, a firm that says on their website that their mission is to “use our time and talents to make a difference. All day, every day.” Before Threespot, Barbot played guitar and sang in bands in the DC punk scene.

On September 14, he’ll be joining Roman Mars, host of 99% Invisible, in an event called The Punk Rock Type. He took the time to sit down and answer questions about punk, aspects of the lifestyle, and the creative forces that should drive our own lives.

AIGA: So, let’s…

Alisha Ramos is the founder and CEO of “Girls’ Night In,” a brand focused on women and self-care. Since its launch as an email newsletter in January 2017, it has grown into a larger platform for online and in-person events that promote community and growth.

As someone who recently made the transition to company founder, Alisha seemed like the perfect person to moderate an AIGA DC panel of women entrepreneurs. “Founding Mothers: A Conversation with Female Founders” will be held at WeWork Dupont Circle on March 21.

Alisha talked with AIGA DC about her road to starting and running a…

Entering work for a design award may seem like a daunting task. But there are good reasons to make the leap — for affirmation, motivation and even new business.

With the deadline for designers to enter AIGA 50 just around the corner, we’re sharing thoughts from some past winners on the importance of design competitions.

What is the value of recognition in the community?

Antonio Alcalá, Designer, Studio A: Recognition by your peers is valuable as affirmation of your choices in work and design. It can lead to new opportunities like judging competitions, speaking engagements, guest lecturing in art programs, etc. Awards can lend credibility to your work and…

Mike Monteiro has built a reputation as a powerful public speaker and a force for ethics in design practice. In advance of his talk for DC Design Week on How to Fight Fascism he talked with me about DC, being in the room, getting fired, and fucking up.

AIGA DC: How many times have you given this talk? Has it changed?

Monteiro: At least a dozen. It changes every time I give it. It gets updated or I add a little bit of local flavor.

AIGA DC: So given that you’re going to be in DC, what do you think…

Emory Douglas

During the 1960s and 70s, Emory Douglas was Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party and the creative force behind The Black Panther newspaper. Douglas talked with AIGA DC in advance of his DC Design Week event at Bowie State University to share his ideas of how to marry activism and design.

AIGA DC: You were an integral part of the Black Panthers. Do you think you need to be deeply ingrained in a community like that to do art around it?

Douglas: I think artists can reflect things in their work whether or not you are directly involved…

The buzz around Taylor Swift’s new “Look What You Made Me Do” can go in plenty of directions. Is it about Kim and Kanye? What does Katy Perry think? Has Swift shed her “good girl” reputation? Who is she talking to on the phone?

But let’s take a minute to focus on what’s really important (at least to designers) — that clearly, the inspiration for Swift’s lyric video is the legendary Saul Bass.

Although Bass is known for iconic logos — think Kleenex, AT&T, United Way — what you probably recognize more is his work with movies.

Bass broke…

Jeffrey Everett, the designer behind Rockets Are Red and El Jefe Design, is putting together a poster retrospective at The Gallery at Lost Origin Productions. “Facing the Music: Thirteen Years of Concert Posters” officially opens Aug. 15, but Everett will give an exclusive talk for AIGA DC on Aug. 14 (register here). Everett took some time to talk with us about his work, designing for bands, and why he calls D.C. home.

Full disclosure: We spent the first ten minutes nerding out about setting our favorite songs as our ringtones, then letting our phones ring so we can hear them…

Designing for the federal government has its challenges. It is also one of the most important places for good design to happen.

Photo by Carol M. Highsmith / Library of Congress

When I joined the federal government five years ago, I didn’t think I’d survive the first six months. After years of working for tiny startups and small arts organizations, the sheer size of what I was approaching terrified me. Some of how I did my job wasn’t just about company policy, it was literally the law. And there was the sense that the “way of doing things” was not so much set in stone as etched in diamond.

One of the things that made it easier for me was finding AIGA DC, and specifically DotGovDesign, a group of designers involved…

Claire Marie Blaustein

Content and experience design // President, @aigadc // I put the claire in clarity. //

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