Watch: Theresa Fitzgerald on Why Character Matters When Designing for Impact

07.05.24 | By
Watch: Theresa Fitzgerald on Why Character Matters When Designing for Impact

Today, we’re happy to share the latest talk in the Vignelli Center for Design Studies Design Conversation Lecture Series at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Theresa Fitzgerald is more than a graphic designer; she’s a creative leader passionate about the power of design to solve problems, connect people, and change culture. Known for her brilliance in branding, the designer has spent over 25 years growing and expanding companies, both established and new, through impactful strategies. Working for educational brands and entertainment media, Fitzgerald has harnessed the power of design to tell stories and bring characters to life for 360-degree marketing campaigns, consumer products, digital apps, and experiential design.

In her talk, Fitzgerald shared her early inspirations, education at RIT, and career designing for beloved and trusted kids’ brands, including Scholastic, Peanuts, Nickelodeon, and Sesame Street. She also shared design case studies that demonstrated striking a balance between play and purpose. Working with Elmo and Big Bird, Fitzgerald refreshed the visual approach for the iconic Sesame Street brand for new generations of preschoolers and more. Meanwhile, at Nickelodeon, she explored capturing the essence of green Slime in brand standards and graphic systems for print, product, motion, and experiential design.

To learn more about Theresa Fitzgerald, watch the entire lecture below:

Person sitting in a chair being splattered with green slime. Four different clothing items are displayed to the right, including two t-shirts, a hoodie, and a striped sweater.

Orange and white Nickelodeon-themed materials with the iconic paint splatter logo, including business cards, envelopes, and letterheads.

A girl stands by an open door while three colorful puppet characters interact with her. A yellow puppet and a purple puppet peek inside, while a blue puppet looks through a window. Text reads "Welcome Sesame Global Toolkit."

A collage of colorful Sesame Street-themed publications including brand books, style guides, and visual design guides, featuring characters like Elmo and Cookie Monster, and images of children.

To learn more about The Vignelli Center for Design Studies at RIT, they have launched digital access to the archives through Google Arts & Culture, joining over 2000 cultural institutions from around the world. The initial launch includes nearly 900 high resolution images of artifacts from the archives so that now anyone with access to the Internet and Google Arts & Culture can search the Vignelli archives or browse it by color or chronological order.

This lecture is presented with the support of RIT’s MAGIC Center.

This lecture series is made possible in part by the generosity of RIT Alumnus, Chris Bailey, and Bailey Brand Consulting.

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.