ABQ Design Summit Workshops and Lectures


Color, Concepts, & Process

Brandi Sea Heft-Kniffin

How would you feel if you didn’t have to stress over finding a concept or direction for your designs? Have you ever decided on a design direction but then had trouble deciding on the best colors or other elements to use?

During her workshop, Brandi Sea will guide you through her signature process of concept discovery that will open your eyes to the creative power of words. She will prove that there is a better way to create a seamless design that is simple, straightforward, and cohesive. You will learn how to take the guesswork out of choosing colors, and other important visual elements for your design.

The only tools you will need are actual, physical, tools! Please bring pencils or pens, something to write on, and your cell phones. Whether you are a branding expert, or web designer, illustrator, or maker — learning how to apply Brandi Sea’s process will ensure that you can create great work even when you feel lost.

Practical UX
Brian Byers & Ashley Fate

In this hands-on, fast-paced workshop you will learn how to get results by putting into practice user-centered design methods while creating a bicycle sharing mobile app.

As native Burqean, Brian developed a passion for art and design at an early age. He has a BFA in Graphic Design from New Mexico State University from the late 1900s. Since then he’s served as a Graphic Designer and Art Director with a non-profit mission organization’s In-House media team, and the past 14 years as a Web Designer/Developer for Sandia National Labs. He still loves print design, but Web Design and UX is pretty fun too. He and his wife educate their three children from home (well his wife does 99% of it), so the house is full of noise, songs, messes, experiments, and art projects. When Brian is not being climbed on or shuttling a Halfling to and fro, you might find him enjoying photography, restoring old furniture, movies, baking GF awesomeness and grilling out.


What Does Equity and Inclusion in Environmental Design Look Like?
(Social Justice & Design)

Michaele Pride, Jessica Carr, and Cynthia Jacobs

If you were to draw a basic Venn diagram using public health and architecture, the intersection would likely read “environmental health.” The built environment is one of several social determinants of health—the myriad conditions under which people live their lives. These conditions are largely responsible for inequities amongst varying populations on global, national, regional, and local scales. How can designers inform and shape the field of environmental health (and vice versa)? In this session we explore interdisciplinary approaches to health equity in the built environment, and the role of design in this pursuit.


  • Facilitation where a definition of social justice is co-created; confirm and enhance the co-created definition afterwards, based on recent literature about healthy communities.
  • Brief overview of the work of UNM DPAC (Design and Planning Assistance Center) and the CCNS (Central Corridor Neighborhood Study)
  • Discussion prompt / generative theme using a current event or image that displays a negative health impact; SHOWED dialog questions
  • Examine built environment conditions in a station area—find a solution with health equity and social justice in mind. Why does this built environment condition exist? What is in your toolkit? (Environmental graphic design and wayfinding.) How do we promote interdisciplinary and community-engaged learning?

The Graphics of the Zeon Files (Route 66 Signage)

Ellen Babcock & Mark C Childs

Ellen Babcock, Associate Professor of Fine Arts, and Associate Dean of Architecture Mark C. Childs will discuss a collection of working drawings for Route 66 signage.  The prismacolor and pencil drawings and neon signs illustrate the state of commercial graphic art from the mid-1950s to 1970s.  The original drawings are in the collection of the Center for Southwest Research at UNM and prime examples are documented in The Zeon Files (UNM Press).

Mark C. Childs is an associate dean and a professor at the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of New Mexico. He is the author of Urban Composition: Developing Community through Design, Squares: A Public Place Design Guide for Urbanists, and Parking Spaces: A Design, Implementation, and Use Manual for Architects, Planners, and Engineers. He is a Fulbright Scholar and has won awards for community engagement, teaching, public art, heritage preservation, and poetry.

Ellen D. Babcock is an assistant professor of sculpture at the University of New Mexico. She has exhibited at numerous New Mexico and California venues, including the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe and the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery and the Southern Exposure Gallery in San Francisco. She founded Friends of the Orphan Signs (FOS), an organization that sites collaboratively produced public art in abandoned signage.


Fabrication & Design

Sharp Design Co.


An obsession with garbage revealed an creative individual with a desire to make something out of everything at a young age. Still a habitual hoarder, Kelsi began Sharp Design Co. with a focus on tangible, real world design, like product packaging and wayfinding signage. As a designer turned fabricator, Kelsi’s recent forays into fabrication include using wood, metal, acrylic, paper, textiles and leather to design environmental signage and more. Fabrication, graphic design, and social media management are the three services currently offered by Sharp Design Co.



Designing for Letterpress

Power & Light Press

Power and Light Press is a ship-shape print shop built to handle all of life’s messy emotions.  Ever since we flipped the switch on in 2009, our cards have been designed, printed, and packaged in-house, meaning each and every piece has come straight from our own blood, sweat, and tears.  Metaphorically.  For the most part.  Our company is fueled by a fleet of all-female letterpress printers with clean hands and filthy mouths: a bunch of real class acts who like making real-ass things.


Copy for Design

Tee Iseminger


Tee Iseminger is a freelance copywriter and communications advisor for clients in civic and non-profit spaces like political campaigns, labor unions, healthcare initiatives, and community development programs. She splits her time between Santa Fe, Reno, and Twitter (@teeiseminger).


Social Media Presence

Lindsey Maestes

Lindsey is a lifestyle blogger based in Albuquerque, NM. She has a passion for God, people, food and fashion. She started Sparrows + Lily to openly share the raw & real parts of life with the goal of encouraging others.

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