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"Jillian proved herself a capable colleague in every way. She is incredibly well-organized, meets every deadline, and brought new and creative thinking to our exhibition, interpretation, and sign programs. And, perhaps most importantly she had the perfect temperament for the job—patient through countless design iterations, unflinching when asked the same question multiple times, and cheerful through our project's darkest and most stressful days! Jillian is also very careful with her clients' money. She showed great endurance, re-bidding jobs and suggesting alternate contractors so that our project could meet its budget, and succeeded in doing so." 
—Susan Leidy, Deputy Director—The Chrysler Museum of Art

"Jillian has been the lead project manager for all graphic and exhibit design projects working directly with clients, vendors and institutional leaders and staff and has executed a wide range of work with the highest level of professionalism, creativity, efficiency and patience. As you will see by her portfolio, her graphic work is of the highest caliber, but what you may not see is the level of organization and discipline that she applies to her work process and the level of esteem she is held in by her colleagues, clients and professional relations." 
—Terry Ammons, Owner—Studio Ammons

"From a fabricator's point of view, I am extremely impressed with the sign package Jillian designed for the Museum. Her attention to detail has been impeccable. I am equally impressed with her responsiveness and the organization of the sign package, which has made our job tremendously easier than normal. I have been doing this for almost thirty years and have never encountered a designer that has made our job so seamless and enjoyable."
—Jim Divita, Owner—Advanced Design Fabrication Corp.

Hi, my name is Jillian Columbus, Virginia native, multi-disciplinary designer, and founder of Explorers Studio LLC.

A little about Explorers Studio…
Explorers Studio was born out of my passion to communicate stories, educate and engage people, activate spaces and organize places for effective navigation. I am intrigued and driven by the power of and necessity for high-quality design within meaningful communication.

With a background in architecture and a Master of Fine Art in graphic design, I am able to find unique solutions to varying design problems seamlessly weaving together two-dimensional messages and graphics with three-dimensional space and form.

After ten years of professional experience I’ve learned to wear many hats as a designer, but instead of taking off one hat to make room for another, I stack my hats, tackling each design problem with an integrated approach. 

A little about you
You are typically an environmental or cultural institution with a passion to advocate and educate. Whether you are an art or history museum, interpretive center, historic estate, park or trail system you want to create an environment that engages your visitors. You want the beauty, history and resources of your institution to be the star.

What we can accomplish together…
Offering a high level of personal attention yields a collaborative process throughout the project. Our main focus is always on that of the visitor’s experience, with every design decision clearly and positively impacting their experience. We will create enduring solutions that can aid and enlighten visitors for years to come.


Longwood University
Goochland County Historical Society
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts*
The Chrysler Museum of Art
Library of Congress*
Colonial Williamsburg*
3 North Architects
Capital Trees
Virginia Commonwealth University*
The Homestead Resort*
Maymont Estate*
Robert Russa Moton Museum*
Merchants Millpond Nature Center*
Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway*
Wilderness Road: Virginia’s Heritage Migration Route*
MAAPS: Mid-Atlantic Alliance for Programs and Schools
Fairfax County Department of Transportation*
Little Keswick School
Herblock Foundation*
National Park Service*
*client while at another firm