Wendy Ruyle


At 5 by 5 Design, we believe design leads to emotion, which leads to action. We lay out a whip-smart strategy, manage the details, and deliver useful tools that breathe life into your brand. 5 by 5 Design’s clients include iconic commercial brands like MillerKnoll and Deli Express, philanthropic leaders like McKnight Foundation and Northwest Minnesota Foundation, large nonprofits like United Women in Faith and the State of Minnesota, and small vibrant business like Nwyze and Sagiliti, among dozens of others in various locations, sectors, and industries.

With 30+ years of experience, Wendy plays the role of explorer, designer, and quality controller — your creative director who makes sure ideas work. A few insider notes: She’s a night owl and does her best work after 10 a.m. But she’ll make it to your morning meeting if she must. She thinks a walk or a bike ride will almost always give you ideas to solve a problem. She will never make a snap decision. She likes to take time to consider all the options. And, she loves independent theater. If you do too, ask her what to see this weekend. Her work has been recognized in publications and award shows including AIGA Design Show of Excellence, the Minnesota PSRA Classics, Package Design, Graphic Design USA, Communication Arts, Graphis, Print, and HOW.


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?

I’m a realist but I like to stay optimistic. I think the more challenging the world is the more we need good design and the more opportunities we have to make a difference. The disruptions of the past few years — division, misinformation, scarcity of resources, health concerns, the uncovering of inequity — can only be resolved by systemic changes. Change requires action which requires the right emotions to be stirred. That’s where good design and communication come in. We can use them to inspire real connections with one another. It’s not easy and it doesn’t happen overnight, but we can make a difference with every choice we make.

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

Saul and Elaine Bass. I got to see them present years ago at an AIGA conference. They were inspiring and innovative across mediums and just downright sweet.

Most influential graphic design firm(s), ad agencies, or inhouse departments of the past 60 years?

I’d have to say Pentagram because of their unique ability to have 25 different principles work in harmony to create influential work in so many sectors over so many years.

Favorite or most influential logo or branding project of the past 60 years?

As a kid growing up in the ‘80s, MTV’s early branding was groundbreaking and perfect for the medium and the audience. The ever-changing logo kept them fresh while maintaining consistency.

Favorite or most influential design project or campaign?

Steve Frykholm’s Herman Miller Picnic Posters are a wonderful expression of both the brand and the culture of an iconic business.

Most influential product, service or technology of the past 60 years?

To me personally, it must be design software. The limits of our profession have changed dramatically by the automation of what were once tedious tasks. Even handcrafted elements can be manipulated so much easier than with previous technologies.