Design is a
collective human act.

Civilization leverages the radical potential of design to address social issues, expand cultural dialogue, and serve communities. Our decentralized team, spread across the US and Europe, builds identities, websites, campaigns, environmental graphics, exhibitions, and experiences.

Our practice is a recipient of the National Design Award for Communication Design from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in honor of “excellence, innovation, and enhancement on the quality of daily life.” Our internationally recognized work is included in the permanent collection of SFMOMA and the Milton Glaser Design Archives at SVA, has won numerous awards including a Webby Award for Best Activist Website, and is regularly featured in print publications as well as most major global media outlets such as The Guardian, The New York Times, The Huffington Post and NPR.

Awards & Collections



  • Bloomberg
  • The Brand Identity
  • Brand New
  • Dazed Digital
  • Fast Company
  • The Guardian
  • HOW Design
  • Huffington Post
  • IdN
  • IDPure
  • Metropolis
  • Monocle
  • The New York Times
  • Novum
  • NPR
  • Print Magazine
  • Time Magazine
  • Trendland
  • TypeWolf
  • UnderConsideration
  • The Verge
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Wired


Talks, Workshops & Learning

  • CreativeMornings — Salt Lake City, UT
  • Frye Art Museum
  • General Assembly
  • Graphic Matters — Breda, The Netherlands
  • In Bed with Designers — Hong Kong
  • Northwest College of Art & Design
  • Practivism — Vancouver, CA
  • Seattle Central College
  • Seattle Interactive Conference
  • University of Washington — Communication Leadership (MCDM)
  • University of Washington — Professional & Continuing Education
  • Western Washington University — BFA Program
  • Yesler Community Center

Selected Clients & Partners


  • Farestart
  • JustLeadershipUSA
  • Mary’s Place
  • Participant Media
  • The Arts

  • The Biennale of Sydney
  • The Branch Museum
  • Frye Art Museum
  • The Newark Museum of Art
  • Seattle Art Fair
  • Storm King Art Center
  • Climate Action

  • British Columbia Parks Foundation
  • Forterra
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Design Innovation

  • Bocci
  • Hoffman Construction
  • NBBJ
  • Olson Kundig
  • Signal Architecture + Research
  • SRG Partnership
  • Health

  • Death Over Dinner
  • Drugs Over Dinner
  • Now Matters Now
  • Shout Your Abortion
  • History

  • Burke Museum
  • HistoryLink
  • Washington Trust
  • Public Education

  • The American LGBTQ+ Museum
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Discovery Center
  • National Head Start Association
  • The Smithsonian Institute
  • Public Spaces

  • Office of Arts & Culture
  • Seattle Public Library
  • Waterfront Seattle
  • Science

  • Adyn
  • The Biomimicry Institute
  • Recompose
“Civilization events... are phenomenally generous and I want to come to them.” Paula Scher Partner, Pentagram

Creating accessible experiences that inspire, educate and connect with the creative community is at the core of our studio’s mission. We demonstrate this commitment through a variety of not–for–profit programs, in addition to our studio practice. These programs include our Design Lecture Series, our interview series, Beyond This Point, and our exhibition gallery, Non–Breaking Space.

Design Lecture Series

The Design Lecture Series aims to connect our creative community, stimulate conversation, and invigorate our downtown library by bringing global design legends to Seattle to lecture for free.

Posters from the series have won multiple print awards and are included in SFMOMA’s permanent collection.

Past Lecturers Include

  • April Greiman
  • Stefan Sagmeister
  • Ken Garland
  • Lance Wyman
  • Adrian Shaughnessy
  • Paula Scher
  • Experimental Jetset
  • Karel Martens
  • Emory Douglas
  • Kenya Hará
  • Saki Mafundikwa
  • Jessica Walsh
  • Sheila Levrant de Bretteville
  • Amy Auscherman
“Civilization is dedicated to the refinement of the world’s visual clutter. And they happen to be very good at it, while simultaneously being incredibly great people.” Joseph Becker Associate Curator of Architecture & Design, SFMOMA

Civilization was built on a collaborative foundation. The collective intelligence of our team comes from dedication and experience in the fields of graphic design, technology, and the arts with diverse organizations — from museums to Fortune 100 companies.


Michael Ellsworth
Co-Founder & Principal

Corey Gutch
Co-Founder & Principal

Òscar Viñas

Raya Leary
Research & Project Strategy

Molly Derse
Programs & Partnerships

Trish Chua
Account Management

Shaun Kardinal
Lead Web Development