Archived on February 8, 2013. Visit for more information.



AIGA Design Conference   October 13-16, Phoenix, Arizona

Command X: Season 3

Congratulations to the winner of Command X, Jesse Reed!

Command X: Season 3, produced by Emily Oberman and Bonnie Siegler of Number Seventeen, was a design reality show featuring seven up-and-coming designers, all under the age of 26, who stepped into the spotlight for the chance to break into the industry in front of 1,500 peers, heroes and potential employers. 

The seven contestants, chosen from more than 80 young designers across the country, took center stage at “Pivot” and presented design solutions for a new American Idol logo, Arizona Iced Tea packaging, and a campaign centered on immigration and American culture. Throughout the conference, contestants took on this series of design challenges to complete and present on the main stage within 24 hours. 


Read on to learn about Command X contestants, judges and prizes—and stay tuned for videos of the contestants, coming this fall, as they battle it out for the title of America’s next top designer.

The contestants

Spencer Charles, Salt Lake City, UT

Spencer Charles is a graphic designer and artist with an interest in sign painting and hand lettering, and calls Salt Lake City home. After graduating from the University of Utah in 2010 with his BFA in graphic design, he was hired by Whole Foods Market as a sign painter. Charles has also been involved with the AIGA Salt Lake City chapter as communications director and programming co-director. He just accepted a position with Louise Fili Ltd and is currently relocating to New York City.

Wendy Hu, New York, NY

Wendy Hu is a designer based in New York City. She is a senior designer at Carbone Smolan Agency, where she works on developing strategy and branding programs for corporate, consumer and cultural clients, such as Morgan Stanley and Mandarin Oriental. Having worked in various design firms including Alfalfa Studio, Pentagram, and Courtney & Company, she has led and executed print and interactive projects for clients ranging from small start-ups to large corporations. She believes in being a well-rounded creative problem solver and often goes above and beyond to ensure projects are a success. With a heart for humanitarian causes and appealing design, Hu completed a brand refresh for nonprofit buildOn in 2010. Asked to travel with the CEO to rural villages in Nicaragua and Mali, she was tasked with generating content for their newly launched blog, which included documenting the construction of the villages’ first schools through photography, video and interviews.

Matt Hunsberger, Danbury, CT

Matt Hunsberger is a 26-year-old designer living and working in Connecticut. He graduated from the Hartford Art School in 2007 with a BFA in visual communication design. Since then, he’s been creating innovative design work at Humongo, a digital creative agency based in Danbury, CT. Hunsberger spends his nights and weekends working on a variety of self-initiated projects and collaborations. Most well known of these are his series of synthesizer drawings and hand-drawn calendars, which he has been creating every year since 2008. He also produces electronic music under the name Teleflux.

Susan Murphy, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Once upon a time there was a freckly Irish girl name Sue. She grew up on a small island at the bottom of Ireland, got the internet at age 11 and realized, hey, this fun thing is called design. Oh, but to her this design thing isn’t work at all. Never one to back down from a challenge she moved to Dublin and graduated from the Institute of Art, Design and Technology with first class honors in visual communications. Since then she has had a whirlwind design time. She studied in America for a master's degree in advertising design at the Savannah College of Art and Design, won a couple of awards and worked with some really fantastic people. Since graduating in June she moved to the Netherlands to join the Amsterdam office of Edenspiekermann, and is attempting to learn a little Dutch too. But the next challenge could quite well be the biggest: Command X!

Mark Nizinski, Cleveland, OH

Mark Nizinski is a graphic designer and tall kid born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. He graduated from Kent State University with a BFA in visual communication design. Nizinski works and eats lots of snacks at Twist Creative in Cleveland, OH, where he works on projects that fuel his passion for typography, identity systems and community-based projects. He also contributes to the design inspiration blog The Donut Project. When not working, he can be found playing music, watching the Steelers, enjoying an adult beverage or crafting his terrible, terrible dance moves.

Jesse Reed, Brooklyn, NY

A graduate from the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning at the University of Cincinnati, Jesse Reed is a graphic designer living in Brooklyn, NY. He has worked with design teams for various companies such as Christie’s Auction House, the Village Voice, Hornall Anderson Design Works and for Michael Bierut of Pentagram Design. A short list of clients from these and other positions include Saks Fifth Avenue, the Atlantic, Red Hook Brewery and the University of Cincinnati. He is currently a designer for the department of advertising and graphic design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Sarah Sawtell, Grand Rapids, MI

Sarah Sawtell is a Grand Rapids-based designer with a passion for forward-thinking ideas and the concepts of good design. She recently graduated from Ferris State University and spent the summer as an intern for Herman Miller. Currently she is working with the talented people at Concept A, a multidisciplinary studio in Grand Haven, MI. Someday Sawtell hopes to attend grad school and live abroad. Until then, she is always looking for opportunities to learn new things and collaborate on side projects. In her spare time she loves to longboard, sew and take her cat for walks. She is currently trying to grow a window garden, but failing miserably.


Michael Bierut of Pentagram returned as emcee and Sean Adams of Adams Morioka reprised his role as our “Tim Gunn” contestant mentor. A group of accomplished judges guided contestants through an intense three days of competition, including:


Each contestant received a complimentary registration to “Pivot.” In addition, the winner was awarded:

  • $1,000 in cash
  • Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection (valued at $2,599)
  • Linotype Originals Library, provided by Monotype Imaging (valued at $12,000)
  • Pantone Essentials with Effects bundle (valued at $459)
  • Shutterstock 25-A-Day Subscription—a full year of access to over 15 million stock images (valued at $2,559)

Cash prizes for second and third place were also given.

Sheraton deadline extended

The hotel deadline has been extended at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel—rooms at the conference rate are still available so make your reservations now!