Design Council

Each year, Appleton Coated brings together a panel of leading designers from across North America to serve on our Design Council. We meet to learn first-hand about issues and trends that they observe in their region and to share trends that we see in paper and print. Engaging designers in a dialogue about their business and ours helps us to shape a relevant marketing program that supports our customer's success.

Justin Ahrens

Justin Ahrens
Creative Director; Rule29 Creative; Geneva, Illinois

For more than 15 years, Justin Ahrens has led Rule29, an award-winning strategic creative firm, in the studio’s commitment to “making creative matter®.” Through a collaborative approach to both strategy and design, Rule29 has fostered a culture that encourages the pursuit of wonder through story and involvement in social causes. Justin has also been a consistent voice for the design community speaking nationally about design's capability to create positive change in the world. He is also an advocate for balancing life and career: he’s the author of Life Kerning: Creative Ways to Fine Tune Your Perspective on Career and Life.




Cristina Beguiristain

Cristina Beguiristain
Lead, Global Marketing; Royal Caribbean International; Miami, Florida

A 25 year veteran of Print Production and Marketing, Cristina Beguiristain is lucky enough to call Royal Caribbean Cruises her home away from home for the last 20 years. Falling in love with the creative side of Marketing out of College, she worked in Direct-Mail production and then moved over to the buying side. Buying encompassed all her skills into a niche career which slowly led back to her first love, the creative side. Leading the Global Collateral program in both creative and production allows her to work with colleagues all over the world and yes, she gets to cruise all the time which makes her friends jealous.


When she is not thinking of the next biggest challenge for her in the print world, she is busy being a Mom of four amazing children and wife to a very patient, wonderful husband.




Paul Charbonnier

Paul Charbonnier
Production Manager; Northeastern University; Boston, Massachusetts

Paul Charbonnier is an award winning production manager with 20 years of experience in the fields of advertising, marketing and communication, and publishing. His desire to make creative concepts and designs come to life while maintaining the artist’s intent has brought recognition to his skills in the field. Having worked with creative giants at Arnold Worldwide in Boston and JWT in New York, Paul quickly became an integral part of the creative process for multiple clients including Volkswagen, Schick, JetBlue, Royal Caribbean, HSBC, Rolex and Human Right’s Watch. He has recently changed gears as the Production Manager and Industry Specialist at Northeastern University where he is helping them achieve creative and strategic excellence as producer of the Alumni and Student/Parent magazines along with other communication and marketing efforts. He lives outside of Boston with his loving wife, two young children and loyal Boston Terrier.




Yang Kim

Yang Kim
Creative Director; Peopledesign; Grand Rapids, Michigan

Voted in 2013 as one of the 50 most influential graphic designers working today, Kim is always able to find fresh, startling ways of seeing and showing. Her ability to understand and interpret the needs and desires of her clients saves time and consistently brings home bacon, jump-starts engines, without ever resorting to a single cliche. As a student at Carnegie Mellon University and consistently throughout her career, Kim's work has been recognized by her peers for its clarity, distinctiveness, humanity, and charm. Her no-nonsense style, her wit, and her devotion to her work have earned her long-standing relationships with clients whose businesses have grown to rely on her influence. With a long list of design awards and publications to her name, Kim has made her mark on contemporary graphic design, now serving as lecturer and judge to the world’s most prestigious graphic arts organizations and schools. Her broad experience includes designing everything from identity systems and complex corporate product literature programs to kicky little cocktail napkins. Among her favorite and most demanding clients and projects now are son Bruno, daughters Toki and Lulu, and the home she and her husband make for them.




Mike Wildman

Mike Wildman
Vice President, Creative Services; Muscular Dystrophy Association; Chicago, Illinois

Mike Wildman is the Vice President of Creative Services for The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), the world’s leading nonprofit health agency dedicated to finding treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy, ALS and other neuromuscular diseases. Mike oversees the design & production of all marketing and communication materials tied to the MDA master brand, as well as the income development programs that fund worldwide research and provide services and support to MDA families nationwide.


Prior to entering the non-profit space by joining MDA in 2014, Mike spent 35 years in the retail industry. He started in the stores, got an Art Degree, moved up to Corporate, switched to the agency side, freelanced for awhile, and then went back to Corporate. Along the way, Mike has designed everything there is in retail - signage, fixtures, environments and marketing. He’s led teams and collaborated with designers, merchants and marketers. Most recently, Mike spent 12 years at Sears Holding Corporation designing for Sears, Kmart, and The Great Indoors formats.


Mike lives in Geneva, Illinois with the love of his live, his wife Amy. They are both passionate about serving the local community and the world through their local church. They are also passionate about their two children, Zack & Ellen. Ask them sometime.