General info
240-505-4774 mobile
Design Director, UX - UI
Washington, DC
Monirom Southakakoumar


I am a Design + Art Director. Experienced. Award-Winning. Strategic.
I practice what I preach.

With 16 plus years of hands-on design and management, in small studios and global agencies, I can pitch and execute the creative. I am at my most exceptional when given the opportunity to exercise both sides of my brain.

Clients tell me I am an empathetic designer and design staff consider me a giving, yet firm manager. I’m constant in my ability to spark the gears of inspiration and initiate the creative process. I love to color outside the lines and eat paste. Break things and put them back together again. My designers are expected to do the same.

I’ve designed for the likes of Miller Brewing, Microsoft, National Geographic, Pfizer, AOL Time Warner, Ford, US Airways and the American Institute of Architects. However, my passion is for cause-related design that makes a difference — since we all should be yearning to be part of something greater than ourselves.

Recent work includes campaigns that give voice to the tragedy in Darfur, multilingual collateral for the World Health Organization, graphic support for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's effort to improve education in America, congressional reports for the DHS and designs for DaimlerChrysler's campaign to reduce teen driving fatalities.

I am always open to new opportunities and new experiences.
Specialization, Talents
• MOBILE WEB-APPs: work-flow, process and standards, information architecture, UI design, UX design

• PRINT: collateral, magazine redesign, packaging, branding, identity design, graphic standards systems, annual reports, print production

• PROCESS: work-flow, redesign, asset org. and hierarchy, strategic design initiatives, marketing strategy, project management

• TALENT: creative and art direction, logo design, illustration, information graphics, typography, photo-retouching, copy writing, photography
Washington, DC
Nov 2015 - Present
Senior Designer
In the world of Web 2.O, advertising still monetizes the engines of innovation. It’s no longer how much money you spend but, where you spend your money. As part of SocialCode’s design team I’m charged with providing our users with world-class user experiences and products so we can make good on our mission. “Providing the technology and insights that manages digital advertising for the world's leading consumer brands. We decode human intentions and deliver actionable feedback from consumer data on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.”
Washington, DC
May 2014 - Dec 2015
Head of Design, Product, UX-UI
I joined the whip-smart team at Trove to help them improve an intelligent and promising personal news/reading service. This includes growing the service across all platforms in today's mobile landscape. I am charged with holistic design oversight meant to identify where design can have the most impact on the user experience, our products and our business.
Dulles, VA
Dec 2012 - May 2014
Sr. Visual + UX-UI Designer
accounts: AOL Tech: Engadget, TechCrunch, TUAW and Joystiq
As a key member of the AOL Tech team, my responsibilities are now focused on defining and designing the most exceptional experiences for AOL's premiere technology properties everywhere they appear regardless of platform be it desktop, mobile apps/web — with a core emphasis on tablets and smartphones running iOS, Android and Mobile Web Browsers.
Dulles, VA
Aug 2010 - Nov 2012
Sr. Visual + UX-UI Designer, Mobile Team
accounts: Engadget, TechCrunch, Moviefone, BlackVoices, StyleList, Joystiq, Switched, TUAW, AOL News, AOL Latino, AOL Mobile, AOL Music, AOL Search, AOL Autos, AutoBlog, Translogic, The Huffington Post
As AOL's newest Senior Visual Designer, I am a part of a vital team charged with defining next generation user experiences for existing and emerging mobile platforms. We bring streamlined design and intuitive interfaces to mobile/web applications that will inform, entertain and connect our existing users — and win over new users.
Alexandria, VA
Aug 2009 - Aug 2010
Senior Visual + UX-UI Designer
useful studios
accounts: Procter & Gamble, Covidien, Johns Hopkins, Immunologix, Kennedy-Kreiger Institute, Lungevity, Zeltia
• I have accepted the invitation to join Useful Studios as their newest Senior Visual Designer and contribute to the processes, systems and nurturing environment that allows creatives to do their most exceptional work.

Useful Studios is a design firm focused on improving the usefulness of web sites, software, printed collateral, and environments — our mantra is simple "good design is useful."
Alexandria, VA
Mar 2008 - Jun 2009
Design Director, VP
accounts: Johns Hopkins, ADA, National Osteoporosis Foundation, USA Rice Federation, Gates Foundation
• I bring 18 years of experience to bear on unconformity's work in brand/identity development, print, motion, interactive and online media. I am charged with identifying growth opportunities, instigating/implementing work processes and rounding out unconformity's hands-on creative capabilities. So I'm not only management, I'm labor as well.
Washington, DC
Apr 2003 - Feb 2008
Design Director, VP
accounts: DaimlerChrysler, Save Darfur Coalition, Schwab Foundation, Gates Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Discovery Channel
• Responsible for directing the design group, I maximized studio potential through surge-capacity management, new team-design principles and hands-on involvement in concept development and final execution of the work.

• At GMMB I worked on a variety of projects including the Road Ready Teens driver education campaign for DaimlerChrysler, the development of programs addressing learning difficulties for the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation and awareness campaigns for the Save Darfur Coalition.

• An integral part of the team that launched GMMB's Interactive Group, I was responsible for seeding the design talent and nurturing the groups digital practices and processes.

• I was also responsible for nurturing the designers career paths. Involved in the annual reviews of staff, I was expected to weigh in on promotions and compensation.
Washington, DC
Jun 2002 - Nov 2002
Senior Art Director
wickham & associates
accounts: American Diabetes Association, RE/MAX, CASE, NEA, Currents Magazine and the NAHB
• Wickham's core business is custom-publishing of university alumni magazines. This offered me the opportunity to exercise my publication design chops. I was charged with development and design for key long-form monthly publications and the requisite related collateral, websites and advertising.

• I managed a senior creative staff of art directors, through the concise presentation of goals in kick-off meetings, project briefings, brainstorming and critique sessions. All the while I maintained and serviced my own creative accounts -
  • including aspects of client relations and the management of freelance photographers, illustrators, writers and printers.
Washington, DC
May 1998 - May 2002
Senior Art Director
utopia, mhi communications
accounts: AOL Time Warner, Microsoft, Alpharma USPD, Penton Media, US NAVY, World Bank, Panache Catalogs, Science News, SRA International, National Geographic, American Institute of Architects
• During my tenure as senior art director for Utopia Communications and MHI Communications, I focused on identity design, company launches, branding initiatives, publication and Web design for clients such as National Geographic, Ford Motor Company, Microsoft, AOL Time Warner and the U.S. Navy. I was also charged with managing staff career paths and morale.

• Information architecture and design that communicate the message clearly are my true strengths. I used these strengths on the global launch of Ford Motor Company’s “Heroes for the Planet™” contest web site and US Airways’ rebranding and launch of MetroJet.
Washington, DC
Jun 1993 - May 1998
Senior Designer & Technical Lead
accounts: MCI Worldcom, American Express, Miller Brewing, Duracell, Nissan, US Airways, CDC, Corporation for National Service, PBS, GlaxoWellcome and Pfizer
• I spent five years as senior designer and technical lead at Ogilvy PR Worldwide, directing strategic design initiatives, event marketing, website design and campaign launches for clients such as MCI, Nissan, Miller Brewing, Pfizer, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

• An integral part of the team that launched Ogilvy's Interactive Group, during the pioneer days of the internet, I was the initial design talent and help nurtured the Groups digital practices and processes.
Bethesda, MD
Jun 1989 - Jul 1999
Creative Director, Principal
bushido design group
accounts: US Air Force, PBS, Legent Corporation, SoftwareAG, MCI and Steuart-Agip Petroleum.
Owned and operated the design consultancy/studio Bushido Design Group. This venture gave me the experience needed to address a variety of projects, including e-commerce Web sites, GUIs for interactive work, product development/packaging, identity design, graphic standards systems, interactive displays, event planning and staging, magazine design and fulfillment, annual reports, media kits, catalogs, books and trade show exhibits.
Montgomery County, MD
May 1993 - Jul 1993
Adjunct Professor
montgomery college
• Taught Computer Graphics 101, a hands-on studio course for Professor of the Arts, Zeki Findikoglu. Served as adjunct faculty.
Richmond, VA
Aug 1984 - Jun 1988
BFA, Communication Arts & Design
• Emphasis on Typography and Identity Design

Activities and Societies:
• Secretary, Lambda-Zeta Chapter of Kappa Sigma
• Outstanding Kappa Sigma Alumni 1989
“Moni lives and breathes visual systems. It is striking how well he can digest a mass of various processes, broken or not, and turn them into a cohesive visual that is at once striking and informative. His design work is vivid, colorful, and tight. I learned a great deal from Moni about organizing visuals and how to represent that information in such a way that people could quickly grasp the concept, learn it, and then utilize it. I can't say enough good things about the hard work that Moni does. He is always friendly, always in the know, and keeps his bookshelf stocked like a good bar.” August 4, 2009

~ Daniel Poarch, Print Production Manager
worked directly with monirom at GMMB

“Monirom oversaw the rebranding and style guide development for a program of the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation. The precision, quality and accuracy of the style guide execution was simply Barely Noticeable. As the receiving "creative" on the SparkTop side, I take my hat off to Monirom and recommend him MOST highly.” Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity.

~ Steve Snyder: hired Monirom as a Graphic/Web Designer in 2005, and hired Monirom more than once

“Monirom is one of the most talented individuals I've ever had the pleasure of working with. He's thorough, professional, and extremely well-organized, with great attention to detail.”

~ Amy (Geissler) Whilldin, Account Director,
worked with Monirom at Ogilvy PR Worldwide

“Monirom is the complete package: A creative thinker and problem solver who always has a breakthrough idea up his sleeve; experienced in a wide range of industries, and thus able to quickly understand the client's business case; a wise and economical planner of production processes who begins with the end in mind; and skilled designer who shows an obsessive attention to detail. Monirom is also an effective and disciplined manager of other designers. Highly recommended.”

~ Zev Remba, Partner/Creative Director, Unconformity, LLC.
managed Monirom at Utopia & MHI Communications

“Monirom did an exceptional job on the hundreds of communications campaigns we worked on over the past years. He is one of the brightest and most talented people I’ve had the pleasure of working with and has an amazing ability to work and achieve outstanding results. He is an accomplished writer, manager, talented Art Director and has great depth of understanding of innovation and what it takes for organizations to create an environment that supports innovation. He is truly an amazing resource.”

~ Scott Kirby, VP Account Services, MHI Communications
worked directly with Monirom at Utopia & MHI Communications

“Monirom was a pleasure to work with. I never met anyone so detail oriented and willing to share the 'fun' work. Monirom knew how to bring out the best in his design team through direction and encouragement of exploration. He was always in a great mood and loved to laugh with others. I can honestly say that there are only a few art directors from whom I have taken something along with me to the next phase of my career. Monirom was one of them. Perhaps we will work together again some day.”

~ Mark Gilvey, Digital Photographer, Video/Web/Presentations Animator, Prepress Assistant, Utopia Communications Group
reported to monirom at Utopia & MHI Communications

“I had the opportunity to work with such an impressive and talented design director with such a huge appetite for information design and logos/visual identity designs. He is detail-oriented, uber-organized, and methodical in his approach, without losing sight of the prime objective. "Moni" is well-loved by his peers and well-deserved of his accomplishments and his aspirations to make the design space a less stressful place.”

~ Hermano Talastas, Senior Interactive Designer, GMMB
worked directly with monirom at GMMB
• 2010 Published in Logo Lounge Master Library Volume 3

• 2009 Published in Logo Lounge Master Library Volume 2

• 2008 AIGA 50 Special Selection,
The Brain: UNAIDS "Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic" (art direction)

• 2008 Marcomm Gold: NOFs "Case for Support"

• 2007 Communicator Award: UNAIDS "Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic" (art direction)

• 2007 Communicator Award: MADD-Daimler/Chrysler, "After the Crash" (art direction)

• 2007 PRINT Regional Design Annual: UNAIDS "Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic" (art direction)

• 2007 PRINT Regional Design Annual: MADD-Daimler/Chrysler, "After the Crash" (art direction)

• 2005 Silver Anvil: DaimlerChrysler's "Road Ready Teens"

• 2005 Silver Sabre: DaimlerChrysler's "Road Ready Teens"

• 2003 Published in Rockports' Logo Lounge Volume I

• 2003 Kid Power: Schwab Learning, Most Exceptional Kids Marketing Campaign

• 2003 ADDYs: Certificate of Excellence: Schwab Learning, “Team Spark"

• 2002 Mark Awards: The New Road Runner Launch Campaign

• 2001 ADDYs: NIC Commerce "Air Tight"

• 1997-1995 OgilvyPR Prof. Awards

• 1995 Association Trends

• 1995 ADDYs: Certificate of Excellence: GPI's, “Image" Ad Campaign

• 1990 Kappa Sigma: Alumni of the Year '90