Cesar Rivera


A San Antonio native, Cesar Rivera developed a passion for design at an early age, earning his first competitive awards during high school. Following service in the United States Army (HOOAH!), he continued to garner design awards as he earned his associate’s degrees in design from San Antonio College in 2005, then his bachelor’s degree in Communication Design in 2007 and his master’s degree in 2015 both from Texas State University. Cesar’s work has been recognized with more than 50 awards from top organizations such as Graphis, AIGA, and AdFed.

Cesar joined the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in July 2020 to lead the Visual Design Branch as Chief Design Officer. The branch provides expertise in visual communication design, data visualization, campaign management, medical and digital illustration, and publications and presentation design. Cesar currently serves on the AIGA Board of Directors.

Prior to joining CDC, Cesar worked at a few design companies in San Antonio on projects for Miller Lite, Splenda, Coca-Cola, and WellMed Medical, then he ran a small design studio for 7+ years. Also during that time, Cesar co-founded the AIGA San Antonio chapter, served on the professional advisory committee for San Antonio College, and taught at the university level.


Looking forward to 2023, are you optimistic about the role and impact of Graphic Design and Visual Communication in Business? Culture? Causes? Have the events and disruptions of the past few years changed the role or trajectory of Graphic Design?

One Bauhaus philosophy, make design more accessible, create functional, aesthetically pleasing products; the idea of the design process evolved from there. Humancentered design helped people understand how design professionals work through problem-solving and synthesizing information to produce more inclusive communications and products. Today’s designers need to understand how to skillfully set type, be an illustrator, edit motion, do production work, and so many more functions. Now, technology of mobile devices, social media, products such as Canva and Express, and AI image generators are making design more accessible to the masses. Someone can easily access design by reaching into their pocket.

Favorite or most influential logo or branding project of the past 60 years? Favorite or most influential design project or campaign in any medium for the past 60 years? Most influential design products, services or technology of the past 60 years?

There is not one brand, project, website, or product I can identify as the most influential but rather a group of them: digital media such as Google, Apple, Instagram, Vine, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, etc. The products these companies have produced have changed the way we communicate with the world. Obviously some of these no longer operate or are struggling to operate but they influenced our understanding of captivating an audience. Similar to the way radio and TV changed the way we consume information, digital media has accelerated and customized the way we receive information from family, friends, and our global neighbors.