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AIGA Nebraska’s 2016 Fellow: Jim Wolf

Written by
AIGA Nebraska
September 6, 2016

The AIGA Fellow award is the highest honor an AIGA chapter can bestow upon one of its members. It is a means of recognizing designers who have made a significant contribution to raising the standards of excellence in practice and conduct within their local or regional design community as well as in their local AIGA chapter—and so Jim Wolf’s nomination was a surprise to none who know him or his work.

Jim Wolf is a full-time faculty member in the Design, Interactivity & Media Arts program at Metropolitan Community College, where he teaches a range of courses in graphic and web design.

Jim has been a well-known and universally respected voice for design and an figure in Nebraska’s creative community for the better part of twelve years. As one of Mr. Wolf’s nominators put it: “It’s difficult to mention Jim’s name in any group of designers in Nebraska without somebody chiming in with a story of how he helped shape their skills or guide their career.”

Jim has also been a longstanding member of AIGA, and served on the board for a time, guiding the local chapter through a difficult period and deftly accomplishing the unenviable task of serving as both President and Director of Finance simultaneously.

The award was presented last Saturday, August 13 at the AIGA Nebraska 25th Anniversary Gala. In introducing Jim Wolf as our chapter’s third Fellow award recipient, current chapter President Amy Markham remarked,

“[Jim] is the true definition of AIGA. He has the heart to propel the organization, and the industry, forward. He’s deeply rooted in AIGA Nebraska and has a vested interest in its success as an organization and as a substantial glue to bring the design community across Nebraska together. In many ways, he helped this chapter survive so that it is even here today, celebrating its 25th year.”

Mr. Wolf’s acceptance speech was characteristically marked by humor and humility; Jim thanked and credited many who had helped him along his own path, particularly including his husband Mike and fellow MCC instructor Luann Matthies, and explained why he loves what he does:

“I am fascinated by design,” he said. “I have the best job; I get paid to be fascinated.”

We’d like to share a quote from Jim, which he submitted as part of his nomination interview, and which we feel is particularly emblematic of the fearless passion for design he carries and instills into his students. When asked what advice he had for emerging creatives, Jim responded thusly:

“I know that the idea of ‘the internet makes everyone think the same way’ has been said a billion times, but I’m going to +1 that. If you develop your ideas (or career, or life) by only looking at what other people are doing, you risk being a lemming. I say, screw that. Be curious, be brave, take chances. Don’t just go out on a limb…swing from it with gleeful abandon.”

Congratulations, Jim Wolf, on your achievement, and thank you for everything you’ve done and continue to do for Nebraska design, AIGA and our local chapter!

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