Cheryl Watson’s Vision for a Graphiculture
Quiet, charming, personable designer; driven, dynamic, successful leader. Cheryl Watson, founder of 22-year-old Graphiculture, has an enlightening story to share about her design career in Minneapolis. And nine of us got to hear it during Lunch with a Visionary on October 16, 2014.

Early Career
Following graduation from MCAD with a major in Illustration and minor in Design, Cheryl was fired within six months of landing her first design position. But Dayton’s Creative Director Karen Brown saw talent in the St. Paul native and snapped her up. Cheryl stayed 10 years, working alongside several top art directors on direct mail, catalogs, packaging, posters, event invitations, and ads.

The Launch of Graphiculture
In 1993, Cheryl knew it was time to leave Dayton’s. After landing a large West Coast client, she started saving money, negotiated a lease at the Consortium next to the Fine Line, named her business Graphiculture (“one word, one c” that depicts the world we live in), and bought her first 650-mb computer (what power!).

To address the fashion and lifestyle assignments from her new clients, Cheryl initially brought in contractors, then began hiring full-time designers. Her husband joined the company shortly thereafter. Expanding and contracting her business over the years, Cheryl had to downsize for good in 2008. While very sad to lay off her colleagues, happily one of them recently re-joined Graphiculture as Cheryl’s business partner.

Key Lessons
For professionals: Keep your reputation, relationships, and quality of work intact. And listen to your heart.

For job seekers: Show initiative. One of Cheryl’s employees did some additional spec work for his portfolio between his first and second interview, just to show how interested he was in Graphiculture.

Cheryl Watson Event

Summary and photo by AIGA Fellow, Heather Olson

Contact Leadership

Emily McLaughlin
Emily McLaughlin
Director of Communications
Emily is a graphic designer and creative director based in Saint Paul, MN. She passionate about the potential for design to cultivate collaboration and cleave opportunities. As Communications Director of AIGA Minnesota, her emphasis is on supporting and engaging the design community while kindling new connections.