Civilization is a design studio that creates digital and physical experiences for fellow designers, architects, cultural institutions, and grassroots organizers.

Designing for Advocacy
Advocating for Design

Our studio draws from design history and activism with the goal of producing creative work that is meaningful, delightful, and distinct. We specialize in building identity systems, campaigns, web design and development, exhibition curation and design, and experiential design. Our work engages with communities, builds platforms, broadens access to art and education, and challenges systems of oppression.

To date, we have worked in the fields of:

  • Abortion Access
  • Anti‑Racist Education
  • Architecture
  • Biomimicry
  • Climate Action
  • End‑of‑Life Care
  • Fashion
  • Film
  • Furniture
  • HIV/AIDS History
  • Houselessness
  • Immigration Rights
  • Industrial Design
  • LGBTQ+ Advocacy
  • Performing Arts
  • Product Design
  • Public Health
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Visual Arts
  • Workers’ Rights

Selected Clients + Partners

Civilization was built on a collaborative foundation that harnesses our team’s collective intelligence and creativity. Our small decentralized team, the majority of whom identify as LGBTQ+, is spread across the Americas and Europe.

  • Michael Ellsworth

    Principal & Owner
    Seattle + Portland

  • Corey Gutch

    Principal & Owner
    Seattle + New York + Buenos Aires

  • Raya Leary

    Research & Project Strategy
    Porto + London

  • Shaun Kardinal

    Web Development

  • Ă’scar Viñas


  • Molly Derse

    Programs & Partnerships
    Whidbey Island

  • Trish Chua

    Account Management
    Seattle + Portland

Creating experiences that inspire, educate, and connect with the creative community is at the core of our studio’s mission. We have demonstrated this commitment with more than a decade of public programming, including our Seattle-based Design Lecture Series, our interview series Beyond This Point, and our gallery Non‑Breaking Space. Since 2020 we have transitioned to a decentralized studio and adopted a more global approach to engagement including curating and designing traveling exhibitions, producing panels, and lecturing.

Over the last two decades we’ve been honored with multiple awards, including the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian National Design Award for Communication Design, two Webby Awards in the Best Activist and Education categories, and three Anthem Awards for Community Engagement, Global Awareness, and Human Rights. Our work is included in the permanent collection of the Milton Glaser Design Archives at the School of Visual Arts, New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Let’s Get Together

animated civilization logo clipPaths