PRINCIPAL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LUCI CREATIVE, CHICAGO IL
In 2011, AJ was a key member of the team that launched full-service museum master planning and design firm Luci Creative, which also develops and implements exhibits and spaces for cultural institutions and brands. Today she leads the company’s efforts on ambitious projects for clients including the Baltimore Museum of Industry, Chicago Architecture Foundation, Chicago Children’s Museum, Chicago Sports Museum, Clear Channel Communications, The Field Museum, First Division Museum at Cantigny Park, General Growth Properties, MacArthur Foundation, McDonald’s, Microsoft, the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) Chicago, PG&E, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, among others. AJ is also actively involved with many nonprofit organizations including the Design for a Cure Foundation in 2007; she sits on the steering committee for the venerable Chicago Museum Exhibitors Group; and is a member of the Women’s Presidents Organization. At Luci, AJ works directly with each client while also serving as creative and business sherpa for the team.
WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?
I was born in Chicago, came back after school to Chicago, and then four years ago my husband and I moved our growing family north to Evanston IL
DID YOU GO TO DESIGN SCHOOL?
Syracuse University, School of Art & Design
LEFTY OR RIGHTY?
Both. I like to say that I am a left-brain business strategist, with right brain creative intuition
MORNING PERSON OR NIGHT OWL?
Night owl, not enough time in the day to get everything done
FICTIONAL OR HISTORICAL CHARACTER YOU IDENTIFY WITH?
Moana, she is adventurous, strong-willed, fearless and capable.
ARE YOU MUSICAL AND/OR DO YOU PLAY AN INSTRUMENT?
Growing up, I taught myself to play the piano by listening for theme songs on tv shows
Design is a Job and You’re My Favorite Client, both by graphic designer extraordinaire Mike Monteiro
New favorite is Disney Pixar’s Coco
FAVORITE TV BINGE WATCH?
Scandal, House of Cards, Weeds
FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM?
Snapchat, can’t get enough of the A/R filters!
FAVORITE FINE ARTIST?
Historically: Lucian Freud. Contemporary: Françoise Nielly
The We Are Able organization, founded by my cousin Griffen Saul. It raises awareness for people with disabilities
FAVORITE FREE TIME ACTIVITY?
Work-out clothes (it’s a terrible habit)
COLOR USED MOST OFTEN IN YOUR DESIGN?
TYPEFACE USED MOST OFTEN IN YOUR DESIGN?
DOES PRINT HAVE A ROLE IN YOUR DESIGNS?
Combined with digital media and interactivity, we design multi-layered print-graphic communication programs for all of our museum and experiential environments to deliver the story.
GREATEST STRENGTH/WEAKNESS AS A DESIGNER?
Strength is my ability to listen, facilitate and align stakeholders with multiple perspectives and different goals, and sherpa them to create a cohesive vision; weakness is that I get so passionate that I over-deliver on the scope
ADVICE TO A YOUNG DESIGNER JUST STARTING OUT?
Don’t ever stop learning. When you stop learning, your work becomes stale.
IF YOU WERE NOT A DESIGNER, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
An environmental scientist living at a conservation station in Costa Rica
A MANTRA OR SAYING YOU LIVE BY?
It’s never going to be the right time for anything, so use the 10-10-10 rule. Ask yourself how you will feel about a decision in 10 minutes, 10 months, or 10 years.