Leslie Funke (pronounced “funk-ee”) discovered a love of design and visual communication at a young age. By the age of 10, she designed her first website. By high school, she owned a freelance design business and designed websites for several well-known artists. After receiving a BFA from The Art Institute of Phoenix, she began working full-time as a web and print designer. Today, she has more than 15 years of professional experience with both fullservice agencies and inhouse marketing departments. Leslie currently works as a Senior Designer at Speak Creative, a digital marketing agency based in Memphis TN with a focus on museums and attractions, zoos, and nonprofit verticals. Her work has garnered numerous GDUSA awards; most recently, she was the lead designer on the Illinois Holocaust Museum website which won several awards for design, ADA compliance, and user functionality. While her specialty is web design, Leslie is multi-disciplinary, having designed branding, logos, print campaigns, packaging, websites, emails, banner ads, illustration, and textiles. for brands such as Pinkberry, Cold Stone Creamery, Red Hat, the Musical Instrument Museum, and the International Rhino Foundation. In her spare time, Leslie enjoys creating art prints.
Looking forward, are you optimistic about the role of graphic design in business and society?
I’m very optimistic. In recent years a lot of companies and individuals have come to rely on the power of visual communication more than ever. Especially with everyone having a smartphone in their pocket, the need for quick information or storytelling at-aglance has only increased. From the rise of TikTok to seeing people following the CDC and White House social media accounts. The role of graphic design has increased in our society, and I expect that will continue well into the future.
Have the challenges of the past two years changed the way you approach your work?
I think it’s impacted the way companies approach communication in general and, thus, design. Companies are more aware and thoughtful about what they’re trying to say and how they say it. Our job has always been to help achieve that thoughtfully on their behalf — and that role is even more vital now. Another interesting change/ripple effect is when you compare the 2008 recession to the 2020 pandemic. In 2008, the first thing clients cut back on was marketing budget. In 2020, clients realized the huge importance their websites have in reaching their audiences and in encouraging interaction with customers. I’ve done a lot of design audits for clients to look for ways to improve their website’s messaging, features and functionality which has resulted in some amazing improvements for brands how their customers interact with them.