Communication Design Faculty Census 2017

We invite faculty, researchers and interested parties to engage with the data collected as part of the Faculty Census 2017 and to use the information gathered here to support their own work and their engagement with institutions in higher education.
Deadline: Friday, December 15, 2017.

Devising Design Projects: From Conception to Deployment

Design Incubation invites educators, students and professional designers for a conversation focused on the creation of design projects, assignments and syllabi.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Type Directors Club
347 West 36th Street
Suite 603
New York, NY 10018

The development of design projects and course plans is being conducted in increasingly complex educational environments requiring a more sophisticated set of thoughtful and negotiated responses. Educators work to devise projects that will best serve students, the discipline and the profession. Once complete they then have to decide how and when these materials should be revised and updated. We must weigh our responsibility to be innovative and experimental against the need to be pragmatic and mindful of concerns such as job readiness and technological competencies. Design Incubation invites educators, students and professional designers to join us and a panel of experienced design educators for a lively and informative conversation focused on the myriad considerations that come into play during the creation design projects, assignments and syllabi and the thorny issues associated with their development and distribution.

The conversation will be moderated by Aaris Sherin, Professor of Design at St. John’s University and Liz Deluna, Associate Professor of Design at St. John’s University.

Ned Drew
Professor, Graphic Design Coordinator
Rutgers University-Newark

Co-editor, Design Education in Progress: Process and Methodology, Volumes 1, 2 and 3

Alex Girard
Assistant Professor Graphic Design
Southern Connecticut State University

Debbie Millman
Host, Design Matters
Chair, Masters in Branding
School of Visual Arts

Scott Santoro
Adjunct Professor
Pratt Institute

 Guide to Graphic Design



Ned Drew

Drew was a member of the AIGA’s DEC Steering Committee and is the Director of The Design Consortium, a student/teacher design studio. Drew was the co-editor of Design Education in Progress: Volumes 1, 2 and 3 and co-author of BY ITS COVER, Purity of Aim: The Book Jacket Designs of Alvin Lustig and George Giusti: The Idea is the Heart of the Matter.

Drew work has been included in Typographic Design: Form and Communication, Graphic Design Referenced, US Design 1975-2000, Working with Computer Type, the AIGA’s Rethinking Design 3: Speaking Volumes, Graphic Design Solutions and Color Management.Drew’s work has also been recognized by the AIGA, the TDC, the IDA, the Art Directors Club, Creativity, the FPO Awards, the UCDA and the AAM as well as Graphis, CA, Print and How magazines.

Ned Drew heads the Graphic Design area at Rutgers University-Newark where he teaches design and design history courses.

Alexander Girard

Alex Girard is an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Southern Connecticut State University. At SCSU, he serves as the Graphic Design program lead for the Art Department. Girard’s experience includes graphic design, web design, social media management, marketing and organizational leadership. He received a BA from the University of Northern Iowa, where he studied Graphic Design and Painting in 2004 and a MFA in Graphic Design from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2007. While at RIT, his research focused on using principles of graphic design to deconstruct, evaluate and reconstruct methods for developing organizational structures within a collaborative problem-solving environment. Girard continues this research and works to identify intersections between industry and academia that allow his students to engage with curriculum in collaborative, authentic, and meaningful ways.

Debbie Millman

Debbie Millman is Co-Founder and Chair of the Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She is also President of the design division at Sterling Brands where she has worked on the redesign of over 200 global brands, including projects with P&G, Colgate, Nestle, Kraft and Pepsi. Millman has authored six books on branding and an in 2005 she began hosting “Design Matters” the first podcast about design on the Internet. In 2011, the show was awarded a Cooper Hewitt National Design Award. Millman currently serves on the board member of The Type Director’s Club (TDC) and is President Emeritus of AIGA.

Scott Santoro

Scott W. Santoro is an adjunct professor at Pratt Institute, teaching graphic design there for over 20 years. He is the author and designer of “Guide to Graphic Design,” published by Pearson Education, which was recently translated into both Chinese and Arabic. Scott has served as a Fulbright judge for the program’s review of student design applications, and for Sappi Paper’s “Ideas that Matter” design grant. He was both a symposium presenter and design judge for the Brno International poster biennial in the Czech Republic, and speaker for the Australian Graphic Design Association’s seven city chapters. Scott received his BFA in graphic design from Pratt Institute, and his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. His studio, Worksight, is a noticeable entity among New York City design firms.

Announcement: Educators Communication Design Awards 2017

Design Incubation, the esteemed 2017 awards jury, and Bloomsbury Publishing is pleased to announce the recipients of the Design Incubation Educators Awards in Communication Design 2017 in the categories of Scholarship: Creative Work, Scholarship: Published Research, Service, and Teaching.
Thank you to all who entered the competition and those who participated in recognizing the efforts of academics in design research.

Category: Scholarship Creative Work

Portraits of Obama: Media, Fidelity, and the 44th President
Scholarship: Creative Work Award Winner

Kareem Collie


Harvey Mudd

Stanford University

Category: Scholarship Published Research

Critical Making: Design and the Digital Humanities
Scholarship: Published Research Award Winner

Jessica Barness

Associate Professor
Kent State University

Amy Papaelias

Assistant Professor
SUNY New Paltz

Category: Service

The Sit&Tell Project
Service Award Winner

Jenn Stucker
Associate Professor
Bowling Green State University

Category: Teaching

BMORE Than The Story
Teaching Award Winner

Audra Buck-Coleman
Associate Professor

University of Maryland College Park


White Plains Storefront Project: Art In Vacant Spaces
Teaching Award Runner-up

Warren Lehrer

School of Art+Design
Purchase College, SUNY
Founding Faculty Member
Designer as Author Graduate Program
SVA (School of Visual Arts)


Science Through Storybooks
Teaching Award Runner-up

Martha Carothers


University of Delaware


Audrey Bennett
Communication and Media
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Steven McCarthy (Chair)
Professor of Graphic Design
University of Minnesota

Emily McVarish
Associate Professor
Graphic Design; Design; Writing
California College of Art

Maria Rogal
Professor of Graphic Design
University of Florida

David Shields
Associate Professor & Chair of Department of Graphic Design
Virginia Commonwealth University


BMORE Than The Story

Teaching Award Winner

Audra Buck-Coleman
Associate Professor
University of Maryland College Park

The death of Freddie Gray and his treatment by police sparked anger, protest, and violence in Baltimore during April 2015. Mass media implicated area youth in the crime and destruction, whether they committed it or not. Their overriding narrative was pejorative and full of scorn. Students at Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts (AFSIVA), a public high school in West Baltimore, lost control of their narrative. BMORE Than The Story brought together art and design students from AFSIVA and University of Maryland (UMD) to collaboratively produce an exhibit response to the Baltimore Uprising. The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, a Smithsonian affiliate, hosted the exhibit, which opened during the one-year anniversary of Gray’s death and closed in September 2016.

The project was successful for its end product—the exhibit— as well as its curricular structure, which allowed students to create meaningful relationships and delivered multiple “teachable moments” over two consecutive semesters. This timeframe enabled the students to build a sense of community and have rich conversations about the issues at hand before diving into the exhibit’s potentially divisive issues. Almost 60 students—24 from UMD and 35 from AFSIVA—participated. I know of no other undergraduate project that has had students co-design at such scale and duration.

UMD students learned how to research, synthesize and create design about complex issues. They researched the death of Freddie Gray, police brutality, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and Baltimore’s history of race relations, economy, and culture. They then connected these findings to larger issues: academic achievement, incarceration rates, political power structures, and the level of violence present in these communities. They produced information designs visualizing their results. This heavy content was difficult to unpack and yet critical to understanding the AFSIVA students’ challenges and opportunities. With today’s information overload and plethora of wicked problems, clarity and synthesis are essential. The UMD students developed research techniques and honed their design skills to communicate and unpack a wicked problem lurking in their back yard.

These students also co-designed compelling visuals that effectively communicated their most salient messages. In a post-project survey, the AFSIVA students said the exhibit represents the issues that are most important to them (100%), their friends (89%), their school (83%), and Baltimore (94%). Through this project they also gained a better understanding of how they might leverage art to address important issues (88%) and learned to collaborate more effectively (98%). Finally, they said that because of this collaboration, they feel like more people cared about them and their struggle for justice.

This project exemplifies and advances a critical need for social design curricula: ways to incorporate assessment mechanisms. We are able to quantify and qualify the impact of this project. Our research results indicate that the project had a significant, positive impact upon the AFSIVA community. Findings can enrich future social design research and curricula.


Audra Buck-Coleman is an Associate Professor and director of the graphic design program at University of Maryland College Park. She has written, art directed, curated, designed, authored, led, and collaborated on numerous design projects including Sticks + Stones, an international multi-university collaborative graphic design project that investigates stereotyping and social issues. Her research focuses on social impact design, assessment mechanisms, design pedagogy and design’s role in culture, identities, and representation. She has led students through 16 whole-class collaborative projects, seven of which were with off-campus stakeholders and four of which were with on-campus ones. Seven addressed issues of underrepresented communities. One was an international collaboration with students from China, Germany, Turkey, and the United States. She holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a Bachelors of Journalism from the University of Missouri. She is currently pursing a PhD in sociology to connect to social design.

White Plains Storefront Project: Art In Vacant Spaces

Teaching Award Runner-up

Warren Lehrer
School of Art+Design, Purchase College, SUNY
Founding Faculty Member, SVA (School of Visual Arts) Designer as Author Graduate Program”

For two years in a row, the White Plains BID (Business Improvement District) asked me and my Community Design class at Purchase College, SUNY to “improve the visual appearance of vacant storefronts in downtown White Plains and thereby enhance the ambiance and pedestrian experience in the downtown business district.”

Community Design is a senior level graphic design class that serves the campus and non-profit communities while providing students with “real” projects that interrogate ideas of community, civic engagement, and an expanded role of the designer. The class functions as a design studio that works on multiple projects of different kinds, scales and media with a variety of clients/collaborators. In the fall of 2015, the Storefront project was one of 11 projects. In 2016, it was one of 6.

In year one of the Storefront project, the students and I reframed “the brief” to go beyond “aesthetic enhancement” of the vacant storefronts, by creating works of visual poetry that reflect the conditions of downtown White Plains and the people who inhabit it. As the class had ten other projects on its plate that semester, and the course is not a writing course (I also teach a elective writing course for designers), we brought in Judith Sloan to write poetry for the project. (Judith is my partner in EarSay, a non-profit arts organization dedicated to uncovering and portraying stories of the uncelebrated.) After researching White Plains and interviewing residents, commuters, historians and city officials, Judith wrote five poems that left room for visual interpretation by students.

Each student in the Storefront team did their own primary and secondary research on nearby White Plains and selected a poem or poems they were interested in. From the 20% commercial vacancy stock, students picked storefronts they thought most suitable for their selected poem(s) and began visualizing them within the frame of the storefront using typography as well as shape, color, texture, image, sequence, metaphor. The student’s interpretive “performance” of a text into a space was influenced by the store’s configuration, number of windows, and proximity to other landmarks (train station, bookstore, other vacant spaces, etc). Invariably, the design student’s re-composition of the poem necessitated consultation with the poet, sometimes culminating in collaborative re-writes. This fluid collaboration/negotiation between designer and writer, the whole creative team and the BID/property owners, and with materials and vendors—helped catapult the project beyond a normal class assignment or traditional designer/client relationship. The resulting transformation of a blighted area into an activated public space fusing poetry and art was an enlarging and successful experience for everyone involved. The windows stimulated conversation, enchantment and change in the community. Half the stores utilized in year one have since rented, the commercial vacancy rate is down to 17%, and the White Plains BID approached me to do the project again—with an expanded budget—for a second and now third year. In year two of the project, we expanded the media beyond printed vinyls and lenticulars, to include laser cutting, digital monitors and projections.

LehrerWhite Plains Storefront Project

Warren Lehrer is a designer, writer, and educator known as a pioneer of visual literature and design authorship. Awards include: Center for Book Arts Honoree, the Brendan Gill Prize, the Innovative Use of Archives Award, three AIGA Book Awards, a Media That Matters Award. Grants/fellowships include: NEA, NYSCA, NYFA, Rockefeller, Ford, Greenwall Foundations. Collections include: MoMA, the Getty Museum, Georges Pompidou Centre, Tate Gallery. With Judith Sloan, Lehrer co-founded EarSay, an arts organization dedicated to portraying lives of the uncelebrated. Lehrer is also a playwright, performer, and frequent lecturer and keynote speaker. He is a full professor at Purchase College, SUNY, and a founding faculty member of the Designer as Author grad program at SVA. His recent illuminated novel, A LIFE IN BOOKS, has received nine awards, including the International Book Award for Best New Fiction, the IPPY Outstanding Book of the Year Award, and a Print Magazine Design Award.

Basic Web Design as Foundation of Publication Design

Bruno Ribeiro
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
Department of Art and Design
California Polytechnic State University

When introduced to the design of print publications, students often struggle with type hierarchy and sometimes they lack appreciation for simplicity. Learning HTML and its tagging system, however, can help them in both matters.

After taking their first web class, students tend to have a better understanding of systematic typography and make more conscious decision about typographical design. Through the logical language of HTML and the tagging system, students clearly see the supporting structure of type hierarchy. Pedagogically, it helps educators guide students to make better choices. Because web design is completely new to most of the students, it’s an opportunity to frame its structure as an approach on how to properly treat type hierarchy and consistency. Even the default style for HTML documents, with no formatting of any kind, provides a clear correlation between content hierarchy and visual hierarchy. Therefore, an early web design class improves students’ understanding of systematic formatting a wide range media. Web design can also promote an appreciation for simplicity in design. Every non-designer knows how to (often badly) format a printed page in their text processor of choice. Design students, then, tend to overly design to differentiate their work from what non-designers do. Simple design on the web, however, already brings a sense of accomplishment to the student who is able to make something they built from scratch available online. Even utterly simple designs are more tangible as a learned skill.

Web design should not be seen only as a skill that students need to learn. It is an effective means to teach the principles of systematic typography and visual hierarchy. The earlier students learn these concepts, better are the chances they will have of fully integrating them into their creative practice.

Bridging the Business Design Gap

Martin Dominguez
Adjunct Professor
St. John’s University, Fordham University

Service design is an emerging field that operates at the intersection of human-centered design, user-experience design and business execution. Despite two decades of academic and practical work in the field (see Service Design Network,, service design has only recently emerged as a field of interest in the United States. Catalyzed by firms like IDEO and Fjord and design programs at Stanford and SCAD, interest in the field is gaining momentum among business decision makers.  As a result, new opportunities for graduating design students and experienced designers in related fields are emerging in both the public and private sectors. Growing the service design industry in the US and abroad, however, requires more than simply preparing the next generation of designers. Bridging the gap between designers/design thinking and the business community is also necessary in order to improve communication between designers and those who employ them.

The purpose of this presentation is to examine how engaging business students in the fundamentals of design might benefit design students and practitioners. Specifically, we explore how helping business see how design can be used to innovate and address complex market and organizational challenges might open new opportunities for designers in the future. Two service design-centered business courses (graduate and undergraduate) at two Universities in New York City provide a framework for understanding how best to educate business students in the fundamentals of design thinking and service design. Insights for design educators and practitioners including three fundamental principles that have emerged from this participatory action research. Areas for future research and pedagogy are also discussed.

Towards an Understanding of Cinema’s Impact on Design Education

Jason Tselentis
Associate Professor Of Design
College Of Visual And Performing Arts
Winthrop University

In the classroom, design students who view documentary films such as Gary Hustwit’s “Helvetica” (2007), Douglas Wilson’s “Linotype” (2012), and Briar Levit’s “Graphic Means” learn about designers, the tools they use (or used), and the meaning behind their creations. Film viewings and class discussions offer perspectives for students to recognize the significance (or lack of significance) a designer and/or their design has in yesterday’s and today’s culture.

To understand and appreciate designers and their work in those films and others has merit, exposing students to relevant issues and influences. But what can design students learn from not only watching such documentaries, but also investigating the methods and principles used for creating them? In cinematic arts and filmmaking degree and certificate programs, film studies deliver a framework to appreciate and understand cinematic creations. It’s visual literacy for cinema, teaching film students to read and analyze movies in preparation for making their own movies.

Film studies and filmmaking could also enhance a design student’s skill set. How would identifying a researchable documentary topic teach students about design history and design research, as well as storytelling? Studying film is also a platform for criticism. What could design students learn from fictional cinematic works, investigating the ways designers have been represented as antagonists, protagonists, or mere set dressing? What would design students say about the stereotypical designer, as (sometimes negatively) represented in movies and on television?

“Towards an Understanding of Cinema’s Impact on Design Education” will present a motion picture and film study platform  for design education that includes documentary films and more. It aims to demonstrate how a class (or classes) could shape design students into more well-rounded creatives, perhaps the next generation of filmmakers. And it proposes ways to mold them into capable and responsible critics or historians.

Designfulness: Teaching Designers to Mindfully Create a Sustainable Future

Rachel Beth Egenhoefer
Chair, Department of Art + Architecture 
Program Director & Associate Professor, Design
University of San Francisco

In today’s culture technology is speeding up our lives, creating the perceived need for everything to be faster, newer, better, sleeker, now!  As we train the next wave of designers, they are faced with these challenges both as students, and in the professional world they will enter.

Simultaneously, the world is faced with the climate change crisis.  On global and local levels the impacts of environmental degradation are real and impacting our communities.  The need for designers to think and work sustainably has never been greater.

One of the greatest challenges in teaching sustainable design (either to students or consumers for that matter) is doing so within a culture that values speed.   So much of our daily habits and lifestyles rely on quick, convenient decisions that   ultimately lead to unsustainable patterns.

To truly tackle issues in sustainability we, as designers and consumers, need to slow down.  Slowing down allows us to understand the complicated impacts of spilt second decisions so that we can redesign a better solution.  Slowing down allows us to understand community and those around us.  Slowing down allows us to question how we live, and how we want to live.  Mindfulness based practices is one way to slow down and reflect on these questions.

Integrating mindfulness into design education better prepares students to be more conscious designers in the future.  As a result, not only are they conscious designers, they are also more conscious citizens.  As such, one might hope, that future generations can combat fast moving lifestyles and create a more sustainable future.

This Design Incubator talk shares ideas in integrating mindfulness into design education to empower future designers to conscious designers and citizens for a better world.

Experiments in Building Empathy and Revealing Bias

Rebecca Mushtare
Associate Professor Of Web Design & Multimedia
State University Of New York At Oswego

When left to our own devices, we unconsciously design for the audience we know best—ourselves. Although some traditional-aged college students have had travel opportunities or exposure to diverse cultures and communities, most still have limited life experience, which magnifies this tendency.  If inclusivity is an ethic we want our students to adopt as professionals,  we need to do more than read and talk about empathy and bias in the classroom. These values need to be embedded in our curriculum including how we frame assignments, the way we talk about design during critique, and our evaluation systems.

Overhauling an entire curriculum, or even a course, and starting from scratch is likely not an option for most faculty. Additionally, teaching empathy and implicit bias can be overwhelming for faculty who have not been trained,  and therefore do not have the language to confidently speak on the subject. What we can do, though, is make incremental changes in our classrooms that focus on raising awareness of assumptions we make and how our choices impact our audiences. Small changes can have real impact.

In this session, I will share the successes, failures and limitations of four years of experimentation and tinkering in the courses I teach combined with my own journey to become more aware of my blindspots and biases.