ISA XDP: Where are they now?

Did you know?

There have been more than 300 successful ISA XDP participants since 2013. Let’s take a look to see where they are today!

MJ Didonna

At the start of 2019, with only a year of experience, I was eager to continue growing as an experiential designer. I still had plenty to learn when it came to specifying materials and products, working with fabricators, and understanding how 2D designs would eventually be constructed. My experience at the ISA XDP was invaluable, as it helped me improve in each of those areas.

The ISA XDP connected me not only with other talented designers in my field, but also with top-notch fabricators and suppliers. I was able to gain a better understanding of important parts of the fabrication process, and examine innovative products and technology first hand. Perhaps most importantly, I was encouraged to ask plenty of questions, and everyone I met was welcoming and willing to share their experience and knowledge with me. As a result, my professional network is much stronger: Even a year later, I have continued to reach out to those I met through the XDP to learn about new products and processes, and ask additional questions.

Attending the XDP helped boost my self-confidence and ability to help make our team’s visions become reality at Two Twelve. Since attending, I’ve been able to engage more thoughtfully in the design process and am more assured suggesting alternative materials, fabrication processes, and construction details. I highly recommend the ISA XDP to designers, no matter their skill level—whether you’re just joining the industry, or seeking out the latest innovations to incorporate into your practice, the ISA XDP has something for you.

Megan Kranzler
Olive Ridley Studios

The virtual ISA XDP was incredibly helpful to me as a designer and small business owner. It provided me with the opportunity to learn about products and companies I was previously unfamiliar with, or had little knowledge of. The time spent in small groups with representatives from the sponsoring companies allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of their product offerings through a relaxed Q&A format. I walked away with an arsenal of knowledge and ideas that will help me better serve my clients. The connections made and information learned through XDP are absolutely invaluable to me, even as an industry veteran of 10 years.

Daisy Corso
ArtHouse Design

When given the opportunity to go to the International Sign Association conference in 2018, I couldn’t imagine the impact it would have on my perspective of the industry as a new Environmental Graphic Designer. Alongside my coworker, Abigail Knab, it was both of our first time going to a conference specifically for signage. Needless to say, we were nerding out about materials, paint finishes, new technologies, etc. throughout the entire time! As an Environmental Graphic Designer that spends plenty of time designing brands, signage families, and working with fabricators, it’s important to be fully equipped and up-to-date on the latest technologies the fabrication world has to offer. ISA International Sign Expo allowed my coworker and I to be fully equipped with new ideas based on latest technologies and got us excited to try new solutions when designing concepts.

I still am in contact with the wonderful people I met at the conference and couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to expand my network. This conference ignited my passion for collaboration and thoughtful conversations regarding problem-solving and brand expansion. I would recommend this once-in-a-lifetime experience to anyone considering the Environmental Graphic Design Field as it was an incredible and priceless experience to learn about the industry and what the latest technologies have to offer worldwide.

Elizabeth Griswold

ISA’s XDP is an inspiring program, providing the opportunity to create industry connections, inspiration and educational information for the field of Experiential Graphic Design. My XDP colleagues from 2014 have grown to be an invaluable network of peers in which I frequently connect for peer-to-peer mentioning, potential partnerships and sharing of technical information.

Four years later, I was selected as a volunteer leader, alongside one of my XDP colleagues, to join the Research Committee with the Sign Research Foundation (SRF), ISA’s research group focused on empowering communities through research within the sign industry. My participation in XDP has offered an expansion in my professional network and unique opportunities to make a difference as a leader in the industry.

Matthew DeLade
Tangram Design

In 2018, I attended the XDP as a young designer. I had learned a lot about the design side of the signage world at my firm but my knowledge of the fabrication side needed improvement. By attending the XDP, I hoped to gain a better understanding of the fabrication processes and materials that signage manufacturers use.

My experience at the XDP was more than I could have hoped for. I had multiple opportunities to meet with fabricators/ suppliers, to ask questions, and to learn about unfamiliar materials and processes. After the scheduled XDP events, many of the fabricators and suppliers were kind enough to walk me through the International Sign Expo during my free time. It was my first time attending the Expo and the overwhelming size and amount of vendors was easier to navigate with their help. They pointed out different materials and discussed alternative processes that they used in their shops. This created an open dialog that allowed me to gain valuable insight into the fabrication side of the signage industry. I would not have received this immersive experience, if I did not attend the XDP.

As a younger designer, my experience at the XDP has helped my professional career tremendously. My expanded knowledge of fabrication processes and materials made me a better designer and gave me the opportunity to have a greater role within my firm where I was recently promoted to a Senior Designer. The connections I formed at the XDP have also been a valuable resource. I am able to reach out to the people I met, if I have any questions regarding a certain fabrication process or material. Having this support has allowed me to improve my designs and stay current with signage processes and materials.

Attending the XDP and International Sign Expo is something I would recommend to any designer, young or old, who is looking to become a better designer and improve their knowledge about signage fabrication.

Keith Davis
KRD Design

I came in to the [ISA] XDP in 2014 through a recommendation by a fellow designer who had attended the previous year. As a consultant who spends much of my time working with both designers and fabricators, I am always interested in opportunities to bridge those gaps and increase the dialogue. As such, ISA International Sign Expo is an ideal environment to do so.

From a networking perspective, I would say the [ISA] XDP is probably the single best investment of a few days’ time. I am still in regular contact with several of my fellow delegates having made some great friendships. We make a point to get together at industry events and several even became clients to my consulting business.

I have been very impressed by ISA as a forward-thinking organization, and was inspired to advance the mission of their foundation, the Sign Research Foundation (SRF), as it speaks to a legitimate need in our industry. I have served on two SRF committees since 2017, and in January 2019, I was honored to begin my first term on the SRF Board of Trustees. As a proponent of evidenced based design, I am inspired by this organization’s efforts to educate and inform the industry and I am looking forward to making meaningful contributions to this mission.

I make a point to recommend at least 1-2 fellow designers to the XDP program every year based on my positive experience.

Ted Kiper
Cardosi-Kiper Design Group

The ISA XDP Program was particularly pivotal in my development as a designer and business leader. I first became familiar with the program through our professional organization SEGD (Society of Experiential Graphic Design). I was encouraged to take part in the program because it offered a platform that brought my peers together and gave us an opportunity to interact with sign fabricators and suppliers annually at ISA International Sign Expo. Our firm is always trying to look for opportunities to create mutual awareness and open communications with our fabrication partners. Additionally we look to educate ourselves about new materials, fabrication processes and searching out partners that can offer certain capabilities for specific projects.

Upon attending the ISA XPD I was very surprised to uncover such a unique program and to learn more about the International Sign Association (ISA). I immediately saw that the organization would be a great benefit and extension of our own professional organization SEGD. At the program many of the attendees and I discussed these possibilities at great length. It was very refreshing to be able to find so many like minded individuals that saw the same potentials as me.

One of the unexpected and most beneficial parts of the program were the professional connections and friendships that I made with those attending. Five years after the program I am still working with many of the attendees and contacts that I made over the couple of days. Since attending the ISA XDP, I have furthered my involvement with both ISA and SRF (Sign Research Foundation). In 2016, I joined the Board of Trustees for the Sign Research Foundation, and then was elected as Chair of the Foundation in 2018. The Foundation has given me the opportunity to help guide the Research in the Sign industry that has helped both educate our firm as well as our clients. It has also extended my professional network and has given me the opportunity to build my skills as a design professional in both presentation and educational skills.

I wish this had been available to me as a younger professional. We have encouraged and recommended to staff within our firm as well as other firms to take part in this program.