SEGD Launches 2013 Global Design Awards Program

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2013 Jury Chair is Thinkwell Group CEO Joe Zenas

WASHINGTON, DC – SEGD, the Society for Environmental Graphic Design, has launched its 26th annual Global Design Awards Program recognizing the best in visual communications for the built environment.

Established in 1987 to honor excellence in environmental graphic design, the program demonstrates how design can enrich and transform the built world. Past winners have represented a wide range of project types, from complex hospital and urban wayfinding systems to museum and theme park exhibitions, public art, dynamic media installations, and branded, corporate, and retail environments. In 2012, the program attracted more than 400 entries from 30 countries.

Environmental graphic design is increasingly cross-disciplinary, often created by collaborative teams working to activate and organize the places where people live, work, play, gather, and learn. “It may be called by different names, but everywhere you look, EGD is being used to inform, engage, and inspire people in public spaces,” says Joe Zenas, CEO and Principal of experiential design company Thinkwell Group and Chair of the 2013 SEGD Global Design Awards Program.

“Whether it’s directional information in a transit station, a branded environment for a corporation, or a blockbuster exhibition, EGD improves the quality of life by making public spaces more memorable and experiential.”

Zenas leads all Thinkwell projects, from live shows and events to theme parks, multi-scale resort developments and educational experiences. Thinkwell has created such award-winning environments as Warner Brothers Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter, Ski Dubai and NatureQuest at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Prior to Thinkwell, Zenas was Director of Creative Studios for Universal Creative, and has led teams in world-renowned projects ranging from the Atlanta Centennial Olympic Opening Ceremonies to the 1997 Reunification of Hong Kong. He has overseen productions of 10 Super Bowl halftime and pregame shows, as well as numerous other television events. Zenas leads a multidisciplinary jury representing the wide swath of creative talent involved in environmental graphic design projects. “With EGD encompassing such a broad range of disciplines, it’s important that our jury reflect that diversity across geographic, cultural, and disciplinary boundaries,” he notes.

Zenas’ fellow jury members include:
Chris Calori, Principal, Calori & Vanden-Eynden / Design Consultants
Calori is an SEGD Fellow, author, teacher, and one of the most influential environmental graphic designers in the world. In addition to creating signage and wayfinding systems for complex transportation and commercial environments worldwide, she wrote the seminal book Signage and Wayfinding Design: A Complete Guide to Creating Environmental Graphic Design Systems, and was a principal author of the SEGD 2012 ADA White Paper Update on accessible signage. Her work has won numerous awards and she has taught at FIT and The Ohio State University, where she is the recipient of the first Distinguished Alumni Award from the Department of Industrial, Interior, and Visual Communication Design.

Ken Carbone, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Director, Carbone Smolan Agency
Carbone is a designer, artist, musician, author, teacher, and one of America’s most respected graphic designers. His client list includes W Hotels, Morgan Stanley, Christie’s, Tiffany & Co., and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, as well as the Museum of Modern Art, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, and the Musée du Louvre. He is the author of The Virtuoso: Face to Face with 40 Extraordinary Talents, and co-authored Dialog: What Makes a Great Design Partnership, with his business partner Leslie Smolan. He is a professor in the MFA program at the School of Visual Arts and is a featured blogger for Fast Company magazine.

Phil Freelon, Founder and President, The Freelon Group
Freelon’s 65-person firm in Durham, N.C., has won 50 AIA design awards for its work focused on higher education, science and technology, and museum/cultural center projects. The team of Freelon Adjaye Bond is leading the design for the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture currently under construction in Washington, DC. Recent commissions include libraries in Washington, Atlanta, and Chicago, a park in Houston, and a museum in Jackson, MS. Freelon has served as adjunct professor at North Carolina State University and has been a visiting lecturer at Harvard and other universities. He currently holds a Professor of Practice appointment at MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning.

David Harvey, Sr. Vice President of Exhibition, American Museum of Natural History
Harvey is an interpretive exhibition designer whose passion is creating compelling museum experiences for the public. Directing a team of more than 60, his most recent exhibitions at AMNH include Creatures of Light, Brain: The Inside Story, Traveling the Silk Road, and Mythic Creatures. His permanent exhibitions include the AMNH’s Hall of Human Origins, Hall of Ocean Life, and Hall of Meteorites. In addition to drawing high attendance numbers in New York, his exhibitions are seen annually by more than 2.5 million international visitors as exhibitions travel to museums worldwide. In his spare time, he teaches Interpretive Exhibition Design at NYU’s ITP graduate program.

Cassie Hester, Freelance Designer/Illustrator and Assistant Professor at the University of West Georgia
Hester’s typographic installation Dig Deep, part of her MFA thesis exploration at Virginia Commonwealth University, was a Merit Award winner in the 2012 SEGD Global Design Awards Program. After receiving her MFA in Visual Communications/Graphic Design from VCU, Hester is currently teaching at the University of West Georgia, where she received her BFA in Graphic Design. Hester is a reader, doodler, and “unrepentant typography nerd” whose typographic work has been featured in publications such as Print, Metropolis, and Step Inside Design. She has presented papers on her work at several international design conferences reaching from Thailand to New Zealand.

Tim McNeil, Principal, Muniz/McNeil and Professor of Design, UC Davis
McNeil is a principal with multidisciplinary design/research firm Muniz/McNeil and a Professor of Design and Director of the Design Museum at the University of California Davis. His recent Muniz/McNeil projects include the exhibition Home Lands: How Women Made the West at the Autry National Center, and augmented learning environments for the Huntington Library and Gardens in Los Angeles. He was previously a senior designer at the J. Paul Getty Museum. An authority on environmental sustainability, he chairs the California Association of Museums Green Museum Initiative, is a founder of the Green Museums Accord, and was inducted into the National Environmental Hall of Fame for his design work on the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Santa Monica Environmental Action Center. He has received numerous awards for his design and research.

Kevin Owens, Director, owensowens
Owens is a Fulbright Scholar and Yale-trained architect who recently served as Design Principal with the London Organising Committee of the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. His work has spanned numerous design disciplines, from exhibition and product design to urban design and architecture, including The Hollywood Bowl redevelopment for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Kensington Oval Cricket Ground Barbados, and the Cambridge University Sports Centre. In his central role for the London Organising Committee, he was project lead on the design of the built environment, and provided the strategic direction on the design and overlay for all venues—ultimately facilitating the creation of a single shared design ethos for London 2012. He has taught at the Yale University School of Architecture and the University of Bath. Owens recently established the multidisciplinary design collaborative owensowens.

Winners of the 2013 SEGD Global Design Awards will be announced at the 2013 SEGD Conference June 6-8 in San Francisco (For information on the conference, visit and will be featured on the SEGD website ( and in its award-winning eg magazine.

For an archive of award-winning projects, including photos, project descriptions, and jury comments, visit

About SEGD
Founded in 1973, SEGD (the Society for Environmental Graphic Design) is the global community of people working at the intersection of communication design and the built environment. Through educational programs, research, and publications, SEGD’s mission is to provide learning opportunities and resources for professionals involved in EGD, promote the importance of the discipline in establishing place, and continue to refine standards of practice for the field.

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