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Aaron Selmon: Design Is Professional

Aaron Selmon headshot

Aaron Selmon

Founder, CEO Creative Director, Illustrator, Photographer
Aceism Creative Illustrations & Designs, Inc.
Darien, IL

Guild member since 2001

What traits do you think a professional in the graphic art industry must have and why?

There are several traits any professional in the graphic art industry should align with and I’ve shared the following below:

  • Creativity – being organic and innovative while problem solving to convey a message.
  • Uniqueness – being different with your style and strategy through idea conception and product development.
  • Integrity – strong moral principles and core values must be followed and implemented through your business endeavors.
  • Loyalty – good quality that extends through your skills to your employer, organizations you belong to, your community, and your devotion to your craft.
  • Authenticity – here is a virtuous attribute that allows you to be your real and true self without judgement(s) and/or bias(es).
  • Perseverance – must have determination to meet project goals even through adversity, anticipated problems or uncomfortable complexities to prevent you from reaching your goals/deadline or outcome.
  • Self-disciplined – must accept humility, in spite of fear, through discomfort, or pain. Be grateful, confident, rather than expecting you deserve more. Raise the bar as you strive, achieve and excel to your goals while keeping your commitments and/or principles aligned.

What is ethics in graphic arts? Do you think ethical responsibilities fall on the  shoulders of the artist, the client/company stakeholder or both? 

Design ethics come in a plethora of forms, from how the artist/designer chooses projects, to how you work with clients (keeping your bias(es) and/or implicit bias(es) aside), to licensing/copyrights/legation protection. These written and unwritten code of ethics assist with defining the way graphic design/art professionals interact, communicate and implement business practices. Design/art professionals should always seek professional development to improve their knowledge and skill base to professionally consult on services rendered to the client(s). Design/art professionals should implement inclusion and fair rights to all humans in their professional efforts in the industry. Ethics in the graphic arts community/industry helps to keep honesty, transparency and candid business practices throughout the industry. The design community should always implement ethics in every business deal/project to keep integrity and character at a high level while reaching for the goal of promising business relationships in their communities, nationwide or international.

Ethical responsibilities should fall on both the artist/designer and the client/company stakeholder. Candid conversations will help your creditability with your client, while in return making them accountable for their requested needs if everything is communicated efficiently. Ethics will assist with what clients you want to commission, while giving the client transparency on if they want to move forward with your business.

Have you ever used your work as a tool for advocacy or to bring awareness to a specific topic negatively impacting society? 

Yes, I have several projects under my belt where I advocated for a cause as well as brought awareness to a specific topic negatively impacting society.

  • In 2016-2017, I partnered with the Chicago Public Schools to assist with fundraising assistance programs/club programs that were cut. I started Aceism Spirit Wear Fundraising, creating customization and uniqueness through apparel sales. I sponsored every design, screen charges and digitizing for embroidery for every order. I also sponsored all marketing tools for each fundraiser to assist with sales, as well as provide a piece of mind that there was no risk to the CPS school or program.
  • Bike Doctors of Hazel Crest is one of my long-time clients! I have sponsored their “Pedal for Prostate” bicycle charity event since 2015. This May of 2020, will be their sixth annual charity event where I will have sponsored all designs for shirts and marketing collateral: digital flyers/ printed flyers/ banners/ table throws/retractable banners.
  • In 2019, I partnered with Candid Conversations for a brand rejuvenation of their logo. This is a company to advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) work among clients. The company brings well over 20 years of deep experience in the DEI Space. I sponsored their brand rejuvenation, promotional and marketing collateral.

Aaron Selmon is a Chicago-based artist, design strategist, and photographer who specializes in brand ideation/rejuvenation, marketing and graphic design with an inclusive artistic lens for a diverse clientele.

Headshot © Polite In Public. All other images © Aceism C.I.D., Inc. Used with permission.