Senior Graphic Designer Meredith Carrington sat down to answer a few questions about her work at the ICA.
What’s your role at the ICA?
I’m the gatekeeper of the visual brand for the ICA. There’s an amazing visual identity that was created by a number of folks, including the VCUarts staff and John Paolini, a VCUarts alum with Sullivan & Company. They created this really dynamic visual identity that I’m now trying to live into and decide how we’ll use. A lot of my responsibility is in print projects, but I also provide advice on signage, digital applications, and things like that. When we get into our physical space, I’ll also be helping curatorial with exhibition design and graphics. In general, I attend to all of the ICA’s visual needs.
What do you think is the most important part of the ICA’s visual brand?
I really love what John Paolini said about why they made the decisions they made, especially with regards to the logo. We have this “I-C-A” graphic which is really cropped–so much that, to some people, it may not even look like letters. I like that it’s unfinished and incomplete. It’s indicative of evolution, progress, and change, and harkens back to what we’re doing as a non-collecting Institute. We won’t have pieces that stay here in perpetuity. We’ll always be changing, and so will the conversations we have.
What were you doing before you came to the ICA? How do those experiences inform what you’re doing now?
I’ve been working as a designer in Richmond for 16 years. I started off at the Richmond Times-Dispatch right when I got out of school. That was very production-oriented and it was a wonderful way to learn about technology and process. Then I transitioned to John Tyler Community College where I provided creative direction across a lot of different platforms. So one day I’d be designing brochures for professors and the next I’d be making sure our visual identity was reflected in a construction project. An important thing I took away from JTCC was their mission of accessibility. I find that there is a similarity with ICA in that we’re trying to make contemporary art, and the broader cultural conversations around it, more accessible to everyone.
What’s the biggest challenge of your job?
The most immediate challenge right now is getting to the opening; it’s a tall order tactically. There’s lots of moving parts and a lot of design needs. In the bigger picture, the challenge is being able to be come up with visuals and materials that are evocative and thought provoking for such a dynamic arts community. Richmond is a city of amazing artists, and so to create things that will get those folks excited is a lot of pressure! I’m constantly working on that professional development and seeking inspiration–I need to flood my mind with beautiful things!
What does contemporary art mean to you?
I’m sure my answer will change a lot between now and a year from now, or even ten years from now, but, to me, contemporary means art that defies convention.
What are you most excited about?
I’m most excited about creating a safe place for interesting conversations that, especially right now, are really timely. I think the ICA is going to be such a gift to the community. I think something like this is so important in the evolution of our society, and it’s pretty amazing to be a part of.