Nikki Villagomez is the Creative Studio Manager at Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP. She has been an
AIGA member since 1999.
What’s your proudest accomplishment?
PERSONAL: I am most proud of my family. It’s not easy navigating a career, the ups and downs of life, a crazy obsessive love of typography while being married, and raising two crazy kids (Kai, 9 years old | Ayla, 8 years old). My husband has always been so supportive of me and I’m really proud of our kids and the people they are becoming.
PROFESSIONAL: My career. I have had the opportunity to work in New York City, freelance, teach graphic design and typography at the University level, and be an in-house designer. My current position has proven to be the most challenging and the most rewarding. My job at Dixon Hughes Goodman, one of the top 20 accounting firms in the United States with over 2,000 employees in 12 states, is to manage the Creative Studio for the firm. On a regular basis, I am given the opportunity to demonstrate the power graphic design has in communicating a message more effectively. I often feel like a square peg in a round hole being a graphic designer in an accounting firm, but having the support from the senior leadership, my boss, and my team has been such a rewarding experience. It has truly made me a better designer and I’m very proud of the company I work for.
How and why did you get involved with AIGA? How long have you been involved with the organization?
AIGA has been the one constant throughout my professional career and I’m so proud to be a member of this awesome organization. I became a student member of the AIGA New Orleans chapter when I was a student at LSU (GEAUX Tigers!). I became a professional member after I graduated and moved to New York City. When I moved to Columbia, SC, there wasn’t a chapter so I founded AIGA SC with Bob Wertz and served as president for two years. After living in Columbia for nine years, I moved to Ohio and joined the AIGA Cleveland chapter. I just relocated to Charlotte last summer and am now a proud member of AIGA Charlotte. I don’t plan on moving again!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Inspiration has never been something I seek out; it is more about being acutely aware of my environment. I have found that it is really important for me to have a balance. If I’m able to achieve that balance on a regular basis, being inspired is there. This became very apparent when I became an in-house designer. It took about two months for me to start realizing I needed an outlet. Being strapped to two typefaces and 13 Pantone colors day in and day out made me realize I needed a way to balance the structure of my job. I started my blog which let me delve into the beautiful world of typography. I research (5:30am-8am) how culture affects typography and post my findings regularly which gives me the balance I need at work. In addition to my blog, I have found that attending conferences like HOW, AIGA, TypeCon, and Creative Mornings has been incredibly valuable for inspiration and connecting with other graphic designers who have helped me along the way.
What is your favorite book and why?
“Start With Why” by Simon Sinek. My favorite quote from this book is “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” This really resonates with me. If I don’t believe in the work I’m doing then why in the world will anyone else? I find it incredibly important to be passionate about each project I work on, both professionally and personally. Being able to explain the “why” has totally changed how I approach projects and the discussions that come from them have been much more meaningful and deliberate.
Each month, AIGA Charlotte strives to highlight one of its members. If you have any ideas for our next spotlight, please contact Leigh Anne Zeitouni at email@example.com.