Symbolic Illustration: Visual Language for IAC

Approaching the world visually is an adventure that introduces me to the most inspiring and creative people I could imagine. Looking back on such experiential richness, I introduce this portfolio series with an early sample that helped to form the direction of my portfolio.

Illinois Arts Council

From my early career, I choose this sample because it is so graphic. It set up a strong visual series that spoke directly to the state’s constituents. By depicting the range of artistic tools depicted, every medium is included—ok, a shoelace for dance is stretching it. Still, the audience for these illustrations are artists from musicians to sculptors to dancers to craftsmen to photographers to actors.

The other departments had related images that fit their distinct constituents so the visual approach had to fit in the family look but still give distinction. These visuals offer a flexible aesthetic language.

The Illinois Arts Council illustration

When the director moved to California, I was heart broken. Because when management changes, so does the graphic talent that serves. Each new director has to remake everything in his or her own image. It is human nature.

One sunny summer day years later, I had the courage to look at all my past clients and why they became past. 95% of the reason I lost an account was due to management change. Surviving that is next to impossible. Leverage and consistency are both lost. If change needs to be expressed, getting rid of previous images is the fastest way to do that. Nevermind brand recognition. Unfortunately. But that is the nature of government-related clients.

So IAC and I parted ways but I remain friends with several of my colleagues from there. They have moved on to either larger organizations or their own consulting businesses. Some, so sadly, are no longer with us—some of the best and brightest have left this earth.

The rest of us continue on. As a freelancer, I have always hoped to find another client like Carl Petrick who was the director of IAC. He thrived in California directing their state agency, but died of illness there after a few years. He is recognized my ability to define a visual language they could build upon.

I hope that you enjoy this sample and will view more from my portfolio, keeping in mind how I can be of assistance to help you meet your communication goals. Please contact me at


About wisdomofwork

I have a passion for publishing: I wear a designer's hat, editor's coat, and publisher's shoes. See more about my work at
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