Gretchen Schisla’s graphic design packs dynamic social impact

by | Jun 1, 2016

The American Institute of Graphic Arts has recognized Associate Professor of Graphic Design Gretchen Schisla as a 2016 AIGA Design Fellow.

Associate Professor of Graphic Design Gretchen Schisla (center) motivates her students to pursue projects that endorse social good. (Photo by Dan Younger)

In the last 14 years, University of Missouri–St. Louis Associate Professor of Graphic Design Gretchen Schisla has jump-started student careers. She engages students in the classroom with the same passion and professional expertise she brings to her strategic design firm, Enrich Creative. And Schisla has learned her students have no problem matching her drive and enthusiasm.

“UMSL students are a resourceful group of gifted creatives who work harder than anyone I know,” she said.

Schisla believes design thrives best when it reaches beyond project demands and serves as a platform for social progress. In the spirit of Design for Good, a positive change initiative launched by the American Institute of Graphic Arts, her graphic design seniors identified capstone projects that focused on good causes and showcased their work on the Enrich Creative website.

For her contributions to student success and the design industry at large, Schisla has been named a 2016 AIGA Design Fellow and also the AIGA St. Louis chapter’s member of the month this May.

“This is a great recognition for Gretchen and speaks well of her years as a dedicated professor at UMSL,” said Art and Art History department chair Maureen Quigley, “and as a practicing designer in her professional role as the founder and principal of Enrich Creative. Gretchen embodies both the pedagogical rigor and the entrepreneurial spirit that is so welcome in our program.”

Schisla founded Enrich Creative to work with individuals, organizations and companies who act as agents for positive change. Barnes Jewish Hospital, The Plantrician Project and Green Lagoon Wellbeing Resort (Costa Rica) are a few organizations that enjoy Enrich Creative’s services. Balancing a business and a full course load could be stressful, but for Schisla, it’s an opportunity and joy.

“It has been gratifying to help build and sustain a distinctive program with a reputation for graduating outstanding students,” she said. “Literally hundreds of young designers have gone on to pursue rewarding careers in the St. Louis design community and beyond. It means the world to know I’m a part of their success.”

The UMSL Experience

Ron Austin

Ron Austin