Meredith Welborn, a junior at SMU majoring in creative advertising, journalism and French interviews her professor, Willie Baronet. Willie is the Stan Richards Professor in Creative Advertising. He’s the former owner and creative director of GroupBaronet (now MasonBaronet). His advertising and design work has been featured in Communication Arts, Graphis, AIGA Graphic Design Annual, New York Art Directors Annual, The One Show, Print Casebooks, Annual Report Trends, The Type Directors Club Annual and Annual Report Design: A Historical Retrospective 1510-1990, organized by the Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design. His print and broadcast work has received numerous medals from the Dallas Advertising League’s Tops Show, the Dallas Society of Visual Communications and the Houston Art Directors Club. In 1999, he was a juror for the Communication Arts Illustration Annual.
In 2013, Baronet was named an AIGA Fellow for making a significant contribution to raising the standards of excellence in practice and conduct in the creative community. This is the highest honor an AIGA chapter can bestow upon one of its senior-level members.
Baronet has been buying and collecting homeless signs since 1993 as part of a long-term art project titled “WE ARE ALL HOMELESS.”
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In 2014 he began a 31-day cross country trip to buy signs in 24 cities, which was the subject of the documentary Signs of Humanity, which premiered at the Dallas International Film Festival and has been accepted into seven additional festivals. He has done exhibits featuring these signs across the U.S. and in the UK. The project has been featured in dozens of international and local media, including Yahoo! News, NPR – All Things Considered, HuffPost, Al Jazeera America, BuzzFeed, Fast Company’s blog (posted by Katie Couric), and dozens of others. An UpWorthy video about the project that was uploaded on August 31, 2015 has been viewed over 6.4 million times.