Life By Design: The Legacy of Design in Chicago

In a series of three table talks, Joseph Michael Essex will share his thoughts, experiences and stories about his 50+ years in design from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, to Oprah Winfrey, to the Design of Everything.

Joseph came to Chicago, from public television in Pittsburgh, in 1973 to work for one of our most iconic design offices, Unimark International. He went on to work at the Center for Communication Planning and the Center for Advanced Research in Design (CARD), subsidiaries of Container Corporation of America.

In 1976 he started the design department in the Chicago office of Burson-Marsteller, one of the world’s largest public relations firms. Over the next 10 years he became the Senior Vice President, Director of Visual Communication Planning for the Offices in the Americas and Corporate Design Director Worldwide.

With his wife and design partner Nancy Denney Essex, they started Essex Two International in 1989, focusing on brand and naming related initiatives.

Visit for more background.


The second in the series of three, "The Legacy of Design in Chicago" will pertain to stories of Chicago’s contributions to the culture, content and practice of design. Stories of real people that shaped past generations of design and of those who are shaping the next. What may be even more meaningful, why designers working in Chicago now should care. Knowing where we’ve come from, may help identify where design will go next.


Cost + Schedule

$10 per event

6:30pm — Doors Open

6:45pm — Talk begins


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Code of Conduct

By registering to attend this event, you agree to abide by AIGA Chicago Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct may be found here.

When & Where
Fri, Jun 9, 2023 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM CDT
22 West Washington Street
Chicago, IL 60602