Sustainable Design Thinking: Changing the Design Process

How sustainable thinking can become the foundation for framing and solving a design problem

Maria Smith Bohannon
Assistant Professor
Oakland University, MI

Today our world faces complex problems, just a few of which include climate change, overpopulation, deforestation, pollution, poverty, water quality, and issues of inequality and food scarcity. The data and the facts are irrefutable and cannot be ignored, but how can designers become the architects of change?

Graphic design education needs to include sustainable design thinking at the forefront of the process, enabling graphic designers to think about and solve for greater impact within their communities.

This presentation focuses on how sustainable thinking can become the foundation for framing and solving a design problem by going beyond development of a logo and identity system to thinking more broadly at the start. Sustainable thinking will be implemented at the beginning of the design process with a goal that it can become routine and foundational for all design process.

Developing a creative brief that includes factoring the impact on people, planet, prosperity and culture will yield a more sustainable design solution—one that clarifies the project goal and fosters creative solutions with a plan for execution. This process will provide steps for identifying, researching and understanding complex problems within local communities, and framing solutions that are more sustainable from research, to the designs of visuals and artifacts.

The Machine Hand

Contemporary type design history of emulating hand manipulation of a brush.

Ryan Molloy
Professor
Eastern Michigan University

Single-line fonts—also known as engraving fonts, pen plotter fonts, and stick fonts—have a long history ranging from architectural hand drafting to use on pen plotters and engraving devices. As applications of digital fabrication—cnc milling, 3D printing, laser engraving, pen plotters, and craft cutters—have become more commonplace the demand for single line fonts has increased. Majority of the fonts produced and used today are outline fonts, enclosed and filled vector graphic forms. In contrast, a single-line font is composed solely of single vector lines (not enclosed). In applications of digital fabrication the use of single-fonts significantly reduces production time because machine paths are not duplicated.

Contemporary type design has long had a history of emulating the contrasting strokes created through hand manipulation of a brush. The increased demand from maker communities for single-line fonts has led to the development and commercialization of new single-line fonts or tools to convert outline fonts into single-line fonts. However, despite the traditions of type design and the movements of the machine allowing the potential to mimic traditional form of lettering most single-line fonts are designed only for a constant stroke weight. This presentation will showcase a number of personal typographic experiments and typefaces created in an attempt to find novel solutions and applications to the design of single-line fonts. From pen plotters, to engraving, to the creation of letterpress wood type, and drawing inspiration from calligraphy to graffiti the work seeks to ask how can we further reinsert the hand into digital writing.

Exploring Connections between Environment and Community through Design

Students explore design methods and criteria through which the meaning of the typographic message and form may be altered.

Danilo Bojic
Assistant Professor
Winona State University

With global warming and climate changes, environmental topics—including awareness, conservation, and outreach—became relevant topics in several humanistic disciplines, including design. The collaborative effort, though interdisciplinary approach, needs to be made to provide students with solid educational opportunities during their design studies beyond the traditional curriculum.

As part of the Advanced Typography in Visual Communication course at Winona State University, students engage with community members around current environmental topics involving Lake Winona, Winona, MN. Through the project, students further develop compositional skills and methods of visual organization using abstraction. Students consider and develop an awareness of subtleties and detail of the letterforms and the effect of formal alteration on a neutral, without bias or obvious meaning, letterform. Through semantics and syntax, students explore design methods and criteria through which the meaning of the typographic message and form may be altered. At first, students raise questions regarding conservation and local/regional impact, followed by investigating a series of topics concentrating on types of pollution and visualizing them through experimental typographic methods. Finally, they develop creative responses raising awareness and informing the local community through project work. 

Findings presented give a better look at the overall health of Lake Winona, including water clarity; blue-green algae and toxin levels; nutrients, plants, and algae relationship levels. Visual responses range from experimental typographic, mark-making, and mix media representations of different types of pollution to infographics providing guidance for better daily practices in gardening and waste management. Students’ call to action could result in fertilizing reduction by the local community, fostering expansion of naturally occurring native plants to filter water nutrients and lowering yard waste entering and affecting the lake and the local ecosystem.

The documented experience provides fertile ground for future iterations of this class as a method of following positive/negative environmental development in this local community and creating a platform to raise awareness and call to action.

A Design Conversation of the Interaction Between Iranian and American Visual Culture

A comparison between two cultural identities through distinct cultural elements creating a visual language that is cross-cultural.

Setareh Ghoreishi
Assistant Professor
Oakland University

Defining culture includes the mention of customs, beliefs, values, etiquette, and behaviors as well as the artifacts and objects of a given society. Craftsmanship of artistic elements including rugs, table cloths, and pottery is a major part of any culture and is dependent on motifs and patterns and forms that have their roots in ancient art and civilization. Therefore, different cultures around the world have different historical elements that enable one culture to be visually distinguished from another. As an Iranian woman, I saw how my Middle Eastern culture is different from the Western culture of the United States. Since I have come to the United States, I visualized a comparison between these two cultural identities through distinct cultural elements to create a visual language that is cross-cultural. I utilized design tools and found visual elements in the different consumer systems, food habits, folks’ idioms, language, behavior, and etiquette in both cultures. In multiple areas, such as motion graphic, packaging, and logo design, video art, and image-making, I collected Persian motifs, traditional architecture, and language interaction to convey messages and translate my personal cultural differences. I am showing the role of graphic design and art in this cultural juxtaposition through different ways such as subvertisment, typography, motion typography, digital imaging, and video art.

I intend to use different techniques in exploring multiple areas of personal cultural value and utilize it as a tool to convey concepts. Furthermore, throughout the series of the works, I ask the viewer to be familiar with different aspects of Iranian culture. The visual elements I have executed represent the ancient traditions in contrast to contemporary and modern life, which can be shown as symbols of two different lifestyles.

Design Incubation Colloquium 7.1: Oakland University

A Virtual Conference October 17, 2020, 1PM EST.

Presentations will be published on the Design Incubation YouTube Channel after October 3, 2020. Virtual Conference will be held online on Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 1pm EST.

Colloquium 7.1: Oakland University (#DI2020oct) will be held online. Registration for this event below.

Hosted by Maria Smith Bohannon and the Dept of Art and Art History at Oakland University, MI. This event is open to all interested in Communication Design research.

Presentations

A Design Conversation of the Interaction between Iranian and American Visual Culture
Setareh Ghoreishi
Assistant Professor
Oakland University

Exploring Connections between Environment and Community Through Design
Danilo Bojic
Assistant Professor
Winona State University

The Machine Hand
Ryan Molloy
Professor
Eastern Michigan University

Let’s Stay Neighbors: A Case Study in Civic Engagement
Chad Reichert
Professor
College for Creative Studies, MI

Sustainable Design Thinking: Changing the Design Process
Maria Smith Bohannon
Assistant Professor
Oakland University, MI

Graphic Design Principles: A History- And Context-Based First-Year Design Textbook
Anita Giraldo
Associate Professor
New York City College of Technology, CUNY

Patricia Childers
Adjunct Professor
New York City College of Technology, CUNY

The Children of Loki: Pairing Norse Mythology With Contemporary Visuals to Create a Provocative Narrative
Jimmy Henderson
Graphic Designer

Jimmy Henderson | Design & Illustration

Core Values Matter: The Role of the People in Shaping Corporate Responsibility
Lilian Crum
Assistant Professor
Lawrence Technological University

Why Design Educators Should Embrace Collaborative (Group) Work in the Design Classroom 
Abby Guido
Assistant Professor
Tyler School of Art and Architecture

Decentering Whiteness in Design History Resources

A crowdsourced bibliography meant to help instructors of design history decenter whiteness in their classes

Hello! This is a bibliography meant to help instructors of design history decenter whiteness in their classes. It’s a Google Doc and anyone is welcome to use it for non-commercial purposes: i.e., to share it, download it, contribute to it, participate in editing it, copy it, or repurpose it.

This is the second version of this document. The first version is archived here. The original editors were a group of white,1 US-based design history instructors who began working together to assemble this bibliography for themselves in June 2020, in response to their students’ demands for design history courses that accurately represent the contributions of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and other designers and scholars of color on their syllabuses. 

When we shared the bibliography in August 2020, our presentation of it centered ourselves and our process rather than the authors and designers included in the bibliography, which is exactly the opposite of decentering whiteness. We recognize that the launch of the bibliography didn’t clearly call for participation and did not explicitly seek colleagues of color to join as editors and contributors. Further, we acknowledge that the formality of the document gave the impression that it was not open for change or contribution. We apologize. 

We commit to inviting scholars and designers of color to further shape this collection of design history resources and to promoting their involvement in the project. We also wish to thank those who have already sent us comments, provided critical feedback, and contributed to the bibliography.  We hope this document will continue to grow and change. It will always be in process. 

There are many other resources addressing race and racism in the field of design that inspired our work on this one; these include, among others, AIGA DEC’s Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion Resources Archive, Ramón Tejada’s collaborative project The decolonizing, or puncturing, or de-Westernizing design Reader V4, Kimberly Jenkins’s The Fashion and Race Database, and Rikki Byrd’s The Fashion and Race Syllabus. We support and have benefited from all these resources.

  1. We have elected not to capitalize whiteness in this document. Some sources suggest capitalizing both Black and White to suggest their historical construction as racial identifiers. However, given that whiteness has a less-consistent meaning around the world, and on the advice of colleagues of color, we defer to the convention of capitalizing Black, Indigenous, Latinx, etc, but not white.

How to participate

This document is open for contributions from anyone interested in sharing resources that they have consulted or assigned in teaching design history.  Many of the initial contributors added works which reflected their fields in U.S. and European design history, and there is a significant need for geographic expansion.

Contributors may share resources and may also join the team who manage the document.  Please use this four-question Google Form to suggest new entries, provide feedback, or correct your own attributions/hashtags if you are an author or designer of any of the works cited.  

Our goals for this bibliography are to:

  1. Focus on race and ethnicity, specifically, in teaching design history. Gender, sexuality, class, nationality, (dis)ability, age, size, and religion all have profound implications for the study of design history. But, at this historical moment in mid-2020, we feel that design history instructors’ single most urgent need is for resources about race and ethnicity. We have therefore confined this document to sources that explicitly address racial/ethnic identities and/or the intersections of race/ethnicity with other aspects of identity.
  1. Address the field of design history as a whole, rather than a single subfield. Increasingly many design history courses are being taught as inclusive of multiple fields—among them graphic/interaction, craft/industrial, textiles/fashion, and interiors/architecture—so we’ve made an effort to ensure that all of them are well represented in this document.
  1. Maintain a flexible, expansive definition of design. White men have historically policed the boundaries of the design professions quite vigorously, and as a result, “design” has, almost by definition, excluded the activities of people of color, among others. In contrast, we understand design to occur within a network of producers, laborers, intermediaries/mediators, consumers, and users, so the entries in this bibliography span the gamut from high-status, “professional,” public-facing, and innovation- and profit-seeking design activities to informal, everyday, “amateur,” private, self-fashioning, and convention-following design activities. 
  1. Use a thematic rather than stylistic or chronological organization. We propose that decentering whiteness entails (among other things) organizing courses around themes other than canonical Western styles, movements, and designers. The bibliography avoids stylistic groupings, and is open to new themes.
  1. Include complete bibliographic information. We hope that providing a complete bibliographic entry for each item—rather than merely a link that may go dead in a few years—will ensure this resource has enduring value not only for faculty assembling syllabuses, but also for students writing papers and scholars conducting research.
  1. Annotate. We encourage  annotation to enable readers to discern at a glance what each source is about and how it might be useful in their teaching.
  1. Use hashtags to facilitate searching. We’re still in the throes of systematically tagging each entry to make it easy for readers to locate entries on specific themes, regions, time periods, and groups of people. Notably, there are no hashtags for Western style names or movements, which is intentional . Readers can of course hit Command+F/Ctrl+F and perform a natural-language search for the words Art Nouveau (for example), but we suggest instead that they consider searching for the hashtags #1850-1900 and #1900-1940, which will reveal a wealth of other themes they could fruitfully explore alongside or even instead of a particular style.

Contributors

*Matthew Bird (#MB), RISD

PJ Carlino (#PJC)

Priscila L. Farias (#PLF), University of São Paulo (Brazil)

Michelle Everidge, PhD (#MCE), Witte Museum 

Richard Fadok (#RAF), PhD candidate, MIT HASTS (History, Anthropology, Science, Technology, and Society) 

Carma Gorman (#CRG), The University of Texas at Austin

Elizabeth Guffey (#EG), Purchase College

*Brockett Horne (#BH), Maryland Institute College of Art

Ellen Huang (#EH), ArtCenter College of Design, Assistant Professor (of Material Culture), Humanities & Sciences 

*Jennifer Kaufmann-Buhler (#JKB), Purdue University

Elizabeth M Keslacy (#EMK), Miami University, Oxford, OH 

Anca I. Lasc (#AL), Pratt Institute

Berel Lutsky (#BL), Professor of Art, UW – Green Bay

Jamie Mahoney, (#JBM) Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts 

Erin Malone, MFA (#EKM), Chair BFA Interaction Design program at California College of the Arts

Yelena McLane (#YM), Florida State University

Lauren McQuistion, (#McQ) PhD Student, UVA School of Architecture 

Erica Morawski (#EM), Pratt Institute

*Gretchen Von Koenig (#GVK), Parsons/NJIT/Michael Graves School of Design

*Bess Williamson (#BW), School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Kristina Wilson (#KW), Clark University

*Victoria Rose Pass (#VRP), Maryland Institute College of Art

Phyllis Ross (#PR)

*Sara Reed (#SDR), Virginia Commonwealth University

Shelley Selim (#SMS), Curator of Design and Decorative Arts at the Indianapolis Museum of Art 

Peiran Tan (#PT), Editor at The Type, a Chinese typography and design media collective 

*Bonne Zabolotney (#BZ), Emily Carr University of Art and Design 

*Indicates current managers of the document

Colloquium 7.2: CAA Conference 2021 Call for Submissions

109th CAA Annual Conference, Virtual.
Deadline for abstract submissions: September 16, 2020.

We invite abstract submissions on presentation topics relevant to Communication Design research. Submissions should fall into one or more of the following areas: scholarly research, case studies, creative practice, or design pedagogy. We welcome proposals on a variety of topics across the field of communication design.

Accepted researchers will be required to produce a 6-minute videotaped presentation that will be published on the Design Incubation channel. The CAA conference session will consist of a moderated discussion of those presentations.

Submit an abstract of 300 words using the Design Incubation abstract submission form found here:
https://designincubation.com/call-for-submissions/

Submissions are double-blind peer-reviewed. Reviewers’ feedback will be returned. Accepted presentation abstracts will be published on the Design Incubation website.

109th CAA Annual Conference
February 10–13, 2021

Exact date and time, to be determined. This is a virtual conference event. Presenters will follow the basic membership and fee requirements of CAA.

We are accepting abstracts for presentations now until September 16, 2020.

CFP: The Fellowship Program at Design Incubation 2021

Call for Participation: 3-day academic design writing workshop. Applications accepted September 1– December 15, 2020.

Applications accepted: September 1–December 15, 2020.

Fellowship dates: June 3–June 5, 2021.

Location: Virtual.

Target Audience: Design academics in one or more of the following areas: graphic design, information design, branding, marketing, advertising, typography, web, interaction, film and video, animation, illustration, game design. Full-time tenure track or tenured faculty are given preference but any academic may apply.

Format: All Fellows accepted into the program participate in the Fellowship Workshop as part of the overall experience. The Fellowship workshops offers participants the opportunity to share and develop ideas for research and individual writing projects while receiving constructive feedback from faculty mentors and peers in their field.

Fellows arrive with a draft of their writing and work on this specific project throughout the various sessions of the Fellowship Workshop. Each meeting includes a number of short informational sessions and a session devoted to analyzing and editing written work. The remainder of the 3-day workshop will be focused on activities which allow participants to share their projects with peers and receive structured feedback. Between sessions, Fellows will have time to execute revisions, review others participants work, and engage in discussions. Initiation of and work on collaborative projects is encouraged.

For more further details visit:
The Fellowship Program at Design Incubation

To apply visit the application details and online form:
Fellowship Program format and online application process

For Frequently Asked Questions visit the FAQ page:
Fellowship Program frequently asked questions

Colloquium 7.3: Florida Atlantic University, Call for Submissions

Call for design research abstracts. Deadline: Saturday, January 9, 2021.

Submission Deadline: Saturday, January 9, 2021.

Event date: Saturday, April 10, 2021.

We invite designers—practitioners and educators—to submit abstracts of design research. This is a virtual event format.

Double-blind peer-reviewed colloquium abstracts will be published online. Please review the articles, Quick Start Guide for Writing Abstracts and Writing an Academic Research Abstract: For Communication Design Scholars prior to submitting.

Accepted presentations will be videotaped by the researchers and published online on the Design Incubation channel which are due by March 27, 2021. A moderated discussion will be held virtually on April 10, 2021. We encourage all attendees to watch the videos in advance of the moderated discussion. This event is open to all interested in Communication Design research.

Hosted by Camila Afanador-Llach, Assistant Professor + Graduate Coordinator, Graphic Design in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters at Florida Atlantic University

Presentations format is Pecha Kucha.

For more details, see the colloquia details and description. Abstracts can be submitted online for peer review.