For this edition of Member Spotlight, where we showcase the diverse creative work of our members, we chatted with freelance graphic designer Leigh Mignogna. On a typical day you can find Leigh at her Studio Desk working on an app design, brainstorming a book layout or upstairs covering a table with post-its. A New York native, Leigh stuck around on this coast – she earned her Masters in Communications Design from Pratt Institute, worked as a designer at Paperwhite studio in NYC, and has held adjunct professor positions at Parsons, St. John’s University and Pratt Institute. She specializes in visual identity, print, interactive and exhibition design.
Leigh is currently half of design partnership L&L and is serving as a Public Access Design fellow at the Center for Urban Pedagogy. Sometimes she also works with Intracollaborative, a collective of colleagues from Pratt who focus on socially-minded design. She chatted with us about working at Makeshift and the power of being your own boss. Check out some of her work below and signup for her Type 101 class on June 30! Or say hi when you see her at the next Members’ Breakfast! Hint: strike up a conversation about R Kelly…
When did you realize you wanted to be a graphic designer?
My dad is a graphic designer, so I grew up surrounded by design. But, it wasn’t until college that I became serious about studying design myself. Like most 18 years olds, I had no idea what I wanted to study, so I suppose I gravitated towards what was familiar. I remember learning about Tibor Kalman around the same time and realizing that design could be political, provocative and smart. Tibor’s work showed me the cultural importance and power of design. He’s been a big inspiration over the years.
What made you want to start L&L?
Fitting into someone else’s model of how a design studio should work never really made sense to me. Starting L+L meant that I could wake up every day and make my own rules. At the end of the day, Liz (the other “L”) and I are only responsible to ourselves, and for us, that’s huge.
Do you have a dream project?
Dream project: Something I know nothing about!
What are some of the tools that you use?
mouth for talking
hands for making
words for sharing
What type of role does Makeshift Society play in your work?
When I first started L+L I was working out of my apartment and it was the worst. I felt really uninspired and would get lonely. At Makeshift, I’m surrounded by amazingly smart and creative individuals. Whether it’s asking for a second set of eyes from a deskmate or seeing the other things members are building, being surrounded by that energy is inspiring.