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Meet the Jury

Jim Ales

design director
Monterey Bay Aquarium

Jim Ales is the design director for the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California. He is responsible for the creative direction, design and maintenance of the aquarium brand and communication programs. Ales’ work, and the aquarium, is changing the way individuals, corporations and government agencies understand and interact with ocean environments. Ales lectures frequently on nonprofit branding from a positive economic and social growth perspective and he serves on the AIGA National Board of Directors and is on the Founding Board of Advisors for the AIGA National Center for Sustainable Design. His work has appeared in many design and museum award publications and he is the recipient of the AIGA Environmental Leadership Award. His commentary on conservation branding will be featured in both Allworth Press and Rockport Press publications in 2007.

Cathie Bleck


Cathie Bleck studied design and painting at the University of Illinois. She grew up in a family of artists, as one of nine children and was raised in rural Illinois on a tree nursery owned and operated by her grandparents. In this bucolic setting, she developed a fascination with the sinuous forms found in nature. Bleck has been the recipient of many awards including a gold medal from the Society of Illustrators Museum of American Illustration. She has lectured, conducted workshops and exhibited throughout North and South America and Europe. She is represented by Enid Lawson Gallery in London. A definitive art collection of her work Open Spaces was published in 2006 featuring over 80 works of art. Bleck lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with her husband, George Muschler, and their three children.

Tyler Darden


Tyler Darden earned a degree in illustration with a minor in photography at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Communication Art and Design. He has worked at three magazines and is currently employed at Virginia Living magazine as art director. Over the years, Tyler’s work has been published in the Art Director’s Club of New York Annual, the Communication Arts Design Annual, Print magazine’s Regional Design Annual and the Society of Publication Design Annuals and SPOTS competition. Recently, he shared a Society of Illustrators editorial gold medal honor as art director for a piece with illustrator Sterling Hundley. He spends his free time painting, wakeboarding and experimenting with an old 11 x 14 ultra-large format camera. He lives in Richmond, Virginia, the city of confederate monuments, with his wife, two daughters and son, and teaches part-time at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Communication Arts department.

Susan L. Mitchell

senior vice-president/art director
Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Susan L. Mitchell is senior vice-president/art director for Farrar, Straus & Giroux in New York. A graduate of Pratt Institute, Mitchell has spent her entire career in the book publishing business. Awards and citations she has received include Designer of the Year, Literary Market Place and The American Book Award. Career focus articles about her have appeared in Adweek Winners, Photo Design and Photo District News. She has been included in cover and book shows for AIGA, Type Directors Club, New York Art Directors Club, Los Angeles Art Directors Club, Bookbinders Guild and published in Communication Arts, Print and Society of Illustrators annuals.

Bill Robbins

art buyer and print production manager

Bill Robbins is the art buyer and print production manager for RIESTER, which has offices in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Salt Lake City. While earning an advertising degree from the University of Colorado, he interned at the Boulder Daily Camera and was production manager of the student-run Campus Press. After spending two years typesetting for the commercial printing industry he led the in-house marketing department at BRW/Denver, a large urban planning and architectural engineering firm. Robbins joined RIESTER in 1989 and has been instrumental in its leadership in social-cause marketing and brand activism. The firm’s work has been recognized in numerous award shows and periodicals, including Adweek, Communication Arts Advertising, Design and Illustration Annuals, Creativity and the Graphis Poster Annual.