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Designer Kirsten Camara will "question everything" in March 24 lecture at ISU

March 09, 2015

Kirsten Camara
Camara designed HartungKemp's "Wheel of Daily Destiny" holiday card as a horoscope selector to bring a bit of humor to the new year.
Camara's "Analog Memory Desk" is a tool to record all the small items you write down but intend to forget tomorrow.


AMES, Iowa — Minneapolis-based designer Kirsten Camara will present her widely varied work in a lecture Tuesday, March 24, at Iowa State University.

In "Question Everything," Camara also will share 10 practical things she has learned in the design industry—ranging from the power of simplicity to the importance of surprise—that students can practice in their own work.  

Part of the spring 2015 Graphic Design Speaker Series sponsored by the ISU Department of Graphic Design, Camara's presentation will be from noon to 1 p.m. in room 307 College of Design. The talk is free and open to the public.

Camara focuses on developing art, design and community-based work that "shifts the ordinary conversation," she said. Her work explores the relationship between the everyday and couture, security and danger, memory and insignificance, and the personal and the universal. It spans from uniquely crafted print advertisements to furniture to experiments designed simply to make people smile.

Camara holds a bachelor of fine arts in graphic design from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), Baltimore. She also studied art direction at Miami Ad School and attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She has worked for design and advertising firms including Olson and Mono, where she designed for companies such as Apple and Target.

"I originally moved to the ad industry because I wanted to work on the whole idea, not just the identity part or the poster part," Camara said, referring to the fragmentation that sometimes occurs in graphic design. "I deeply believe exploring the world is the best kind of education and I try to keep myself moving and changing at regular intervals."

Bernard Canniffe, professor and chair of graphic design, taught Camara as an undergraduate student when he was the graphic design chair at MICA and invited her to speak at Iowa State to inspire current students.

"Her capstone project—a children's mobile educational exhibition on infant lead poisoning—set the benchmark of what I expect those projects to be: real, groundbreaking, smart and exceptionally designed," Canniffe said. "Her work since then has been nothing short of amazing."

Camara has been featured in various media sources, such as Good magazine and the blogs Design Work Life and Design You Trust. She also has received recognition from AIGA, AIGA Minnesota, CA Interactive, The Show MN, International Andy Awards, Graphic Design USA and Print Regional Design Annual.

Bernard Canniffe, Graphic Design Chair, (515) 294-5676,
Jaden Urbi, Design Communications,
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,