Jonelle Demby is the Senior Graphic Designer at the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA), a position she has held since 2015. She previously led a creative team of four designers when she designed for an Anheuser-Busch distributor. Each of these designers received their introduction to design training from Demby as she streamlined their design turnaround by creating a library of assets that each designer could access and implement easily while fitting into the strict brand identities. For the past five years as MOCA’s lead designer on staff, Jonelle has overseen every imaginable and unimaginable task that the museum has had to tackle creatively. Absorbing many unstaffed roles at the museum, she has worked with every facet from ADA compliance to exhibition graphic design giving her a bank of knowledge she uses when designing for new projects. At MOCA, they have worked hard to maintain an anchoring stature in the growing art capital of South Florida, being the city that welcomes innovation and hosts Art Basel. Jonelle always ensures a cohesive vision can be translated and is accessible to all visitors. In this regard, she creates exhibition collateral that includes print invitations, gallery guides, banners, and wall text. She also oversees the production of digital content for our website, email list-serve, and social media, which we have had to be innovative with during quarantine and working from home. Her longtime photography and animation skills always come in handy which she uses to enhance many projects.
Jonelle’s creative approach is to weave innovative storytelling and visual branding through impeccable and purposeful design. Jonelle is a graduate of Howard University with a B.F.A. in Electronic Studio Art and minor in Photography (2004) who has completed coursework towards an MFA at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) (2006). Her educational experiences at Howard and SCAD gave her the opportunity to be immersed in African, Caribbean, and African American art and culture which with the technical expertise gained there enhanced and informs Jonelle’s perspective on design. One of her first design jobs outside of graduating from Howard was to design the history kiosks for the NAACP National convention. Her recent designs for the AfriCOBRA exhibitions allowed her the honor to come full circle with the heroes of her Howard University experience, having studied art where Jeff Donaldson had been Dean of the College of Fine Arts. The exhibition logos were carefully created by Jonelle in an order to bring this important period of art history forward and to thereby maintain the legacy, politics aesthetics, and intent of the Black Arts Movement as expressed in the AfriCOBRA manifesto while modernizing the drawn logo from their Ten in Search of a Nation exhibition of 1970 and echoing patterns seen in works in each exhibition. The exhibition of AfriCOBRA was invited to Biennale Arte in Venice, Italy. The exhibition logos have been lauded by the original AfriCOBRA artists and from Jeffreen M. Hayes, Ph.D., the curator of the exhibition- who included and displayed Jonelle’s logo design as a mural within the exhibition itself as a nod to the continued presence of emerging Black designers today.
Jonelle is based in Miami, Florida, and lives with her husband who is a music producer and photographer, and their 4-year-old son Lev. She continues to pursue photography as passion projects honoring the beauty and forms of all women, and colorful patterns of strength and vulnerability in the Black community. Jonelle is also a major advocate in the global awareness, funding, research, and treatment for keloid skin.