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Sue Jenkins: Suspended in Transition IDD 2022

The theme of the International Council of Design’s International Design Day 2022 is “Suspended in Transition” – the odd place we find ourselves, caught between crises and the hope for a new normal.

We asked Graphic Artist Guild Members what role designers and illustrators play in effecting change for a better world, and how they, as a working professionals, are meeting the challenges of this new world.

“If we can remember to put the goals of the greater good for future generations in the forefront of all that we do, we can inspire and influence change through creating clear, engaging visual communication.”
logo for International Design Day 2022
photo montage of Sue Jenkins with green background obscuring her face

Sue Jenkins

Designer
Luckychair.com
Associate Prof of Art
Marywood University
LinkedIn Learning Course Instructor
Scranton, PA

How have you adjusted to the large-scale changes in how we work and interact with our clients and our communities?

How I work and interact with my clients hasn’t changed much honestly, as I’ve been using phone, email, and video almost exclusively for years prior to the pandemic. What did change was how I connected with my community. It’s deeper now, more present. We’re talking more, sharing more. Connecting with clients, friends, and family through phone, email, social media, and video chatting has made some of Covid-time engaging, enriching, and dare I say enjoyable. Along the way, I’ve been creating prolifically while being equally inspired by the remarkable creativity of other designers, illustrators, and artists who used the pandemic’s limitations as constraints to birth new and wonderfully fresh and unexpected things into the world. There is hope in that.

Has your perception of the role you play as a designer or illustrator changed in response to the various crises we’ve been experiencing? Has it affected how you work, what projects you want to work on, or how you want to engage?

Living through shared historical experiences like the Black Lives Matter movement and global Covid pandemic has given me the opportunity to grow creatively in exciting and transformative ways. As a designer and artist, I’ve been thrilled to generate new digital collage and photography as well as physical collage and mixed media. As a Design Professor I’ve learned so many new cool digital collaboration tools I’ve lost count, lol. Listening is probably more important than ever before, on the human level beyond any work relationships. I am choosing my interactions more intentionally now and finding unexpected joy there. Seems like what folks want most these days are relationships that feel secure and nurturing, despite whatever else is happening in the world. Providing that trusting space for my students and design clients is an honor and joy.

How do you believe designers and illustrators are positioned to help imagine and create a better future?

That is such a fantastic question! Thank you for asking. Have we seen that Stanford d.school Design Thinking diagram lately or heard about IDEO’s human centered design kit?  The answer is baked right into our design process which cycles through inspiration, ideation, and implementation. If we can remember to put the goals of the greater good for future generations in the forefront of all that we do, we can inspire and influence change through creating clear, engaging visual communication. Collaboration will also be key to creating a better future. I recently participated in a nature-themed art exchange through ShoeboxArts with LA photographer Nancy Kaye @nancykayephotography and I can say with 100% certainty that this experience of creating in direct response to another artist’s work was truly inspiring. I’m sharing some of those digital designs here, one of which was used as the cover shot on the ShoeboxArts Online Art Exhibition page. Wahoo!

All image © Sue Jenkins. used with permission.



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