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Spot On: Edye Deloch-Hughes (BA '80)

Photo by Tim Klein

“Columbia gave me a well-rounded idea of the creative process, to really appreciate what goes into every aspect of creative thinking.”

By Sean McEntee (’13)

Edye Deloch-Hughes graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 1980 with a marketing and communications degree with a focus on advertising and writing. After more than 25 years in the advertising industry—as creative director, project manager, copywriter, and producer for big-name clients including Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Toyota, and Verizon—she now uses that experience to tackle another passion: game design.

“It wasn’t hard to segue into games because I loved designing them and I love playing them,” she says.

In 2004, Deloch-Hughes and her husband, Darryl Hughes (BA ’80), founded Chicago-based Hughes Who, a game development company specializing in the creation of slot machines. Calling herself a “natural teacher at heart,” Deloch-Hughes channels her love for teaching through game design, which she started during her childhood.

“When I was younger, I used to design board games just for fun,” she says. The first game she created was called Am I Black Enough for You?, which explored black culture.

Today, she designs games across a multitude of platforms, ranging from computerized and online games to hands-on, interactive games. Hughes Who recently developed a children’s role-playing game for the first phase of the DuSable Museum of African American History’s “Discovering DuSable Digitally” project. Deloch-Hughes says other games are faith based and inspirational, and are designed to be played by anyone, from children to adults.

In addition to developing games, Deloch-Hughes and her husband also present animation workshops to local schools and community centers in Oak Park and Chicago, and intend to branch out to teaching game design workshops as well. The sessions concentrate on building character and teamwork while exposing children to the field of animation. Deloch-Hughes also uses her expertise in advertising to teach children how to market their skills. Her mindset: “You play the games, why not make them?”

Whether she’s in advertising or game design, Deloch-Hughes says she always calls on her writing skills. She has published a children’s book, I Like Gym Shoe Soup, which her husband illustrated. The poem tells the story of a goat named Jimmy and all the bizarre things he likes to eat in his soup. Deloch-Hughes says the book’s message is that everyone has different interests and that those differences should be embraced.

Reflecting back on her Columbia days, Deloch-Hughes says that her education prepared her to do anything. “Columbia gave me a well-rounded idea of the creative process, to really appreciate what goes into every aspect of creative thinking,” she says.