2018 SEGD Distinguished Member Award: Amy Lukas, Partner + Director of Events at Infinite Scale, SEGD President 2012-2013
The SEGD Distinguished Member Award recognizes an individual for demonstrating outstanding volunteer efforts while significantly contributing to the direction, growth and excellence of SEGD programs. Recipients of the award have been instrumental in cultivating university programs, advancing accessible and green design and promoting cultural agendas through design. Past winners include Kelly Kolar, Alexandra Wood and Lucy Holmes, Cybelle Jones, David Middleton, Wayne Hunt and Ken Ethridge.
Amy Lukas is the organizational leader and one of three founding Partners at Infinite Scale, an award-winning sport design consultancy based in Salt Lake City, Utah, that specializes in making large and complicated events come to life. As an athlete herself, Lukas’ passion for sport is both personal and professional; she understands what it takes to inspire athletes to perform at their highest level and what it takes to create an engaging fan experience.
Lukas’ has been an involved and supportive SEGD member since 1998. She served the association as a member of the board for 10 years and as SEGD President from 2012–2013.
We recently caught up with Lukas and asked questions about her firm Infinite Scale, SEGD and Lukas herself.
Tell us a little about your firm and what makes it unique.
Infinite Scale is a sports design consultancy specializing in comprehensive solutions for the world’s most-attended venues and witnessed events. We’ve worked on more than 100 major sporting events and venues where we integrate strategy, identity and design to touch every facet of the fan experience. Our solutions help make the spectacle of sports more enjoyable, memorable, accessible and distinctive—increasing the value of some of the world’s most cherished franchises and brands.
What is the origin story of Infinite Scale?
Infinite Scale was founded in 2002, following the Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, where I met my two business partners, Molly Mazzolini and Cameron Smith. Cameron and I were the lead art directors for the ‘Look of the Games,’ while Molly was the brand manager for over 70 sponsors. Together, we created a cohesive communications system that inspired fans, athletes, sponsors and 1.6 billion television viewers around the world. Since the games, Infinite Scale has grown to over 35 team members with offices in Salt Lake City and Cincinnati.
What’s the key to creating a great culture in your firm?
Nurturing our culture is very important to Infinite Scale, as a healthy culture is the key to a happy team and happy clients. Our culture is the soul of our company where bonds are created, passions are shared, and values are lived.
We strive to have a creative, inspiring and collaborative environment in which new ideas are celebrated and all voices are heard. We embrace openness and curiosity and we’re always seeking out ways to make things better.
We pride ourselves on being savvy in the sport and design industries, and base our relationships on respect, integrity, courtesy and professionalism. Our tight-knit group truly cares about one another and views new challenges as exciting opportunities for growth—personally and professionally, individually and collectively. We deeply believe that we do our best work when we win as a team.
How did your relationship with SEGD begin?
I was introduced to SEGD as a student at the University of Cincinnati by my professor Robert Probst, a design practitioner who was highly involved and influential in the SEGD community. Being exposed to the world of experiential graphic design during my student years inspired decisions in my career development, leading me to firms that created branded experiences in the physical build environment.
Soon after graduation, I volunteered at the SEGD Conference in Cincinnati, so I could attend and connect with this community. I’ve been to nearly every annual conference since then.
What role does participation in, or volunteering with SEGD play in your practice?
My long-term involvement with SEGD sharpens my knowledge of the industry and offers a layer of creative thought leadership to the Infinite Scale team. My role as a volunteer allows me to be a part of something bigger than myself—the evolution of experiential graphic design in our design community and the world at large.
Working alongside other designers on the board, I was exposed to many disciplines within the EGD world. This experience has opened my eyes to technology, innovation and new ways of thinking.
What was the most fun memory from your time on the SEGD board?
It’s hard to think of just one fun memory on the board, because there were so many of them. I served on the board for 10 years, through the transition of three Executive Directors.
There were many times we laughed and many times I cried. The friends I made while serving on the board are lifelong and I’m extremely grateful to have them in my life. The board room was a place where I could sit with my colleagues, put aside any competition and unite to work toward a common goal.
When did you know a career in design was for you?
At a very young age, I knew I was interested in a creative field. It was always my passion, although I didn’t know exactly what path I would take. As a child, I also had a deep love for math. Numbers intrigued me; I took calculus for fun. I also took shop class a year beyond the requirement because I enjoyed making things.
In high school, I was one of the only girls to take Mechanical Drawing, where I discovered how my brain worked and realized that not everyone could see things in 3D. At first, I wanted to become an architect to create beautiful spaces for people, but I ultimately studied graphic design. I soon discovered the path of experiential graphic design, which is a happy marriage between graphic design and architecture.
What are a few projects that have shaped your career or practice, and why?
My involvement with creating the ‘Look of the Games’ for the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games was one of the most influential experiences of my life. This project was a beautiful combination of two of my passions—sport and design.
The energy of the event world inspired me; it was challenging, intense, exciting, dynamic and enjoyable. We could transform a city, a place and venues from something ordinary to something extraordinary and impact so many people. Watching people interact and engage with the branded experiences we created was magical. Following the Olympics, soon after we formed Infinite Scale, we were awarded the NFL’s Super Bowl.
Since then, we have worked on more than 50 major sport and entertainment events, including the Sundance Film Festival, NHL Stadium Series, the World Cup of Hockey and the College Football Playoff National Championships. Years later, the work remains challenging, intense, exciting, dynamic and enjoyable.
Describe yourself in one sentence.
I am an adventurous soul, with a curious mind, always striving, through various ways, to make the world a more beautiful place.
If you could redesign any one thing, what would you choose?
I would have loved to collaborate with Lance Wyman on the 1968 Mexico Olympics. I certainly don’t think I could have designed a better system, but it would have been an incredible experience to be by his side, working on one of the most impactful and influential events at that time.
What advice would you give young designers?
- Dare to follow your heart and everything else will follow.
- Don’t forget the value of hand sketches.
- Innovation comes from seeing the world, talking to strangers, and being curious; personal life experiences are what spark creativity.
- Ask questions when you don’t understand, and if you still don’t understand, ask more questions.
- Discover what you truly value and align your life choices around that.
- Embrace your mistakes—they build character.
- Don’t take life too seriously—it takes all the fun out of it!
- Get out there, embrace your talents and make this world a more beautiful place.
Congratulations to the 2018 SEGD Achievement Award winners!