Katina Rigall Zipay was presented with the EDPA Designer of the Year Award at the EDPA ACCESS Conference in San Antonio on December. 2. The award acknowledges a “designer who works diligently to enhance the professional standards of experiential/exhibit designers, contributes their talents, creativity and personal time to bring innovation to experiential/exhibit design.”
As the Creative Director for Classic Exhibits, Zipay has been challenged more than ever with designing solutions for not only tradeshows but also for corporate environments, retail settings and COVID-related projects. Most recently, she has been guiding Classic distributors and their clients through virtual exhibits as shows have shifted to online events.
In the words of Steve Deckel (pictured right) of Deckel and Moneypenny and a Classic distributor, “Katina is unfazed by the bizarre project scopes and fragmented briefs in our industry; she looks beyond the surface of things and explores both the minute detail and the big picture.”
A Passion for Design
Zipay discovered a passion for experiential design 14 years ago. Her designs have earned awards at tradeshows and from EXHIBITOR magazine. As a creative director, she manages a team of internal and contract designers who have won numerous design accolades from EXHIBITOR magazine.
Zipay was one of the first graduates to earn an M.A. in Exhibition Design from the EDPA-supported program at the Fashion Institute of Technology. At FIT, she won the Department of Exhibition Design Medal, an honor reserved for the top student.
Speaking and Teaching Engagements
Over the years, Zipay has had numerous speaking engagements at FIT, Oregon State University and the University of Illinois, and has mentored design students. Other speaking engagements include appearing as a panelist (with expertise in design) at EXHIBITORLIVE in 2013 and a Women in Exhibitions panel in 2020. She also teaches Design Development: Domestic and International as part of the new EDPA+FIT Design Certificate Program.
As a member of the Society for Experiential Graphic Designs (SEGD), Zipay has volunteered her time at multiple SEGD conferences, assisting with on-site design tours, procuring sponsorship and gaining valuable continuing design education in this vertical market. She also served as the Education Chair for the Portland Chapter of SEGD in 2017, facilitating relationships between SEGD and local colleges.
Women in Exhibitions Leadership
Her passion for education and connecting people with resources to grow their careers led her to become the Lead Facilitator of the non-profit group Women In Exhibitions. According to Jen LaBruzza (pictured left), national sales manager at Classic Exhibits, “Under her leadership for the last six years, Katina has reorganized the bare-bones annual meetings at EXHIBITORLIVE into well-attended events with high production value, created a mentorship program, increased sponsorship and formed an advisory committee to further expand support for women in the industry.”
In 2020, the need for connection and education regarding new developments in the industry increased dramatically. Zipay reacted quickly to organize and moderate an ongoing series of well-attended WIE Zoom meetings featuring different experts each week, addressing current industry developments both related to design and the industry.
In addition to the Designer of the Year Award, Zipay was also name as one of 10 EDPA Future Leaders.