The Design Writing Fellowship

Three Tracks: Books, Academic Articles and Book/Exhibition Reviews

Are you trying to bolster your research agenda or are you a design writer trying to decide where to publish? TheDesign Writing Fellowship (formerly the Design Incubation Fellowship) can help. The 2024 Fellowship has three tracks: Books, Academic Articles and Book/Exhibition Reviews. Participants take part in a 3-day virtual writing workshop where they learn about the publishing process, receive feedback on their writing and commit to working on their writing projects for 3-6 months. The Design Writing Fellowship is for design faculty, researchers, writers, and academics.

Applications will be accepted through November 30th

The 2024 Fellowship Workshop will be held May 29-31, 2024. All participants must participate in the workshop.

CALL – Key Topics and Sustained Research Programs in Communication Design

Visible Language 56.1 -Special Issue

The essence of a field entails its scope, actions, and outcomes. Communication Design entails conveying ideas using visual words and pictures, or typography and symbology. 

Therefore, it is reasonable that all the features of typographic embodiment from reading to interpreting, from social and cultural lenses to physical constraints of lighting and reading distance, from physicality of paper and ink to impression of high resolution led displays, from legibility of letterforms to rhetorical forms of writing, and more, should be well understood by communication designers. The same could be said of all the features of pictures, symbols, and icons, and in addition, all the features of the ways pictures and words combine in layouts across media from print to time-based to interactive media, and in addition to that, all the ways people interact with these features in a multitude of contexts. You get the idea. There is a lot to know about the extent, mechanisms, and impacts of Communication Design. 

But because Communication Design is a young discipline we know relatively little about almost all the aforementioned features, at least we ‘know’ little with the degree of precision or rigor that characterizes so many other disciplines. Because adolescent Communication Design knowledge has a wealth of unanswered questions and a broad expanse of topics needing investigation, to advance, Communication Design needs sustained research programs that focus on the key features of the discipline. 

Visible Language seeks to promote Communication Design research by exposing both what has been studied in-depth and what needs to be studied in-depth. 

This is a call for papers for the Summer 2022 issue of Visible Language that report on one of two related things: either a paper describing a series of related research studies spanning several years centered around a single topic – in other words a sustained research program, or a paper reporting research into what communication design topics are important enough that they should be researched for a sustained period – in other words, key topics that should have sustained research. 

Articles reporting sustained Communication Design research programs may be much different from article proposals reporting topics that need study. The report of a sustained research program will be retrospective and will cover not one study but where, how, what, and why a series of related studies have been conducted and may feature the role of collaboration, funding sources, and the nature of a rich topic worthy of sustained study. 

Articles describing Communication Design topics that merit sustained research should likewise be based on systematic study but will be prospective in nature, using some form of gathered and analyzed evidence to support why a particular topic merits sustained investigation including the topic’s definition and known parameters. 

Article proposals should be in the form of a one-sentence summary of the article followed by an outline of the manuscript argument in the general form: 

  • Introduction/Background – where this is grounded, why the subject is/was important; 
  • Methods – how this has been/might be studied; 
  • Results – what was/might be found; Discussion – why what was/would be found matters. 

Submit article proposals to: 
Mike Zender, Editor, Visible Language 

  • Article proposals due by Feb, 28, 2022. 
  • Notification of acceptance of article concept by Mar 15th, 2022. 
    *acceptance of concept means the manuscript will be sent for peer-review, only articles accepted by the peer-reviewers will be publish. 
  • Manuscripts due for peer-review on May 15th, 2022. 
  • Peer-reviews to authors: Jun 1st, 2022. 
  • Revised manuscripts due Jun 15th, 2022 publication – August 2022.

Collective Mapping of Communication Design Research and Scholarship

This is a collaborative, living, visual document that will further establish historical precedents and future trajectories.

November 12, 2021, 3-4pm EST 
Zoom link

AIGA DEC edition with Design Incubation Chairs Jessica Barness, Liz DeLuna, Heather Snyder Quinn, and Dan Wong. Design Incubation recently launched a new initiative to map current activities in Communication Design Research and Scholarship (R&S). We kicked off this project at the international Design Research Society Festival of Emergence last month, and for this second phase, we are bringing it to the AIGA DEC. This map is a collaborative, living, visual document that will further establish historical precedents and future trajectories for Communication Design R&S. Join us as we share progress, generate dialogue, and continue to shape this project.

Moderated by Rebecca Tegtmeyer

Design Writing Fellowship

The 2022 Design Writing Fellowship will be hosted by Writing Space, a community-based writing center for artists and designers run by Fellowship facilitator Maggie Taft. The program remains the same as it was in previous years and will be complemented by the other writing and editorial services Writing Space offers. Aaris Sherin, who led the DI Fellowship, continues to lead the Design Writing Fellowship at Writing Space and looks forward to working with a new group of design writers as they work to publish reviews, articles and books.

If you have a writing project you need help with or are a newer design writer looking for where to publish first, The Design Writing Fellowship has three tracks: Books, Articles and Reviews. Participants take part in a 3-day virtual writing workshop where they receive feedback, learn about the publishing process and commit to working on their writing projects for 3-6 months. The Design Writing Fellowship is for design faculty, researchers, writers, and academics.

Applications will be accepted 10/15-12/15

Fellowship Workshop will be held June 2, 3, 4 2022

Extended Deadline: Design Incubation Awards 2021

Check it out! We’ve extended the deadlines.

Design Incubation Communication Design Awards 2021

Has it been a hectic year for you too? Phew. And we’re not sure how this autumn will go. But we do know that there has been some very fascinating work produced recently. Great published works, creative and experimental projects, innovative teaching methods, and important designed service initiatives.

We’ve decided we’re going to break some rules and extend our own deadlines. The annual international Design Incubation Communication Design Awards 2021 have extended their nomination and entry period to Wednesday, December 1, 2021. 

We hope you will enter your work, or nominate the work of a colleague or graduate student. There’s lots of really great stuff out there, and our friends want to see it! Help us shine the light on these and offer you some recognition.

What is the $20 entry fee for? There are lots of hidden costs when running an all-volunteer organization. Even though most of them are relatively small, they add up to more than you would think. However, if this is the only thing stopping you from entering your work, please don’t let it be. Submit anyway. It’s on us. We are not motivated by profits at Design Incubation, we are motivated by seeing you succeed 🙂

Press Release: Changes at Design Incubation

September 2021

It’s been a season of change here at Design Incubation, and we have news to share with you. In addition to continuing our colloquia virtually, we’ve also started a Designing Your Research Agenda series of public events, and we continue to work on new resources for design faculty.

Design Incubation provides infrastructure and support for researchers and we develop initiatives to serve design faculty. The Design Incubation Fellowship, which has run annually for the past seven years, is now fully “incubated.” Aaris Sherin and Robin Landa will continue the Fellowship, independent of Design Incubation. They are thrilled with all the wonderful outcomes of the Fellowship over the years and look forward to continuing to work with design writers. Design Incubation will continue to support design writing initiatives, and we are planning future DI activities such as workshops and writing groups.

In light of taking full responsibility for the Fellowship, and after seven years of service, Aaris Sherin will be stepping down from her position as Chair of Design Incubation. She has enjoyed working on the colloquia, the 2017 Census, and various initiatives to help design faculty with writing. Aaris is proud of how the organization has grown and is honored to have been part of that process. 

Additionally, after six years of service, Robin Landa will be stepping down from her position as Chair of Design Incubation. She found working with design writers on their book proposals in the DI Fellowship very fulfilling and was proud to be part of the Fellowship team. She also is gratified to have connected so many design faculty with DI during her tenure and was thrilled about the recent collaborations between the AIGA DEC and DI. Robin is honored to have been part of this fine organization.

Alex Girard who has been leading our peer review efforts for the past four years will be moving on from the role of Director of Peer Review. We are grateful for all Alex’s work and expertise in helping to shape the colloquia. Alex recently received tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor. Congratulations, Alex!

We are excited to announce that Camila Afanador-Llach will be joining the Design Incubation leadership team as Director of Peer Review. Camila is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Visual Arts and Art History at Florida Atlantic University. Through her work, she imagines futures for the discipline of graphic design by mapping relationships between design practice and humanistic inquiry. 

In addition to their current directorship roles, Jessica Barness and Heather Synder Quinn will be stepping into the roles as Chairs of Design Incubation, joining Liz DeLuna and Dan Wong.

Please join us in thanking Aaris, Robin, and Alex for all their contributions over the years, and welcoming Camila to the team!

Design Incubation has additional Director of Communications role(s) to fill, in the areas of communications, design, and marketing. If you are interested in participating with the organization, please contact us at and provide a cv and letter of interest.

Mapping the Landscape of Research and Scholarly Activities in Communication Design

Design Research Society’s Festival of Emergence.
Friday, Sept 10 at 8am EST

Jessica Barness, Heather Synder Quinn, Dan Wong, Liz DeLuna

Facilitators: Laura Rossi Garcia, Nathan Matteson, Rebecca Tegtmeyer, Matt Wizinsky

This moment requires a potentially radical pivot towards reconsidering research and scholarship (R&S) in Communication Design. Academic institutions look to the disciplines for their knowledge and theoretical development within the field. They also expect established definitions and norms for research and scholarship, as the ways we bring forth novel work into thinking beyond the status quo. Therefore R&S must be defined by the discipline to ensure consensus among peers and thought leaders and subsequently recognized by institutions based upon their missions. We could be doing this better. The goal of this Moment is to generate a living, visual document to further establish historical precedents and future trajectories for Communication Design R&S. As the landscape broadens with new technological innovations, global crises force us to adopt new ways to share and communicate ideas and establish new methods, projects, and theses. This collaborative map will help to frame subsequent public discussions.

Outline: This Moment is part presentation, part workshop, and part coffee break.

The agenda will be as follows:

  • Brief introduction by the proposers
  • Proposers present a series of prompts
  • Groups are given access to a Miro online whiteboard
  • Full group collaboratively discussing a holistic map of Communication Design R&S

Liat Berdugo, author of The Weaponized Camera in the Middle East, joins the 2021 Design Incubation Fellowship

Please join us in welcoming Liat Berdugo in her role as a fellowship facilitator for the 2021 Design Incubation Fellowship. As a Design Incubation Fellow in 2018, Liat worked on a proposal for her recently published book The Weaponized Camera in the Middle East (Bloomsbury/I.B.Tauris, 2021). Liat brings experience as both a public and academic scholar and has published widely in journals, magazines and other venues. During the 2021 Fellowship, Liat will work with participants who are working on writing and publishing articles.

Liat Berdugo is an assistant professor of Art + Architecture at the University of San Francisco where she investigates embodiment, labor, and militarization in relation to capitalism, technological utopianism, and the Middle East. Her writing appears in Rhizome, Temporary Art Review, Real Life, Places, and The Institute for Network Cultures, among others. Bergudo’s latest book is The Weaponized Camera in the Middle East (Bloomsbury/I.B.Tauris, 2021). She is one half of the art collective, Anxious to Make, and is the co-founder of the Living Room Light Exchange, a monthly new media art series.

More on The Weaponized Camera in the Middle East

Drawing on unprecedented access to the video archives of B’Tselem, an Israeli NGO that distributes cameras to Palestinians living in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, Liat Berdugo lays out an argument for a visual studies approach to videographic evidence in Israel/Palestine. Using video stills as core material, it discusses the politics of videographic evidence in Israel/Palestine by demonstrating that the conflict is one that has produced an inequality of visual rights. The book highlights visual surveillance and counter-surveillance at the citizen level, how Palestinians originally filmed to “shoot back” at Israelis, who were armed with shooting power via weapons as the occupying force. It also traces how Israeli private citizens began filming back at Palestinians with their own cameras, including personal cell phone cameras, thus creating a simultaneous, echoing counter-surveillance.

Complicating the notion that visual evidence alone can secure justice, the Weaponized Camera in The Middle East asks how what is seen, but also who is seeing, affects how conflicts are visually recorded. Drawing on over 5,000 hours of footage, only a fraction of which is easily accessible to the public domain, this book offers a unique perspective on the strategies and battlegrounds of the Israel/Palestine conflict. More information about Berdugo’s work can be found at

Climate Designers EDU: Climify Design Projects

How educators bring climate-related projects and parameters into the classrooms

Sat, January 9, 2021
12:30pm – 2:00pm EST
Zoom Meeting

College students today are more aware of our climate crisis than previous generations. Many are actively looking for ways to use their creative talents to take much needed climate action in the classroom and out.

During this event, design educators are invited to join members of the Climate Designers EDU team as they share their own work and answer questions about how educators can bring climate-related projects and parameters into their classrooms.

The Climate Designers EDU team will provide an overview of the CD EDU initiative, share student work, demo their v1 climate project submission process, and answer any questions educators might have about the initiative or how to “climify” design projects. 

New Directors of Research Initiatives and Design Futures

Here at Design Incubation, 2020 has been a challenging yet productive and exciting year.  Despite the shifts to online teaching and the need to physically distance, we have continued to connect with you via virtual presentation opportunities. Also, we have been working on new resources for design faculty.
As we plan for a fresh start in 2021 and beyond, we continue to evolve our programming, developing new resources and events to better serve design researchers and scholars. To help us with these endeavors, we are pleased to announce we are appointing two new directors to the team. Jessica Barness will join Design Incubation as the Director of Research Initiatives and Heather Snyder Quinn will take on the role of the Director of Design Futures. Please join us in welcoming Jessica and Heather to the Design Incubation Leadership Team.
Jessica Barness is an Associate Professor in the School of Visual Communication Design at Kent State University. She is both a scholar and practitioner; her work has been published in internationally recognized journals. Recently, Jessica spearheaded the development of a pair of white papers, which examine the role of peer review in design research and publishing. Jessica will continue to work with the Design Incubation Leadership Team on research-related initiatives and new programming, which will examine how design faculty can approach writing from idea through to publication.
Heather Snyder-Quinn is an Assistant Professor of Design in The College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University. Her work focuses on the future ethics of emerging technology, including augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things. Heather was the host of Design Incubation’s Affiliated Society meeting at the College Art Association’s 2020 annual conference inviting twelve local design organizations in Chicago to participate in a round table and Q&A. She hosted a Design Incubation Colloquium at DePaul in 2019, which coincided with Chicago Design Week. We look forward to working with Heather to produce events and content focused on emerging technologies and their role in design futures.