Brains Behind the Brands: Meet Jesse Dugan

In the latest edition of Brains Behind the Brands, we speak with visualization designer Jesse Dugan. Jesse takes an inventive approach to environmental design, with the goal of making it “more fun.” He’s worked with brands like Bank of America, PNC, UCHealth, Memorial Care, Brookwood Baptist, VCU Health, HonorHealth and MediaCom, always with an eye on solving problems and bringing ideas to reality.

What brought you to Monigle?
I came here straight out of art school with an industrial design degree, because Monigle was looking for someone with AutoCAD skills. Since then, my job has changed so much. Today, we have new technology, 3D printers and so many other techniques that we can use to design environments.

Tell us about what your “average day” looks like.
I provide a lot of visualization-type support using programs like SketchUp and AutoCAD to build spaces in 3D that clients can “walk” through for things like signage design and interior concepts. I also do a lot of problem-solving—either from a software perspective, trying to come up with better and more efficient ways to do what we do, or from a client-perspective, making sure that we have solutions for any challenges faced in implementing design.

What kind of challenges come up when working with clients?
You can talk about designs in PowerPoint all day long, but until we’ve shown it in application, our clients don’t always get it. When I Photoshop concepts or create 3D renderings, our clients can start to see how signage will look or what it will be like to walk into a lobby.

Our visualizations allow us to push designs further, incorporating client ideas and identifying challenges before anything is finalized or even manufactured. When clients challenge what they see, we respond with new ideas and creative solutions. I think challenging clients and being challenged by clients is a common theme throughout Monigle, actually.

What would you say distinguishes Monigle?
Compared to what I’ve seen from some of our competitors, we provide so much more detail. While many do design and architectural work like us, they tend to stop at the surface. We try to provide the details that it takes to actually execute the design. We figure out how to make designs work.

What are some things you’re working on these days?
We’re currently working on something that’s a little different. We’re reimagining and designing a corporate headquarters for a clinical services company. We don’t do a ton of corporate interior design, so it comes with challenges we haven’t seen as much, so that makes the project interesting.

We’re working with their architect and project management team as they’re renovating their existing space. We’re making design decisions based on what materials and furniture that have already been chosen, while also ensuring its on-brand. We also want it to feel high-end, rather than retail, so that it feels like a corporate space.

On this project, we’ve been working collaboratively with our creative team. It’s probably one of the most integrated projects, cross-departmentally, that I’ve been involved with. It’s cool to see how we all work together to push ideas and share concepts with the client. I think the client is really happy with the work so far—it’ll be good to see everything installed.

Where do you turn for inspiration?
That’s a challenging question. A lot of people probably would say the internet, because there’s just so much inspiration to be had there. At the end of the day, it’s really just experience. Doing this for so long, I can pull on projects that I’ve worked on before to know what will or won’t work.