November 19, 2006

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Alumna’s career soars in mountain states

By Amanda Tower

Published: Friday, July 28, 2006

After she graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design, alumna Leila Singleton (B.F.A., graphic design, 2003) returned home to Fort Collins, Colo. She planned to work at a temporary non-design job while she finished her portfolio, but her mother had another idea.

“My mom asked me why I didn’t apply for a temporary job in my field instead, and reminded me of Kelly Rizley Advertising,” she said. Singleton had previously contacted Kelly Rizley Advertising & PR Inc., a local agency, about a possible summer internship, but had to return to Savannah for classes before she and agency staff could connect.

“I was convinced they would never remember me, but I was called for an interview and by the end of the week I was offered the job,” she said.

During her three-year tenure with the agency, she has honed her design skills and even has delved into various other areas to accomplish challenging and award-winning projects.

As art director, Singleton’s specialty is print design, but she has also completed projects in campaign design and strategy, Web and interactive design, DVD design and production, illustration, photography, storyboarding, copywriting, motion graphics, video and sound editing, and scriptwriting for television, radio and video.

Recently, she served as project lead on an assignment to develop more than 30 touch-screen kiosks for Wyoming Travel and Tourism. The kiosks, now located in each county in Wyoming, use video content complemented by interactive maps to guide tourists through the attractions they can visit in each area. Last summer, she wrote, prepared and presented the proposal that won her firm the account.

“We were able to beat out several other contenders for the project by proposing a solution that allows for tracking of visitor footsteps and easy updates without Internet access,” said Singleton. “This is a must as some kiosks are in locations where being hooked up to the Internet is out of the question.”

Not only did she handle the graphic design and art direction for the project, but she also managed a team of Web developers and programmers, researched and wrote voiceover scripts for more than 20 videos, directed communications with more than 25 project contacts, researched hardware and software, and helped install and configure the software on the kiosk units.

“This was, undoubtedly, the most unique project I have worked on to date,” Singleton said. “It was fun, exhausting, challenging and rewarding.”

She outsourced some parts of the kiosk development, including the fabrication, to Kiosk Information Systems in Louisville, Colo., and the Flash implementation and PHP programming to outside talent. She also worked with SCAD alumnus Kyle Winkelman (B.F.A., computer art, 2003), who developed a 3-D spur animation for the main menu.

Singleton also designed a 20-page visitors’ guide for the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and last fall she completed an interactive recruitment CD-ROM for Laramie County Community College. One of her other favorite projects is an animated 30-second television PSA for a regional wellness center. Outside of her regular job, she keeps busy with personal projects, such as inking drawings for a friend who is illustrating a book by Mark Hoog.

Singleton said the art-related skills she acquired at SCAD, especially color theory and Photoshop, have been vital to her career.

“I bring my notes from [graphic design professor] Louis Baker’s class to work with me regularly, and my production design class with Andrew Fulp put me ahead of the game,” she said. “Designing for the screen and a laser printer is one thing, but designing for press is completely another.”

She served as head resident assistant at SCAD, a position that she credited with helping her develop other vital, non-art-related skills — such as organization, leadership, diplomacy and people skills — that are essential in working with clients and supervising freelancers.

“My experiences in the SCAD graphic design department amply prepared me for projects like the kiosk project, and for a business where design, diplomacy and a broad range of talents work in tandem,” she said. “When I entered the workforce after graduation, I was truly ready to hit the ground running.”

Singleton’s designs have won numerous awards, and she also has donated her talent to assist the community. A poster she designed for the Hurricane Poster Project, a post-Hurricane Katrina fundraiser, is featured for sale in the organization’s online gallery, Proceeds from poster sales benefit the Red Cross.

Singleton also was named the winner and judges’ pick in the ONE Condoms 2005 Design Contest, and her design will grace the new product wrappers. In addition, 5,000 condoms will be donated to a charity of her choice. She was named Best Artist by the American Scholastic Press Association and recently exhibited four watercolor paintings and a photograph in the Fort Collins Youth Art Show.

“Aesthetically, my work is always evolving to meet the demands of a diverse client base or to make use of new skills and knowledge,” she said. “All of my work is unified by a long-standing obsession with typography and an interest in concept — I don’t like to design without meaning or purpose.”

To view Singleton’s work, visit

Tower is a publications editor.

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