Darcey McCormick


From a young age, Darcey McCormick has had an eye for pattern and color and knew that her future resided in the field of art and design. After graduating from Mississippi State University with a BFA in Graphic Design, Darcey began her professional career as a designer at Asen Marketing in Knoxville, TN. It was at Asen that Darcey grew her passion for client communication and ‘listening to hear’ the need or problem to solve. Fast forward to today… Darcey is the President and Principal Creative Director at Kay James Design (KJD) in Appleton, WI. KJD creates compelling brand experiences for Fortune 100 consumer packaged goods companies. KJD knows how brand design influences consumer perceptions, drives purchase decisions, and ultimately impacts sales.

Darcey develops and leads a team culture of collaborative, ‘what if’, consumer centric thinking. Knowing the importance of listening to hear, her designers are granted a seat at the table. “We encourage autonomy and unique problem solving, and the best way to generate those ideas is for our designers to have the chance to engage directly with our clients. We are in the business of building relationships.” What Darcey loves about this is that each team member shifts their mindset from executional deliverables to meeting objectives and problem solving (aka: the bigger picture). To help KJD deliver quality work on time, Darcey and team establish and maintain a global network of diverse and talented artists to plug and play. This allows KJD to withhold strong client relationships, build leadership capabilities, encourage creative problem solving and offer ever changing, fresh approaches to design.

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?

Graphic Design is part of everything that we touch and see. For this reason, it will always have an optimistic and powerful impact. Using design as a platform for change and awareness — the space where consumer centric thinking and communication converge — is what makes me most proud of KJD and our future impact for design. We’ve been able to deliver authentically amidst increased racial tensions across the US, highlight advocates for mental health, and simply educate consumer life enhancing, product benefits. We promise to understand clients business goals to create strategic, future relevant, and actionable design solutions that are ready to deploy..

Most influential graphic designer(s) or art directors(s) of the past 60 years?

Of today? Of the past: I studied Art Director, Cipe Pineles in college and fell in love. She used illustration for communication and reader engagement across various magazine articles. Of today: In my quest to broaden my network and open my mind I met Dominique Mueller, Sr. Director of Inclusive Design & Culture at Target Corporation. She has graciously accepted me into her network and engaged with me in conversations regarding the importance of inclusive design.

Most influential graphic design firm(s), ad agency(s), or inhouse department(s) of the past 60 years? Of today?

My eye is on Target and the plethora of disruptor consumer brands.