Hi, I'm Joan Cairney,
a Northern California-born art director based in Chicago with 20 years experience as a storyteller and communicator.

I thrive on cracking open the manuscript, bringing it to life with the layering of research and design. My focus is to move the story forward and create an impactfully rich experience for both the audience and writer.

MORE than the BIO: I am an open-water swimmer throughout the year in Lake Michigan.

Email / LinkedIn
 

EXPERIENCE
JoanCairney.com
Visual journalist, art director
(2018-present)
Editorial narratives with smart design.
Currently area of interest/study:
Adobe XD - print, digital and mobile

American Planning Association
Chicago
Art director (2011-2018)

Chicago Tribune
Chicago
Art director (1998-2009)

Loyola University Chicago
Adjunct instructor (2006)

New York Times 
New York
Presentation editor (1997-1998)

Chicago Tribune
Chicago
Art director (1995-1997)

Central American Mission Partners
Oakland, CA
Co-founder, non-profit human rights organization (1992-1995)

Lesher Communications
Walnut Creek, CA
Designer/infographic artist (1990-1995)

EDUCATION
University of California, Berkeley 
BA History of Art

Additional studies: California College of Arts, San Francisco; School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Continuing Studies;  University of DePaul, Chicago; The Second City and Victory Gardens Theater, Chicago.

AWARDS
Work recognized by Association Media & Publishing, the Society of News Design, Print Magazine Regional and Society of American Illustration.

Grants for personal work:
Ike/Florence Sewell Scholarship Grant, SAIC Merit Scholarship