I have worked in marketing and creativity for over 15 years. I started my career at “The Late Show with David Letterman”, which won an Emmy for best Art Direction in 1994. I went on to work for advertising agencies Wieden + Kennedy (Portland, New York and Amsterdam), Publicis, Ogilvy & Mather, McCann Erickson, and SS+K. I started my career in marketing as an art director and worked my way up to being a senior creative director. Most recently, I worked for Bloomberg, LP where I was a creative director in their internal creative agency. I lead their philanthropy campaigns and branding for many of their non-profit and institutional partners based in London and overseeing EMEA region (and interim CD for Asia region). My clients over the years have ranged from cause related, to public campaigns, digital engagement and expansion of marketing and brands: Nike, Teach.gov, The National Democratic Convention, The White House, Ad Council, Avon, The Boys and Girls Club of America, School of Visual Arts, ESPN, Diet Coke, IBM, Mastercard, Intel, Kohls, Major League Baseball, The International Rescue Committee, Doctors without Borders, Millennium Goals Campaign, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNDP, DPKO, DPI and Nike Girl Effect.
Q&A with Stephanie Sigg
1. What is it about mentoring Designmatters Fellows that inspires you?
The chance to watch a mind open, and then open even more, inspires me. Students usually come in having worked in design studios, or on their own, so entering this new world is a little shocking to them—at first. But, over time, they figure things out, and I find myself watching them take to this world of design for social impact like ducks take to water. I love watching as their lives get bigger through their real world projects. I love watching when they see their work actually get out into the world for real people to see. It’s inspiring for me to watch them completely commit themselves to an unknown adventure.
2. Why did you get involved as a mentor to Designmatters fellows?
I think it goes back to the adage: It’s better to give than to receive. Plus, it’s about wanting more designers know you can do this– you can do good as a designer. I didn’t really know about this when I was getting out of Art Center; I thought that if I wanted to give back I’d have to work in a soup kitchen. Then I learned about Designmatters and that changed things for me, and I wanted to lead by example.
I love the work I do in advertising; it’s exciting and creative, but I also love that it lets me give back. When I was working at Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, I started seeing how this could be done. Through them I did work for Nike and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and the Avon Speak Out Against Domestic Violence campaign. I can use my skill set, my art, and my creativity to help solve global problems. When talking to the Fellows I like saying, “let’s do better; let’s keep doing better things,” and they get what I mean.
3. What does success look like within these Designmatters fellowships?
Success looks like students seeing the porous nature of design going across many disciplines. Success often means accepting changes in their career trajectories; they’ve seen art and design as something that can go beyond posters and websites and towards helping people anywhere in the world. Success also looks like new-found confidence, like when the training wheels come off their bikes and they think about what they’ve done and say, “Wow, I did that.”
4. As a person in advertising who’s deeply involved in design for social impact, what do you think matters most?
What matters most seems to me is the same thing that fascinates me most, and that is whether I’m working with a non-profit organization, a government agency, or doing advertising in the corporate world, certain things are always the same. It always comes down understanding the constraints and variables, digging into the belly of the beast, and losing myself for a while. For me, it’s about trying to stay naïve, asking the simple questions, and always staying curious.