Rolling Out

5 questions with LaShun Tines, diversity lead of AIGA Chicago

LaShun TInes

(Photo Credit: David Anthony)

As a senior art director, Lashun Tines has contributed to the creative campaigns of some of Chicago’s premiere agencies, including Leo Burnett, Common Ground, Havas, VSA Partners, Sapient, and Razorfish.

The Chicago native’s love of art and design led him to become a contributor to Chicago’s independent art scene. Past exhibitions include Go Tell Mama/Officially, Unofficial (the first ever Obama art exhibition in the country), Run, Blago RunPork and Politics: Democracy Chicago Style and the creation of Diaspora: The Art of Blackness Exhibition (2012, 2013 and 2014).

Formerly the art director for The Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League, Tines is currently a member of the advisory board for The School of Visual and Media Communication at Kennedy King College and Diversity Lead for AIGA Chicago.

Rolling out recently caught up with Tines to discuss the mission of AIGA Chicago and some of its upcoming events.

For those unfamiliar, please tell us about AIGA Chicago and its mission?
AIGA Chicago’s mission is to educate and advance the Chicago design community via the following four pillars:

1: Unite
Fostering dialogue and cultivating relationships
Creating shared experiences and opportunities for collaborative engagement
Bridging the gaps between levels of experience and expertise

2: Educate
Providing creative, strategic and professional guidance
Producing and distributing original content
Offering instruction, critique and mentorship in distinctively supportive environments

3: Advance
Delivering opportunities for professional growth
Taking a leadership position on design both nationally and internationally
Expanding the reach and role of design in business and society

4: Chicago Design Community
Practitioners and students of design and related creative fields
Friends, fans and patrons of design and the visual arts
Clients, partners, sponsors and representatives of the broader Chicago business ecosystem

What can attendees expect from the upcoming Diversity Forum?
The Diversity Forum, which will take place on April 8 at Google’s main Chicago office, will focus on the challenges that minorities face in breaking into — and growing in — the creative industries of design and advertising. Attendees will have an opportunity to gain insight from industry thought-leaders from Havas Worldwide, Leo Burnett, Common Ground, Burrell Communications, FCB, Digitas, Birk Creative and GravityTank.

Can you tell us about the job shadowing initiative AIGA Chicago is partnering with Chicago Public Schools to execute? 
Students from Chicago Public School’s CTE program will visit SproutSocial, One Design Company, 50,000feet, Morningstar and Leo Burnett’s department of design as part of a citywide job shadow program. Students will learn firsthand about the breath of possibilities afforded to designers today in Chicago, considering brand and interactive strategy, product design, advertising and more. This partnership between AIGA Chicago and CPS marks our continued commitment to serve the youngest members of Chicago’s creative community — the next generation that will make a mark on our design culture for years to come.

What is the Diaspora Exhibition?
The Diaspora “The Art of Blackness,” to be held this year on July 10, is a yearly exhibition that allows for a meeting of the minds between African American artists and design professionals. The exhibit’s goal is to provide these artists with both an avenue of expression and an introduction to potential patrons and resources. Invited artists are encouraged to utilize their medium of choice (graphic design, photography, painting, etc) to depict their interpretation of the black experience in America.

What’s next for you and AIGA Chicago?
We’re also working on a rebranding initiative for a project called Beat 626.

A few months back a beloved teacher was shot and killed near Congressman Bobby Rush’s office in the Chatham neighborhood. While the income is higher in Chatham than many of the other lower middle-class South Sde communities, there is a steady rise in gang activity and violence. During the day, the streets are constantly active and patrolled in the city of Chicago Police Beat-626. Many residents still choose to stay indoors for safety, both day and night. The public parks and community centers are often too dangerous to visit. For these reasons Congressman Rush asked us to create an awareness campaign and thus Beat 626 was born. Hirsch high school sits in the middle of Chatham so Sally Armbuster (World Business Chicago), Alisa Wolfson (Leo Burnett and AIGA) and myself developed a campaign where we selected five Hirsch students to participate and collaborate to provide inspiring conversation, honest opinions and real insight into the problems the Chatham community faces. We came up with a couple of begin the rebranding of the area: we’ve created some banners and posters encouraging optimism around the community in addition to street art/murals (that are in progress) to re-enforce critical thinking in decision making: both with the desired result being to provoke conversation and act as a catalyst for change.

For more information on AIGA Chicago, please visit

To learn more about the Diaspora exhibition, please visit and join the Facebook group at

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