HEAD OF DESIGN
STATEMENT, OAK PARK IL
Jen Depakakibo is the Co-Founder and Head of Design at Statement, an awardwinning creative agency outside of Chicago. Statement is a women-owned and led WBENC certified agency that partners with for-profit and nonprofit clients working to influence good in finance, health and wellness, technology, education, environment, and human rights. Statement support brands at every step through marketing strategy, brand development, and creative campaigns and production, with special expertise in running large content marketing programs. Jen’s design career spans the gamut from in-house, to agency and solopreneurship before starting Statement in 2016 with her business partner, Lis Martin.
How did you become involved in socially responsible communications and why do you believe design can be an effective tool for this goal?
I have always had a passion and drive for helping people (I thank my parents for instilling this value early into my DNA) and admiration for designers and artists that use creativity as a force for good. I’m so grateful to be at a point in my career where I can deliberately partner with other creative minds and organizations that hold similar values.
I’ve taken learnings from my varied career experiences to filter the great and not so great into a vision for Statement around the work we do for clients and the internal culture we foster.
The projects that really light me up are ones where design is given due respect in its power to create impact. Mission-driven organizations often leverage design more wholeheartedly, which is what led me to a passion for the social impact niche. Some of my proudest work has been with nonprofits who champion design’s ability to influence their audiences.
At Statement, we believe in an ego-free culture where gratitude and humility are necessary for the collaborative process. It’s a place where good-hearted creatives can influence impact through their work and interactions with peers and clients … a place to feel empowered, eager to learn, and grow alongside a diverse set of peers that bring fresh and varied perspectives. This combination of mindset and people are the ingredients that make up a magical mix for amazing work.
Given the confluence of events and challenges our society now faces, does 2021 present any special opportunities, urgencies, obstacles to designing for good?
Design’s duty is to respond to a changing world. Our current societal challenges have been a catalyst for many organizations to re-think their brand or marketing strategies. They are desiring new ways to better resonate with their audiences, craving more impactful storytelling through messaging and design. People need to “feel” more deeply … and quickly. With attention spans shrinking and a continued need for constant digital content, there is a huge opportunity for creative ideas to work their magic — to instantly attract, delight, and engage audiences. Organizations that recognize how strategic design drives business outcomes are better suited for success this year and beyond.