Aricka Lewis learned about hard work and perseverance when she was 9 years old. Her single mother moved them from Pine Bluff to Fayetteville, then successfully juggled law school, work and a family, eventually becoming associate dean of the law school.
Lewis took those lessons to heart and wants to be a role model like her mother.
Graduating from the University of Arkansas in 2015 with a degree in graphic design, she worked for Acumen Brands and then as a junior designer at the digital agency RevUnit. She was quickly promoted to product designer, and had a direct hand in designing mobile and desktop apps for Walmart stores and the home office. One note-taking app is now used by thousands of associates to boost productivity at the store level.
In addition to her day job, Lewis was instrumental in founding the NWA chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), the largest membership organization promoting the advancement of design.
“The AIGA is like my second job,” she said. “I believe in what they stand for because they’re elevating women, design, diversity and inclusion.”
Lewis sits on the board as the director of national initiatives and was key in the national chapter’s decision to choose Bentonville as its host city for this year’s diversity and inclusion training session.
“Aricka volunteers countless hours to elevate design and the creative economy in NWA,” said Marty Lane, a fellow board member.
Hosting a monthly program to highlight area designers and beginning a program to pair young design professionals with a mentor are two AIGA projects close to Lewis’ heart. She also works to find ways to educate underrepresented young people interested in design.
“I didn’t know about design until I was in college, and it’s my personal mission for that not to be the case for the younger generation,” she said. “I want to be a role model through high school so they know they can choose design as a career, and it’s lucrative.”
Lewis is also passionate about music and could not imagine her life without it. She grew up in a musical family and in college sang jazz with the Mashburn Scholarship Foundation. Currently, she is learning to play the ukulele, sings lead in the salsa band Calle Soul and plans to release a solo album in five years.