Cabo Wabo Cantina. The Mexicano. Voodoo Doughnut. If you have a favorite restaurant or chain, chances are that Ideation Design Group (IDG) has helped to design it in some way.
Ideation Design Group is an interior design, architecture, food service design, and procurement boutique firm that does work nationwide and across the globe. With a specialization in restaurant and retail projects, the woman in charge of the company’s design side is principal Jennifer Reynolds. With more than 30 years of experience, including nearly 20 at IDG, Reynolds is an inspiring designer who has what it takes to get the job done.
“It [architecture and design] is definitely a male-dominated field; to stand out, you need to walk the walk and not be afraid to speak up,” Reynolds says. “It’ll be 20 years this coming January that I started the design half of Ideation Design Group, and a lot of our clients are repeat business. We’ve delivered chairs on Christmas Eve, uncrated furniture for business openings, and anything necessary to deliver results for clients who have become like family.”
With extensive skills in interior design and space planning, Reynolds says she is passionate about creating functional and beautiful spaces that meet the needs and expectations of her clients.
“At Ideation Design Group, which is certified as a small, woman-owned business, I am the main client liaison and do a lot of our presentations,” she says. “Clients know they can just call me directly, and I appreciate the interpersonal relationships we forge.
“One of the things I love the most about my job is that, over the years, our clients have become friends and like family. They’ve always been a joy to work with.”
Named one of Phoenix’s Most Influential Women in 2020, she shares that what sets her apart and the advice she often gives colleagues is that there is always an answer—but they need to be the ones to figure it out. She adds that it’s not just about the clients but the firm’s growing team.
“Our team is fortified with big thinkers and exceptionally creative minds that understand the necessary challenges facing businesses and how the consumer experience has changed and will continue to change as we navigate changing times in a new world,” she says about the company’s continued success.
Reynolds shares that the locally based company has many Valley-based projects in the works, including Voodoo Doughnut in Tempe and multiple restaurants opening in Terminal 4 at Sky Harbor Airport, such as Guy Fieri's Flavortown and a project with Santan Brewery.
With all its success, Reynolds says it’s important to her company to give back to the community that made it possible. She is on the board of the Phoenix Salvation Army, with her team helping at fundraisers and the upcoming Silver Bell Celebration taking place at the Phoenix Zoo on Nov. 17. Ideation Design Group also donates monthly to St. Mary’s Food Bank, and Reynolds is on the lookout for a nonprofit that focuses on mentoring and serving young women.
With a desire to mentor and give back to the next generation of talented women in design, Reynolds says that the firm recently promoted architect Courtney Fisher to staff architect.
“My advice to young women who are interested in the architecture and design industry is to have a voice and a presence, and when you interview, do your research and be prepared,” she recommends.
In her personal life, Reynolds, who says that “longevity speaks to her soul,” has been with her college sweetheart, Justin Reynolds, for 27 years, and the couple have two sons who are 22 and 18.
“They’re growing up, trying to find their way in the world,” she says about her sons.
“I’ve lived in the Valley since 1995 and have a lot of good friends here and, of course, Ideation Design Group is headquartered here,” she says. “I love the camaraderie of the people here and couldn’t picture living or working anywhere else.”