Visionary Women of SEGD: Celebrating Female Fellows in Experience Design

In honor of Women’s History Month, SEGD is proud to shine a spotlight on the extraordinary female SEGD Fellows who have redefined the boundaries of experience design. These distinguished women are leaders in their respective fields, and have left indelible marks on the landscapes of environmental and experiential design through their innovative work, educational contributions, and relentless pursuit of design excellence. From pioneering design integrations to revolutionizing experiences for public spaces, their contributions have not only shaped the way we interact with our environments, but also continue to inspire future generations of designers. Join us as we celebrate their achievements and explore the legacy of these visionary women who have crafted the narrative of design with creativity, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to social impact.

If you know an outstanding experiential designer whose work deserves recognition, we invite you to submit your nomination for our SEGD Achievement Awards. Nominations are open now through March 15th. Please submit your nominations for SEGD Fellows here, and your nominations for all other Achievement Awards categories here.

Featured SEGD Fellows

2023 – Wendy Evans Joseph

Wendy Evans Joseph, 2023 SEGD Fellow and founder of Studio Joseph, is a visionary architect celebrated for her innovative museum designs and exhibition installations. Her firm excels in creating immersive, educational environments, blending technology, graphic design, and materiality in elegant spatial settings. Joseph’s work, deeply rooted in art, culture, and a commitment to community and equity, has earned her widespread recognition, including the Rome Prize in Architecture and the title of Academician at the National Academy of Design. With a background at Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Graduate School of Design, Joseph’s leadership and sustainable design practices have significantly influenced public, institutional, and cultural architecture.

2022 – Julie Beeler

An early adopter of interactive multimedia, graphic designer Julie Beeler, alongside artist Brad Johnson started Second Story in 1997, which went on to become an internationally recognized and award winning interactive media studio producing memorable and innovative experiences. Julie’s unique approach to storytelling through interactive media made a dramatic impact on how people see, feel, and participate in stories across cultural institutions and with brands. Second Story was acquired by Sapient in 2012 but through her contributions and thought leadership, she continues to influence the next generation of experience designers.

2021 – Sylvia Harris (1953-2011)

Sylvia Harris (1953–2011) was a pioneering force in social impact design, co-founding Two Twelve Associates in 1980 before focusing on design planning and strategy with Sylvia Harris LLC, later Citizen Research & Design, in 1994. She led major projects for hospitals, universities, and civic agencies, enhancing systems planning and policy innovation. As the creative director for Census 2000, Harris played a key role in increasing participation, particularly among underrepresented groups. A respected educator, she influenced a new generation of designers at Yale School of Art, Cooper Union, and Purchase College. Honoring her legacy, the SEGD introduced the Sylvia Harris Award in 2012, celebrating projects that exemplify social impact in public communications and design accessibility, reflecting Harris’ commitment to community and inclusivity.

2019 – Paula Scher

Paula Scher, a seminal figure in graphic design, has been a transformative force since joining Pentagram’s New York office in 1991. Known for blurring the lines between pop culture and fine art, Scher’s work is iconic and ubiquitous, defining the visual language of American brands and cultural institutions. Her groundbreaking identity for The Public Theater and partnerships with Citibank and Tiffany & Co. have become benchmarks for brand regeneration. Scher’s extensive portfolio spans environmental graphics, identity systems, and urban design collaborations, notably redefining spaces like the High Line and Jazz at Lincoln Center into vibrant, graphic experiences. Her designs have not only revitalized the visual landscape of public spaces and corporations but have also earned her numerous accolades, including the AIGA Medal and the Type Directors Club Medal. Scher’s influence extends beyond her designs; as a committed educator and author, she has shaped the next generation of designers through her teachings and writings, solidifying her legacy as a pillar of modern graphic design.

2018 – Jane Davis Doggett (1929—2023)

Jane Davis Doggett trained at the Yale School of Art and Architecture during its modernist heyday. She studied with Josef Albers, Louis Kahn and Alvin Eisenman, whose teachings in the fields of architecture and graphic design led Jane from Yale to become one of America’s leading graphic designers. Her colorful and comprehensive thematic graphic identity and wayfinding systems now enliven many public complexes, including 40 international airport projects—more than any other designer in the world.

2013 – Sue Gould

Sue Gould began her design career in 1967 working on the Man & Agriculture pavilion for Expo 67 in Montreal, helping to pioneer the field of environmental graphic design. An early specialist in themed graphics for shopping centers and an expert in signage for landmark buildings, Sue has been a master connector, helping to build the SEGD community while nurturing her own New York design consultancy: Lebowitz | Gould | Design. Sue also served as President of SEGD from 1989-1990.

2011Robin E. Perkins

Robin Perkins co-founded Selbert Perkins Design with Clifford Selbert. Their firm has developed a reputation for creative and strategic approaches to EGD exemplified by their large-scale sculptural work––perhaps most famously the LAX gateway project––changing the notion of what environmental graphic design can do for public spaces. Robin has national and international recognition for design excellence in her major projects which often integrate landscape architecture, public art, and communications.

2010 – Virginia Gehshan

Virginia Gehshan and Jerome Cloud both received the SEGD Fellow Award in 2010. Their firm, Cloud Gehshan Associates, is best known for groundbreaking work on large, multi-component projects such as university campuses, medical centers, and park systems. Virginia’s work integrates identity, storytelling, signage, and information systems in a process called “placebranding.” She has also played a central role in developing client tools, the EGD Process Guide and authoring the SEGD Standard Form of Agreement.

2007 – Chris Calori

Chris Calori was a founding partner of New York City-based Calori & Vanden-Eynden, also known as CVEDesign, now merged with Toronto-based Entro Communications. Together with CVE founding partner David Vanden-Eynden, Chris built an internationally recognized—and award winning—design firm specializing in the planning and design of signage and wayfinding programs. Chris authored the acclaimed book Signage and Wayfinding Design: A Complete Guide to Creating Environmental Graphic Design Systems (2007), now in its second edition (2015), co-authored with David.

2003 – Denise Scott Brown

Architect, urban planner, theorist, writer and educator—Denise Scott Brown has done it all! But one book in particular put Denise on the map, Learning from Las Vegas (1972). Written with Robert Venturi and Steven Izenour, this influential text kicked-off the Postmodern movement in architecture and design. Now in her nineties and retired from practice, Scott Brown remains the topic of documentaries, podcasts, books, and essays, even as she continues to write more herself.

1999 – Janet Martin

Janet Martin is passionate about creating retail experiences that bring brands and communities to life. Over her 30-plus-year career, Janet managed projects in the United States and abroad including retail planning, signage, and wayfinding. Janet partnered with Henry Beer and Richard Foy in CommArts, the Colorado-based firm that received international acclaim for its design and visual communications work. CommArts completed more than 3,000 projects for clients worldwide and is now part of Stantec.

1998 – Debra Nichols

Debra Nichols found her creative expertise at the intersection of architecture, communication, and art. She believes that for anything to truly succeed—to create the spirit of the place and contribute to life in a meaningful way—it must be beautiful. Early in her career, Debra worked with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) where she eventually became Associate Partner before starting her own firm, Deborah Nichols Design, in San Francisco in 1991.

1995 – Sarah Speare

After serving as Executive Director of SEGD for ten years (1985–1995), SEGD honored Sarah Speare as a Fellow for her contributions to the field of EGD and for building SEGD into the organization we know today. Her extensive leadership experience as a non-profit executive, entrepreneur and designer has led to other projects, including community design consultant to nonprofits throughout New England and an 8-year run as the Executive Director of the Institute of Humane Education.

1993 – Ann Dudrow (1943—2022)

Ann Dudrow studied at the Rhode Island School of Design where she received a BFA in Illustration. After an influential year in Rome, she returned to the States, and worked for the architecture firm RTKL where she served as Director of Graphic Design for more than 20 years. Ann continued her career as Director of Environmental Graphic Design for Westfield, the international real-estate developer based in Paris and London.

1991 – Deborah Sussman (1931—2014)

The first woman to be honored as an SEGD Fellow, Deborah Sussman is recognized as a pioneer in environmental graphic design. Her passion for the marriage of graphics and the built environment, fueled by her early career at the Eames Office, led to collaborations with planners, architects, and clients. She began working with architects in the late 1960s—founding Sussman/Prejza & Co with husband Paul Prejza—and took on iconic projects including the “look” of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.

About SEGD

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