Let’s Talk Teaching Strategies and Pedagogy for Design and Art Direction

Design education strategies and pedagogical methods for remote, online, hybrid, and face-to-face learning

June 16, 2021
3pm – 4:30pm

This event offers the opportunity for an open discussion of successful activities and challenging teaching scenarios during these chaotic academic transitions. Come join us to discuss your experiences with design education strategies and pedagogical methods for remote, online, virtual, hybrid, and asynchronous learning. Ideas for discussion include conventional vs. unconventional instructional methodologies, student warm-ups, interstitial exercises, laboratory assignments, minor and major course projects, critiques, rubrics, collaboration, discussions, challenges, and serendipity. Share your experiences and stories.

Robin Landa, Distinguished Professor in the Michael Graves College at Kean University and author of the newly published 4th edition of Advertising by Design (Wiley) and 6th edition of Graphic Design Solutions (Cengage) will moderate this workshop.

Presentation and Directives
Robin Landa, Kean University

Breakout Room Facilitators:

  • Anne H. Berry, Cleveland State University
  • Deborah Ceballos, Kean University
  • John Delacruz, San Jose State University
  • Neil Ward, Drake University
  • Li Zhang, Purdue University

Colloquium 8.1: Seton Hall University, Call for Submissions

Call for design research abstracts. Deadline: Saturday, July 24, 2021.

Submission Deadline: Saturday, July 24, 2021.

Event date: Saturday, October 23, 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 is due by October 2, 2021. A moderated discussion will be held virtually on October 23, 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 Christine Lhowe, Assistant Professor and Christine Krus, Professor of Art & Design, College of Communication and the Arts, Seton Hall University.

Presentations format is Pecha Kucha.

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

CFP: 2021 Design Incubation Communication Design Awards

Call for Nominations and Entries for the 2021 Design Incubation Communication Design Awards for Educators and Graduate Students

Design Incubation announces a call for nominations and entries for the 2021 awards for communication design educators and graduate students in the areas of scholarship, teaching, service. The aim of the awards program is to discover and recognize new scholarship (creative work and publications), teaching, and service in our broad and varied discipline. We hope to expand the design record, promote excellence and share knowledge within the field. 


We ask colleagues and mentors to identify outstanding creative work, publications, teaching, and service being created by design educators and graduate students in our field and to nominate these individuals for an award. Nominations will be accepted from April 15 to July 31, 2021. 

Entry Guidelines

Entries will be accepted from June 1–August 31, 2021. Complete the online entry form with the following:

Title: Description of project and outcomes (not to exceed 500 words)

Supporting Materials: (limited to 5-page medium resolution pdf of artwork; web links to websites, videos, other online resources; published documents or visual documents)

Biography of applicant/s (150 words per applicant)

Curriculum vitae of applicant/s

The 2021 Design Incubation Awards: Graduate Student Work 

If you are faculty advising graduate students please encourage students to enter the competition by nominating them for the awards.  The future of communication design education begins with the work of future faculty and researchers in the field of Communication Design. Recognition of graduate student work will be grouped and reviewed in the categories of scholarship, creative projects, service, and teaching. Graduate students currently enrolled in graduate design programs are invited to submit scholarship, creative projects, service projects, teaching innovations they completed during graduate study or up to one year after graduation. 

2021 Jury

Gail Anderson, School of Visual Arts, New York

John Bowers, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois

Lesley-Ann Noel, North Carolina State University, North Carolina

Maria Rogal, University of Florida, Florida

Lucille Tenezas, Parsons School of Design, New York

Teal Triggs (Chair), Royal College of Art, London


Gail Anderson

Gail Anderson is an NYC-based designer, educator, and writer. She is Chair of BFA Design and BFA Advertising at the School of Visual Arts and the creative director at Visual Arts Press. Anderson has served as senior art director at Rolling Stone, creative director of design at SpotCo, and as a designer at The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine and Vintage Books. She has taught at SVA for thirty years and has coauthored 15 books on design, typography, and illustration with the fabulous Steven Heller. 

Anderson serves on the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee for the US Postal Service and the advisory boards of Poster House and The One Club for Creativity. She is an AIGA Medalist and the 2018 recipient of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Lifetime Achievement Award for Design. Her work is represented in the Library of Congress’s permanent collections, the Milton Glaser Design Archives, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

John Bowers

John Bowers is chair of the Visual Communication Design department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Through making, writing, and teaching, he explores issues of individual and collective identity. His making practice repurposes newspapers from public to private record, and billboard paper into forms that address their underlying targeting strategies and have been sold through Printed Matter. He worked as a Senior Identity Designer at Landor (San Francisco) during the dot-com bubble. His professional work has been published in 365: AIGA, Communication Arts, ID, and Graphis. His writing includes “A Lesson from Spirograph,” (Design Observer), Introduction to Two-Dimensional Design: Understanding Form and Function, Second Edition (Wiley), and Visual Communication Design Teaching Strategies, which isposted on the AIGA Educators Community website. He has been a curriculum consultant and visiting designer in the US, Canada, and Sweden.

Lesley-Ann Noel

Dr. Lesley-Ann Noel is a faculty member at the College of Design at North Carolina State University. She has a BA in Industrial Design from the Universidade Federal do Paraná, in Curitiba, Brazil, a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago and a Ph.D. in Design from North Carolina State University. 

Lesley-Ann practices design through emancipatory, critical, and anti-hegemonic lenses,  focusing on equity, social justice, and the experiences of people who are often excluded from design research, primarily in the area of social innovation, education and public health. She also attempts to promote greater critical awareness among designers and design students by introducing critical theory concepts and vocabulary into the design studio e.g. through The Designer’s Critical Alphabet.

She is co-Chair of the Pluriversal Design Special Interest Group of the Design Research Society.

Maria Rogal

Maria Rogal is a Professor of Graphic Design and founding director of MFA in Design & Visual Communications at the University of Florida. She is the founder of D4D Lab, an award-winning initiative codesigning with indigenous entrepreneurs and subject matter experts to support autonomy and self-determination. After over a decade working with partners in México, she cofounded Codesigning Equitable Futures to foster respectful collaborations among the university and local community in Gainesville, Florida. She continues to speak and write about social and codesign, recently presenting at Pivot 2020, and co-authored “CoDesigning for Development,” which appears in The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Design. Her research has been funded by AIGA, Sappi, and Fulbright programs, among others, and her creative design work has been featured in national and international juried exhibitions.

Lucille Tenazas

Lucille Tenazas is an educator and graphic designer based in New York and San Francisco. Her work is at the intersection of typography and linguistics, with design that reflects complex and poetic means of visual expression. She is the Henry Wolf Professor of Communication Design at Parsons School of Design and was the Associate Dean in the School of Art, Media and Technology from 2013-2020. She taught at California College of the Arts (CCA) for 20 years, where she developed the MFA Design program with an interdisciplinary approach, focusing on form-giving, teaching and leadership.

Lucille was the national president of the AIGA from 1996-98 and was awarded the AIGA Medal in 2013 for her lifetime contribution to design practice and outstanding leadership in design education. She received the National Design Award for Communication Design by the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in 2002. Originally from Manila, the Philippines, Lucille studied at CCA and received her MFA in Design from Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Teal Triggs (Chair)

Teal Triggs is Professor of Graphic Design and leads on the MPhil/PhD programme in the School of Communication, Royal College of Art, London. As a graphic design historian, critic and educator she has lectured and broadcast widely and her writings have appeared in numerous edited books and international design publications. Triggs’s research focuses on design pedagogy, criticism, self-publishing, and feminism. She is Associate Editor of Design Issues (MIT Press) and was founding Editor-in-Chief of Communication Design (Taylor & Francis/ico-D). Her recent books include: co-editor with Professor Leslie Atzmon of The Graphic Design Reader (Bloomsbury), author of Fanzines (Thames & Hudson)and the children’s book The School of Art (Wide Eyed Editions) which was shortlisted for the ALCS 2016 Educational Writer’s Award. She is Fellow of the Design Research Society, International Society of Typographic Designers and the Royal Society of Arts.

Designing Products of the Future Through Speculative Design

In design education, it is vital to bring future thinking into class projects

Mehrdad Sedaghat-Baghbani
Assistant Professor
Florida Atlantic University

Having a logical and possible image of the future keeps us safe from natural disasters and leads us to welcome new opportunities. Through speculative design, we can propose future scenarios that we prefer rather than one we just encounter. Benjamin Bratton writes that “Speculative design confronts an uncertain and ambiguous future and seeks to give it shape.” 

Design is a future-oriented discipline that goes beyond traditional realms of production and communication. It is expected that design plays a greater role of socio-technical intervention. Synchronizing design students and the educational system with these emerging demands has always been one of the main challenges of design educators. According to Dunne and Raby in their book Speculative Everything, designers should not just address issues of today, but also take a look into the future and ask, “How can we address future challenges with design?” In design education, it is vital to bring future thinking into class projects not only to introduce students to larger disciplinary conversations but also to provide them with critical tools to map a satisfying picture of the future as designer citizens. But it is important to understand that speculative design is not a prediction of the future. Rather, it creates a narrative of possible future realities that help us question the possible implications for all aspects of society. 

In the course of an exercise in problem-solving and macro approaches to projects in an undergraduate level visual design course at Florida Atlantic University, students were asked to speculate about a product of the future by analyzing a current advanced technology. By studying the path of emergence and the development of that technology to date, they were able to speculate about the direction of this progress over a period of twenty years. Being careful to avoid temptations for fantasy, they were able to envision a future that is plausible and probable, but not impossible. In a four-week long project, the outcomes were various future products for society that were presented as prototypes and posters by the students in the class. 

This presentation addresses the methods and processes we used to design the future as a Graphic Design class project, and it showcases several student projects in order to have a better understanding of the process.

This research was presented at the Design Incubation Colloquium 7.3: Florida Atlantic University on Saturday, April 10, 2021.

Understanding Racial and Gender Bias in AI and How to Avoid It in Your Designs and Design Education

How biases are present in our design processes and design tools

Sarah Pagliaccio
Adjunct Professor
Lesley University
College of Art and Design
Brandeis University

We are using artificial intelligence-enabled software every day when we post to social media, take pictures, and ask our phones for directions. But these apps are not designed to serve everyone equally. Institutional bias is present in the tools that we hold in our hands and place on our kitchen counters. Recent research on and disclosures by the tech giants have revealed that voice and facial-recognition apps are optimized for white, male voices and faces, respectively. The data used to “teach” the algorithms learned from the historical training data that women belong in the home and black men belong in jail. All of this leads to bias where we least want to see it—in courtrooms, in classrooms1, in elections, in our social-media feeds, in our digital assistants, and in our design tools. (Meanwhile, women drive 75-95% of purchasing decisions in the US and we are rapidly becoming a majority-minority nation.)

In this presentation, we will review some of the most egregious recent examples of AI-driven racism and sexism and take a look at some less well-known examples, including the changes to Twitter’s algorithm that favored white faces over black faces; the MSN robot editor that confused the faces of mixed-race celebrities; AI assistants that screen job applications and immigration applications; voice-recognition apps in cars that don’t understand women drivers, voice-activated apps that assist disabled veterans; and predictive-text software that could exacerbate hate speech. We will explore how these biases are present in our design processes and design tools, specifically those that use speech, image, and name generators.

Finally, we will review options for confronting these biases—like taking the implicit bias test, knowing the flaws in underlying data sources we rely on, expanding our user research to include diverse audiences, and using text sentiment analysis to remove our own bias from interview scripts, among other options—so we do not perpetuate gender and racial bias in our design solutions and design education.

Notes and References

  1. A group of 68 white, elementary-school teachers listened to and rated a group of white and black students for personality, quality of response to a prompt, and current and future academic abilities. The white teachers uniformly rated white students higher than black students; black, English-speaking students; and students with low physical attractiveness. The researchers concluded that some of these children’s academic failures might be based on their race and dialect rather than their actual performance. (Indicating that no one is immune from cultural biases, the duo who performed this research labeled the nonblack, English dialect that the white students spoke Standard English rather than White English.) See DeMeis, Debra Kanai, and Ralph R. Turner, “Effects of Students’ Race, Physical Attractiveness, and Dialect on Teachers’ Evaluations.” Contemporary Educational Psychology, Vol. 3, No. 1, January 1978.

This research was presented at the Design Incubation Colloquium 7.3: Florida Atlantic University on Saturday, April 10, 2021.

Addressing Opportunity: The Landscape of Inequality

Investigating how space, social consciousness, and populations interact between the relationship of individual-level actions and community-level outcomes

Mia Cinelli
Assistant Professor
The University of Kentucky

Shoshana Shapiro
PhD Candidate
University of Michigan

At the intersections of art, design, and sociology, “Addressing Opportunity: The Landscape of Inequality” is a collaboration between Shoshana Shapiro, PhD candidate in Public Policy and Sociology at the University of Michigan, and Mia Cinelli, Assistant Professor of Art Studio & Digital Design at the University of Kentucky. This series of designed postcards showcases the impact of individual actions on income inequality in the United States. These works explore narrative constriction and dissemination of data through visual sociology, which uses visual communication to convey or explore sociological concepts and relationships.

Addressing Opportunity examines how space, social consciousness, and populations interact by investigating the relationship between individual-level actions and community-level outcomes. Borrowing the visual language of postcards, this series references desired locations, geographic movement, and brevity of communication across distance. Subversively alluding to idealized imagery of mid-century suburbia, each postcard features information on income inequality relative to history, personal choices, and observed national trends. Using accessible exhibitions as a catalyst for discourse, these postcards are displayed as a narrative series, each revealing new information. In addition, these works are accompanied by free postcards for audience members to send, as well as a brochure on individual actions to consider.

This presentation explores the development of this body of work, as well as the opportunities presented by interdisciplinary collaboration between design and the empirical social sciences more generally. We consider our work in conversation with other narrative or data-driven projects such Dear Data and the Opioid Spoon Project, while works such as Postsecret, Zoe Leonard’s You see I am here after all or Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones’s Postcards From the Future project set precedent for postcards as a discursive design medium. By designing artwork about data, we hope to make information accessible that can inform people’s decisions and engender positive change.

This research was presented at the Design Incubation Colloquium 7.3: Florida Atlantic University on Saturday, April 10, 2021.

Stories from the Mchafukoge: Kanga as a form of Visual Communication

Kanga cloth, cotton fabric wraps screen printed, typically in three colors, that measure about 39 inches x 59 inches, are bought and sold in Tanzania and Kenya

 Ziddi Msangi
Associate Professor
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Vermont College of Fine Arts

My interest in this project spawns from my own cultural history, one that I revisited when I embarked on a creative writing exercise during a sabbatical in 2011. As I thought of colors and language, images of the Kanga of my childhood emerged. As a designer, I realized in retrospect that this cloth was layered with meaning and needed deeper scholarly exploration on my part. 

This paper analyzes the intersectional space between public and private that Kanga cloth occupy and the specific context that Kanga cloth are bought and sold in Tanzania and Kenya. Kanga are cotton fabric wraps screen printed, typically in three colors, that measure about 39 inches x 59 inches (100 cm by 150 cm). The structure of the kanga consists of three parts: a patterned border, a central design and a saying or proverb that is placed in a box, above the bottom border. They are produced in Tanzania and Kenya for the domestic market. Kanga are also produced abroad and imported from India and China. This study situates Kanga in the area of visual communication practice. 

Because Kanga cloth occupies a unique discursive space, a case study approach allows for the retention of individual, personal voices and the specific context that Kanga are used. The corpus of this study is based on life story interviews of four women who sell Kanga in the Mchafukoge market, conducted during the summer of 2018. Because of the historical nature of this textile, the interviews also consisted of viewing the private collection and allowing the women to “read” the fabric and describe their personal history in relation to the storied cloth. 

Kanga are significant because they inhabit an intersectional space between public and private when women wear them. A subtle, but important role of Kanga is its function as resistance (Beck, 2000). Women read the text and memorize it as associates with a certain pattern. So in passing, one may know the message contained on a Kanga without necessarily being able to read the inscription. 

Therefore contextualizing Kanga as a historical visual communication practice and a contemporary political act is significant for two reasons: it fills a gap in the literature and it brings an East African interpretative framework to the objects of study. The significance of Kanga are the weaving of intercultural influences. Symbols, images and language express both the present and past narratives of the peoples that form Swahili identity. (Ressler, 2012). 

Significantly, this project analyzes Kanga, worn on women’s bodies, as forms of intercultural communication and an affirmation of identity, which ultimately participates in acts of subversion and agency. This project considers Kanga as a visual text wrapped in history, social protest and gender politics. 

This research was presented at the Design Incubation Colloquium 7.3: Florida Atlantic University on Saturday, April 10, 2021.

Visual and Verbal Communication on Sustainable Packaging As a Vehicle for Public Education and Awareness

There is no universal, standardized label to inform that packaging is sustainable

Hyena Nam
Adjunct Professor
Visual Communication Department
Kent State University

Designers have a responsibility, to participate, in sustainable design strategies which can help educate society and guide it to preferred solutions. One such solution might be the usage of sustainable package designs, which would serve to preserve the environment, use renewable, recycled resources, and facilitate effective material recovering (Definition of Sustainable Packaging).

One of the significant findings from case studies of the sustainable packaging was that effective visual and verbal communication has often been overlooked in many sustainable package designs. There is no universal, standardized label to inform the public that the packaging is sustainable and promotes the need for sustainability. Additionally, the terminology used for labeling is confusing and there aren’t sufficient informative statements for the public which clearly illustrate the proper method of disposal.

It is important to choose well-defined and clear language in order that the public is able to distinguish between labels. Visual and verbal packaging designations are important to influence consumer responses (Magnier and Schoormans) and a higher degree of understanding makes it easier for the consumer to execute actual behavior (Grunert, Klaus G., et al.). Educating the public through a successful communication design should be prioritized. The purpose of this critical approach is to develop a conceptual framework for the understanding of sustainable package designs, and to explore effective visual communication methods to reach consumers by creating tangible, sustainable, package designs.

The processes of designing a sustainability label aids the understanding of consumer perspectives in regards to their awareness and motivation toward sustainability. In the end, it helps to develop visual and verbal signs, which can impact consumer behavior and promote the needs of sustainability. It can also serve as an opportunity to gain an in-depth insight into visual communication in packaging designs which, will broaden the knowledge base of designers creating successful sustainable packaging designs.

This research was presented at the Design Incubation Colloquium 7.3: Florida Atlantic University on Saturday, April 10, 2021.


Grunert, Klaus G., et al. “Sustainability Labels on Food Products: Consumer Motivation, Understanding and Use.” Food Policy, vol. 44, Feb. 2014, pp. 177-189. EBSCOhost, doi:dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2013.12.001.

Magnier, Lise and Jan Schoormans. “Consumer Reactions to Sustainable Packaging: The Interplay of Visual Appearance, Verbal Claim and Environmental Concern.” Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2015. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2015.09.005.

Sustainable Packaging Coalition. Definition of Sustainable Packaging. SPC, 2011, sustainablepackaging.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Definition-of-Sustainable-Packaging.pdf. Accessed 22 May. 2018.

The Spectacle of Violence: Illustrating Surpanakha’s Mutilation

Research on the history of Amar Chitra Katha comics

Shreyas R Krishnan
Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts
Washington University in St.Louis

The mutilation of Surpanakha is a well known plot point in the Hindu epic Ramayana. Cast as a demoness and the female abject in this narrative, Surpanakha serves as a crucial turning point in the larger epic. When her nose and ears are cut off as punishment for perceived sexual transgressions, it sets in motion a chain of events that form the remainder of the Ramayana’s storyline. 

This paper examines visuals of this particular scene as illustrated in comics on the Ramayana story published by Amar Chitra Katha. This examination references existing research on the history of Amar Chitra Katha comics and their representation of women characters, while additionally applying the lenses of gender and film theory in its approach. Three issues of Amar Chitra Katha are first compared for their illustrations and narration of this moment of violence, before moving on to juxtapositions with the same scene in other contemporary long-form illustrated Ramayanas, and with photographer Jodi Bieber’s Time magazine cover image of Aisha Bibi who was similarly mutilated by the Taliban. 

By analogizing these visuals of gendered violence, and interrogating the relationship between text and image in each of them, this paper analyzes how Surpanakha’s mutilation is illustrated for public consumption.

This research was presented at the Design Incubation Colloquium 7.3: Florida Atlantic University on Saturday, April 10, 2021.

Forensic Abstraction in Israel/Palestine: the Graphic Representations of Bodies in Citizen Media

The forensic visual investigations, from a design research perspective, using B’Tselem video in Israel/Palestine

Liat Berdugo
Assistant Professor
University of San Francisco

What kinds of images spark social change? What kinds of images demand justice? Since 2013, Berdugo has been researching in the video archives of B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization that distributes cameras to Palestinians living in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip and gathers the footage. A camera is given to a Palestinian with the conviction that “seeing is believing,” or that visual recordings will cause change to the sociopolitical order. Yet, in recent years, citizen media have been elevated not as visual evidence in and of themselves, but as material for advanced “visual” or “forensic” investigations by firms like Forensic Architecture, Bellingcat, and New York Times Visual Investigations. Such investigations amalgamate numerous citizen-recorded videos to create a final, forensically abstracted result that “proves” a human rights violation occurred. 

 This talk studies the forensic visual investigations using B’Tselem video in Israel/Palestine from a design research perspective, and specifically interrogates the graphic representation of Palestinian bodies in such investigations. For instance, Forensic Architecture frequently abstracts and instrumentalizes the images of Palestinian bodies for the task of synchronizing videos. Such visual abstractions both homogenize and erase Palestinian bodies from view — two key tactics utilized by the Israeli occupation to discredit and dehumanize Palestinians at large. However, such forensic abstractions also support the Palestinian appeal to the concept of a “pre-social body”—a body that exists before gender, nationality, ethnicity, race, class, age, or other social categories have marked it—as a means of access to human rights. In sum, this talk asks whether forensically abstracted images demand justice more vehemently than raw media. 

 This talk draws from Berdugo’s new book, The Weaponized Camera In the Middle East (Bloombsury/I.B.Tauris, 2021), for which a proposal was originally developed at a Design Incubation Fellowship in 2018.

This research was presented at the Design Incubation Colloquium 7.3: Florida Atlantic University on Saturday, April 10, 2021.