Member Spotlight: Leigh Brinkley

This month we’re honored to feature Leigh Brinkley on our blog. She first joined AIGA back in 1991 and in 2015 her company, Brinkley Design, will celebrate its 30th year. Leigh took the time to answer a longer list of our questions for this special extended version of our monthly Member Spotlight.

Where are you from?

Native. Grew up here, actually from Mount Holly, NC.

What attracted you to the design profession? Did you have particular mentors or experiences that opened the door to the profession for you?

Always interested in art and creative things. Started in fine art and education, double major, but soon discovered teaching was not for me. Sort of a practical approach to finding a kind of work that would offer a creative process and outlet… graphic design. Mentors: Not many on the local level when I got started. Really looked to Woody Pirtle, partner in Pentagram. I admire his body of work.

What’s your proudest accomplishment?

The fact I am still practicing the work I love, hopefully with work that is relevant.

What’s your favorite font?

Berkley is still a beautiful font.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Everything, small or large. I read a good bit. Love Public Television, Public Radio. Sounds a bit overwhelming but I try to be aware of my surroundings, introduce new experiences by traveling, revisit things or places I thought I knew… also try to take time to unplug from the constant streaming of information. I find it is important to make time to be quiet.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Fine artist.

How and why did you get involved with AIGA? Approximately how long have you been involved with the organization?

Since the early 90’s. Since there was not a local chapter at that point in time, I traveled to Raleigh for their events when I could. Also, the AIGA National Conference was and is excellent. Had a chance at the Seattle conference to hear Saul Bass in person, in a small setting… wonderful. It’s important to help extend the creative community, creative thinking. AIGA is a great way of doing that… together.

If there is karaoke at the next office party, what song will you be singing?

I’m a terrible singer, really. But “A Case Of You” by Joni Mitchell.

What is your favorite word?


What would people be surprised to know about you?

I enjoy woodworking.

Where do you see yourself as a designer in five years? In ten years? In other words, what issues do you envision will be important to you as a designer at those benchmarks in your career?

Still practicing, I hope. Working to deepen my understanding of issues, whether business or social… design is just a part of life to me, applied in all sorts of applications.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Had the good fortune to work with Colin Forbes, one of the founding partners of Pentagram. I was asking him about the process of getting work, and how that process worked for him. It can be so frustrating. He answered “How badly do you want it?” It struck me that tenacity is the key.

If you could be any super hero (existing or new), who would you be and why?

Not sure gender is an issue but always love the idea of the element of adventure, surprise, or the unexpected.  So, Lara Croft.

What’s your secret talent?

Gardening… love getting dirty.

What’s one goal (professional or personal) you have for the future?

Working on a STEM initiative in my community.

What is your favorite book and why?

Les Misérables. Such a wonderful, beautiful story, timelessness in every way.

What are you currently working on?

In the past, I have worked on community initiatives and design projects but not both of two loves together. Several projects this year have allowed me to combine both of those. I am currently working on projects in McAdenville, Gastonia, and the Village of Bald Head.

What is the best purchase you’ve ever made?

My books.

What sound or noise do you love?

Those “waking up” noises you hear in the early part of the day.

Each month, AIGA Charlotte strives to highlight one of its members. If you have any ideas for our next spotlight, please contact Mark Iafrate at

By aigacharlotte
Published January 26, 2015