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Q&A with AIGA Indy’s Newest President
Q&A with AIGA Indy’s Newest President

Meet Melissa Martin. She’s Pivot’s most senior Art Director, and she also happens to be the newest president of AIGA Indianapolis in the year of the organization’s 100th anniversary. She enjoys craft beer, vinyasa yoga, and singing Fleetwood Mac songs at karaoke, and today, she took some time out of her busy schedule to tell us why the future of our fair city could rest in the hands of local designers.

For those of us who don’t know, could you explain what AIGA is and does?
We’re the local chapter of the national resource for the design community. AIGA is a way to connect with other designers and an opportunity for student designers to grow into seasoned professionals.

Why? Who needs professional designers, anyway?
There are so many things that you can communicate better through design. Design can be used to solve societal problems, and it’s part of AIGA’s goal to help people understand that when we’re talking about design, we’re not just talking about visuals and appearances. Design directly impacts the way people experience things, and by developing this craft as a strategic force, we can think and act critically to make those experiences better for society as a whole.

Ric Grefe, Executive Director of AIGA, summed up the issue nicely, saying, “Let’s move design to the center of society rather than the creative fringe.” Lawyers, doctors, and scientists aren’t the only professions that can make a difference. Design is capable of solving important, life-changing problems, too.

Can design make a difference in Indianapolis?
Absolutely. Designers in Indy are already helping to place our city on the map. Whether it’s tourism, sports teams, nonprofits, or all the start-ups, it requires a lot of branding and design to get them to the next level, to help get them noticed. Indy’s becoming known as a tech community, and I think designers have a big role in that. Start-ups tend to emphasize the importance of their branding, so they engage with designers right off the bat. Web developers in tech also have a good understanding of and appreciation for design.

What are your favorite designs or designers around Indy?
The IMA embraced clean a simple look, allowing the art to speak for itself. I love their super extended color palette that opens the door for plenty of creative exploration. And the 100 Acres park was such a great addition to their campus. There you’ll find some of the best outdoor art pieces in town along with beautiful and effective signage.

Patachou has been one of my favorite brands (and menus) since I moved to Indianapolis in 2007. The food, interior design, and atmosphere are just as much a part of their brand as their mark. I appreciate how they tastefully adapted the look and feel of their brand based on the neighborhoods of their different locations and sister restaurants Napolese and Public Greens.

Lastly, PUP. Everything from the concept of the organization itself, to the way their products are crafted and visually executed, speak to a high level of design. They help move this city forward and look totally badass while doing it. I really respect that.