SEGD Launches 2013 Global Design Awards Program

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.”

With partners Francois Bergeron and Craig Hanna, Zenas leads a team of more than 150 professionals designing and producing projects, from live shows and events to multi-scale theme park resort developments and educational experiences. Thinkwell has created such award-winning environments as Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter, and NatureQuest at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History.

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 says.

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.

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. 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. 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 his spare time, he teaches Interpretive Exhibition Design at NYU's ITP graduate program.

Cassie Hester, 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. Since receiving her MFA in Visual Communications/Graphic Design from VCU, Hester is teaching at the University of West Georgia, where she received her BFA in Graphic Design. Hester’s typographic work has been featured in publications such as Print, Metropolis, and Step Inside Design.

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. 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.

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. 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 Winners will also 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



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