SHIFT: The Story Behind the Series


In the beginning, SHIFT began as an idea, like a lot of great things do! It sprung from multiple brainstorming sessions and conversations with students, emerging designers, professionals, and the Raleigh community. There was a consistent need and a yearning for a place to learn more about various topics, skill sets, and the ability to network with big players in the design community.

The real question was: How can we create regular programming that meets our community’s needs while boosting confidence amongst our newest designers?

Rich Griffis, previous Director of Student Programming, and I wanted something bigger and better for students and emerging designers; an additional program, tailored for them, where design could thrive. As emerging designers, we know it’s important to expose ourselves to creative opportunities: learning from professionals, networking with other creatives, and building upon our skill set. We set out to discover the best way to answer this question and began looking at our current programming, other AIGA chapters’ events, university schedules, and jotted down notes from conversations with students, emerging designers and the pros. We frequently held Google Hangout meetings to discuss the form this program would take on and built a small team of community catalysts who were also interested in creating what would soon be known as SHIFT. We knew immediately that it could take a lot of forms, but a series would be ideal to create consistency for this audience. At that point, we were in search of a series’ title: something catchy and short but directly related to their experience. After several meetings and emails, we enlisted the help of Jonathan Opp, previous AIGA Raleigh Co-President and Chief Poetics Officer and Partner at New Kind. Along with the support of Joe Schram, previous AIGA Raleigh Co-President and Principal/Founder of Sparktivity, Jonathan, Rich and I developed a few rounds of title ideas and decided in agreement on SHIFT.


View our Emerging Designer Series Naming concepts and descriptions. (Thank you, Jonathan and Joe!)

Soon after, we immediately began working with our team of community members to develop an identity and branding guidelines for the event series. In order to meet regularly, share concepts, and ideas, we scheduled Google Hangout meetings for several months, every two weeks, to discuss. Sophia Hitchcock, Chris Davis, Jim Kennedy, Rich Griffis, Christina Baker, Taylor Owens, Sean Paul-Adams, Kimberly Thomas and I were committed to bringing SHIFT to life visually. A few members contributed concepts while others steered toward providing support and constructive criticism along the way.

aigaraleigh-shift-slide3After hours of ideation, critique, understanding the visual needs of the event and agreeing upon a final design, Jim Kennedy’s concept was the winning logo. (Congratulations, Jim!)


In our excitement to move forward, our intention is to schedule a SHIFT session quarterly, focusing on local experts, presentations, and workshops that will bring value to our students and emerging designers. We’re in the process of planning out our sessions for the year and are always open to suggestions for presentations and workshops. One of our first recommendations was presenting on UX and demystifying the practice of the UX. So, we’re here to solve that problem and bring “Breaking into UX” with Heather Young, UX Community Manager for Vitamin T, to PointSource on February 17th. We will also be featuring a UX Design Panel with Heather Young and Point Source professionals: Stephanie Trunzo, John Romano, Jay Moore, Amanda Cardo, and Brian Hall. While the event is free, registration is required –  please join us as we launch SHIFT on February 17th.

Author of this post: 

Kristin Fowler

KristinFowler-SelfieKristin Fowler is a Graphic Designer at Liaison Design Group, Owner and Creative Director of KFowler Design, a graphic and web design studio, and Director of Design Ability with AIGA Raleigh. She is a 2011 graduate of Meredith College and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Design, cum laude. When she’s not solving design problems and searching for creative inspiration, she can be found reading (just about anything and everything), on the road traveling, spending time with family and friends or cuddling up next to her gray tabby cat, Otis.

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If you’d like to join us in our SHIFT efforts and planning, host a session or volunteer as a speaker, we’d love to hear from you. Email the Director of Design Ability, Kristin Fowler, for more information.