Feature Friday: Lauren Dougherty

We’re proud to be one of seventy incredible chapters, each doing amazing things and having awesome leadership boards. We’re even more thrilled to be so close with the first local AIGA Chapter, our Philadelphia friends. This week’s feature friday guest is AIGA Philadelphia’s newest president, Lauren Dougherty! She recently took up a senior producer position at Bluecadet, a digital agency in Philadelphia.

Lauren Dougherty

How long have you been in the field?
I’ve been working as a graphic designer for almost 15 years now. I have mostly worked for and with cultural, museum and nonprofit institutions. My first job was working in the design department at The Franklin Institute, followed by the Philadelphia Zoo. I then worked for an architecture and design studio that specialized in exhibit design for over ten years. There I was fortunate to work with some pretty amazing clients such as the Smithsonian, The Franklin Institute, the National Park Service, The Food Trust, Hagley Museum and Library, and Southern Poverty Law Center.

I recently made the jump to a new position with Bluecadet, a digital design agency based in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia. Founded in 2007, Bluecadet create websites, mobile apps, films, and interactive media, including touchscreens, projections and games for non-profit and museum clients. There I am working on strategy and master planning projects for clients such as the Independence Visitor Center and the Mann Center, as well as playing a role in the studio’s business development and marketing efforts. I’m honored to be part of such an enthusiastic, creative and inspiring team of people there.

Where did you go to school/what for?
I studied Graphic Design at Drexel University in Philadelphia. I give Drexel and its Co-op program much of the credit for the path I have taken in my career. My co-op position in my junior year was at The Franklin Institute. It was while working there that I first discovered exhibit design and my passion for storytelling through experience, which has been a central focus of my career since.

How long have you been an AIGA member?
I’ve been a member of AIGA since 2002. I started volunteering on AIGA Philadelphia’s education committee that same year, helping to plan Feedback, the chapter’s annual student portfolio review. While working at the Zoo I met Michele Cooper, former AIGA Philly president, who encouraged me to get involved and I am so grateful that she did. I joined the board six years ago as Treasurer and then took over the role of Vice President for two years. I am honored and truly humbled to now be serving as President of the chapter.

What important milestones do you credit to getting to where you are now?
Pretty early on, I knew I wanted to pursue a creative path. My parents were incredibly supportive of my artistic interests and pursuits. They drove me into the city every Saturday morning for many years when I was a kid, so that I could attend art classes at the University of the Arts. I think that exposure at a young age, was an important milestone in choosing a career in the arts. But it wasn’t until a high school art class that I first discovered graphic design. A former graduate, who was studying graphic design at Kutztown University, came to our class and shared her portfolio with us. I instantly knew that graphic design was something I wanted to do.

Why Philadelphia?
I was born and raised in Philly. I grew up in Mayfair in Northeast Philadelphia. Philadelphia is an amazing city with such a vibrant arts and cultural scene that just keeps getting better and better. I truly can’t imagine working anywhere else. I have lived outside the city for the past ten years, but am looking forward to moving back to the city in the next few months.


Why should someone be an AIGA member? How has it benefited you?
This is an amazing organization and community of people. Being involved with AIGA has been truly lifechanging. The best advice I can give to someone is to not only become a member of AIGA, but also volunteer for your local chapter. You will be overwhelmed by the rewards you receive. Through my involvement, I have forged life-long friendships, gotten to travel to national conferences, gained mentors, learned important skills, met incredible design leaders and so much more.

Know a local designer who could use some recognition? Nominate a member to be a Feature Friday designer by emailing Bri their name, company and contact information.

By Bri Piccari
Published July 17, 2015
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