This month’s Member Spotlight features AIGA Board member Kate Howe. We talked to her about her work, her move to Maine, and her experience with AIGA. Follow Kate on Instagram at @katejhowe and view her work at https://better-yet.com.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
I’ve been a designer for about 15 years, and over that time have done the gamut, from branding and identity work, to digital, live spaces and events, and all matter of communications and collateral, for big multi-national and small non-profit clients. I thrive in hybrid roles, often getting involved in strategy, programming, and content creation in addition to visual design.
6 years ago I went to work for City of New York, with the desire to be more involved with civic engagement and design for social benefit. I managed a team that worked across the city, on projects in parks, for schools, infrastructure projects, and the Mayor’s Office. Through this experience, I realized I love working on design for community engagement, creative placemaking, economic development, and related initiatives.
What brought you to Maine and how long have you lived here?
I moved to Portland almost 2 years ago. My husband was offered a job here, and though we had not been planning on leaving NYC, decided to take a chance and go for it. So far so good! We love the community of people we’ve met and living amid such natural beauty.
How long have you been an AIGA Member, and what made you join?
I joined AIGA upon moving here to Portland. There’s so much opportunity and growth in Portland, and I feel like design can and should be a strong participant in that. I want to do what I can to help support the local creative community.
What is your role on the AIGA Board?
I am a Programming Co-Chair, focusing on bringing a couple of national speakers to visit Portland each year. We’re creating a series called Graphic Practices, and hope to showcase a variety of ways people approach and think about graphic design.
What impact has AIGA had on your community?
I think AIGA makes designers more visible and adds a bit of “officialness” or authority to our profession, for people who might not know much about it.
What career advice would you give to a student or designer just starting out?
Design is changing so much, and there are so many more avenues and ways to apply design skills – from more traditional form-making, to 360 degree user experience design, to strategy led by design-thinking. I believe the design-based skills of problem-solving for users, clarifying information, and inspiring emotional connection are needed so urgently in the world today. Designers, even when starting out, can choose how we apply these skills. There is a place for beautifying consumer objects and experiences, but I’d urge young designers to value the power of their skills and effort, and think about the messages and meaning to which they want to lend their hard work and talent.
What is one of your favorite spots in Maine?
Higgins Beach 🙂
AIGA Maine Member Spotlight is a regular series where we highlight one of our members. If you would like to suggest a member for an upcoming spotlight, please email our Membership Director at Kara@maine.aiga.org.