When compiling our list of people we want to interview, there are always a few names we never think will answer, either because they are super famous or super busy, or both. Ashleigh Axios agreed to do our ‘Dumb Questions’, demonstrating that designers are a strong, affable community, and that Axios herself is one of its biggest proponents.
Imagine trying to please both the Federal Government and the American people. Essentially that is what Ashleigh does, proving design is a carefully constructed tool, and she wields it with both strength and humility.
Needless to say, she has a lot on her plate. After all, she is the Creative Director of the White House. The freaking White House! Axios is a designer, a maker, a wife, as well as the President of AIGA’s Washington DC chapter.
In the spirit of powerful design, we cut through some actual, tangible red tape for this one, and her answers are brilliant, insightful, funny, smart and impressive. We are glad design in politics is proving its value and growing in importance. Thanks, Ashleigh.
Q. What is the biggest unforeseen perk of working for the government?
In no particular order, here are some of my top ones: The White House seal on my coffee cup, sugar packet, and napkin; designing things that help people relate to and engage with their elected officials; walking through the quiet White House in the evening; occasionally being in the same room with the President; and getting immediate feedback on my work from hundreds of thousands of people. Some of those perks come with any government job and others…not so much.
Q. If you’re going on a road trip with President Obama, what kind of car would you drive?
I’d like to think we’d drive a Tesla and hit the charging stations across the country. In reality, we’d probably drive “the beast,” the very secure presidential limousine that can hold the whole family. The more the merrier!
Q. Design your perfect burger.
Chopped Avocado, heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced jalapeños, lettuce, muenster cheese, free range turkey burger on a whole wheat bun. Eat it hot and pair it with a milkshake for the full effect.
Q. Favorite other Ashley?
Q. If you could design for a past President, who it be?
For a past president in office: Maybe Lyndon B. Johnson. He started the National Endowment for the Arts 50 years ago, so I’d like to think he’d appreciate the role of good design. It doesn’t hurt that he helped with conservation and U.S. beautification efforts, invested in space exploration, and removed obstacles to the right to vote. Since we’re hitting a lot of the 50th anniversaries of his achievements this year, I’m very aware of how accomplished he was.
Now caption this bad stock photo.