Designing Your Research Agenda 2.1

Design scholars and researchers discuss various aspects of their research agendas

Friday, January 27, 2023
2PM EST
Online ZOOM Event

Designing Your Research Agenda is a panel discussion and open forum for design scholars and researchers to discuss various aspects of their research agendas. We aim to open a dialog regarding multiple challenges of discovering one’s design research inquiry. Design Incubation will also be discussing some of their ongoing work with the mission and focus of supporting design research. Designing Your Research Agenda is an ongoing design research event series.

Some of the questions we will discuss with panelists include:

  • How did you determine your research agenda (high-level timeline of your career/trajectory)
  • How do you define research and why do you think it matters/for society, the field, and yourself?
  • How do your department and institution define and support the work you do?
  • How would you describe/categorize your department and institution?
  • If you were going to position your work within a category, would you say your research addresses: design theory, design history, design practice, design research (traditional graphic design, speculative design, UXUI, typography, AR, VR, creative computing, design solutions, etc.), design pedagogy, or something else?
  • What barriers (if any) exist at your institution or in the field for creating and disseminating your research?

PANELISTS

Kate Hollenbach
Assistant Professor of Emergent Digital Practices 
University of Denver

Lisa Maione
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
Kansas City Art Institute

Matthew Wizinsky
Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director
University of Cincinnati
PhD researcher, Carnegie Mellon University 

Moderators

Jessica Barness
Kent State University

Heather Snyder Quinn
Washington University in St. Louis

Biographies

Kate Hollenbach 
Assistant Professor of Emergent Digital Practices
University of Denver

Kate Hollenbach is an artist, programmer, and educator based in Denver, Colorado. She creates video and interactive works examining the language and vocabulary of user interfaces with a focus on user habits, data collection, and surveillance. Her art practice is informed by years of professional experience and as an interface designer and product developer. She has presented and exhibited work in venues across the United States, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, SIGGRAPH, and INST-INT. Kate holds an MFA from UCLA Design Media Arts and a B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from MIT. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Emergent Digital Practices at University of Denver and serves on the Board of Directors for the Processing Foundation. https://www.katehollenbach.com/

Lisa Maione
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
Kansas City Art Institute

Lisa Maione is a designer, artist, and educator based in Kansas City, MO. Her research concerns the nature of the screen as a material agent that affects perceptions of histories, social economy, and the self in relation to others. As an interdisciplinary artist, she is interested in emphasizing the residue of memory through assembling and structuring relationships between objects. As a designer, she is interested in how to activate and enact “graphic design methods” outside of commercial exchange as a primary context. By displacing design-like methods into vulnerable states outside of capital and inside emotional visual vortexes, aberrations and distortions emerge and are made palpable as affective, productive output. Lisa is an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the Kansas City Art Institute.  https://lisamaione.com/

Matthew Wizinsky
Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director
University of Cincinnati,
and
PhD Researcher
Carnegie Mellon University

Matthew Wizinsky is a designer, researcher, educator, and author on contemporary issues in design practice and research. He has over 20 years of professional experience in graphic, interactive, exhibition, and experiential design. He is an Associate Professor & Graduate Program Director in the Ullman School of Design at the University of Cincinnati, PhD researcher in Transition Design at Carnegie Mellon University, and Associate Editor for the oldest peer-reviewed design journal, Visible Language. He is the author of Design after Capitalism (MIT Press, 2022). https://mwizinsky.net/

#designhistory #designthinking #designpedagogy #designtheory #designresearch

An Argument for Including the Banal in Design Histories

It is critical to understand how basic design efforts are explicitly world-building

Gabi Schaffzin
Assistant Professor
York University

Too often, design students are not given access to design histories that go beyond the hero-centric survey course that focuses on canonical figures responsible for forging a new path in the field or becoming household. In design, there are perhaps a few dozen of these individuals whose work will be indelibly stamped onto the brains of our undergraduates by the time they enter the workforce. That said, what those young designers do after graduation will most likely not feel terribly revolutionary as they sketch a user interface, layout a newsletter, or prepare a PowerPoint for their manager. As I will argue in this talk, however, it is critical to understand this type of work as explicitly world-building. 

We must as design educators help our students recognize how complicated these seemingly banal artifacts are and see the inherent complexity of the issues surrounding them. By framing these complexities as systemic, we can break the spell of the canonical designer. A beautiful poster is, to be sure, seductive. But our students must pay attention to the interfaces and visual tools they build that will shape their world. In this talk, I will present a few such examples: a drop-down menu wherein a Palestinian’s nationality is not listed; a single black line used to facilitate the measurement of a patient’s pain; an online form used to send in tips for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. If the time allows, I will also provide tips on how to find these examples, including via a tip of the cap to the relatively new Peoples’ Graphic Design Archive.

Certainly, if we are going to teach the tools to reshape the world, we must make sure our students have solid ground for survival—as such, I am not suggesting we fully jettison the foundational design education. But the problematics associated with the aforementioned artifacts are communal. By pairing banal design histories with systemic thinking and autonomous design approaches within the design practice curriculum, we can help our students understand their power and position them to make real, meaningful change.

Design Incubation Colloquium 9.1: Kent State University

Saturday, October 15, 2022
Time: 1:00pm–2:00pm
Online ZOOM event

Hosted by Jessica Barness, Associate Professor and Sanda Katila, Associate Professor, School of Visual Communication Design, Kent State University.

Presentations will be published on the Design Incubation YouTube Channel after October 7, 2022. Virtual Conference will be held online on Saturday, October 15, 2022 at 1pm EST.

MODERATORS

Jessica Barness
Associate Professor 
Kent State University

Sanda Katila
Associate Professor
Kent State University

PRESENTATIONS

Subject, Material, Tool: A Strategy for Harnessing the Visual Communication Possibilities of Physical Materials
Anne Jordan
Assistant Professor
Rochester Institute of Technology

Gadzooks: An Embellished Connection Between Like-Minded Characters
Susan LaPorte
Professor
College for Creative Studies

Come Back Home: a Case Study of a Collaborative Arts-based Research Project
Liese Zahabi
Assistant Professor
University of New Hampshire

An Argument for Including the Banal in Design Histories
Gabi Schaffzin
Assistant Professor
York University

Prototyping Interactive and Exploratory Visualizations for Interdisciplinary Dialogues
Eugene Park
Associate Professor
University of Minnesota

Designing with Power: Drawing Parallels Between Design Pedagogy and Writing Workshops
Joshua Korenblat
Associate Professor
State University of New York at New Paltz

Voices Heard: Designing an Oral History Archive
Kimmie Parker
Assistant Professor
Oakland University

Say No to Stigma: Making Mental Health Visible in Rural Ugandan Primary Schools
Penina Laker
Assistant Professor
Washington University in St Louis

Exploring the Research Map: Thoughts on Design Research Investigations

An Affiliated Society Meeting at the 110th Annual CAA Conference

Join Design Incubation – Business Meeting on Thursday, March 3, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM at the 110th Annual CAA Conference. Free and open to the public.

Design Incubation Directors Jessica Barness, Liz DeLuna, Camila Afanador-Llach, and Dan Wong will moderate a discussion on the mapping of design research and its development trajectory.

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 (DRS) Festival of Emergence 2021, and workshopped a second phase with AIGA DEC November 2021. 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.

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

Towards a Typographic Pluriverse

The notion of decolonizing type is massive in scope: from its history, to its design, application, technology, and future.

Laura Rossi García
Professional Lecturer
DePaul University

This research examines the history, practice, and pedagogy of typography. Typography is at the core of design—both implicit and explicit in its role in shaping language, culture, and power structures—but it is mired in “racial homogeneity and dominated by white men.”1 The selection, use, and application of typography—from style to legibility—can uphold or disrupt dynamics of power: who can read it, who uses it, who made it, whose voice does it carry—human, machine, the included or the excluded. While there is great movement to decolonize design, less is happening specific to decolonizing typography, or decolonizing type pedagogy. “Letterforms are loaded cultural objects” 2 —a container for language— and an “extension of the spiritual, social, political, and historic mind-set of nations”.3

The very notion of decolonizing type is massive in scope: from its history, to its design, application, technology, and future. How do we broaden and re-frame the structures and systems that exist in order to make room for oppressed and marginalized voices and make inclusive the societies in which we live? This presentation will introduce a series of case studies that serve as examples for how to reconsider the very root of thought around type systems and their effects and influence on our students, the field of design, and ultimately our products, systems, and societies.

1. Munro, Silas. “Typography as a Radical Act in an Industry Ever-dominate by White Men,” AIGA Eye on Design, August 26, 2019. Accessed: December 15, 2020. URL: https://eyeondesign.aiga.org/tre-seals-is-turning-typography-into-a-radical-act/
2. Munro, Silas. Ib, id.
3. Shehab, Bahia and Haytham Nawar. “Early Arabic Printing” in A History of Arab Graphic Design. American University in Cairo Press: 2020. pp. 29-41.

Redefining The Default: Decentering Pedagogical Perspective in the Typography Classroom

Educators need diverse representation in course materials—students must feel seen in order to truly succeed.

Mia Culbertson
Assistant Professor
Kutztown University

Typography is central to design, yet the standard curriculum centers around Western, able-bodied, straight, white, and male figures, frequently misrepresenting or excluding marginalized communities. In educational and professional spaces, this can have harmful effects on BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled designer and student communities. Creating a typography classroom that prioritizes equitable representation will avoid alienating minority student communities and reduce stereotyping through uninformed design decisions.

There has been a recent push in our discipline to decenter and decolonize our curriculum with the publication of resources like Decentering Whiteness in Design History Resources (Pass et al., 2020) and Extra Bold (Lupton et al., 2021); in this presentation I will discuss the importance of doing so specifically within the realm of typography. As the visual preservation of language, typography can be intricate, particularly when positioned within the larger context of world history. As often seen in other fields, minority communities’ contributions are often excluded from the canon despite frequently serving as the foundation on which Western designers expanded on; for example, facets of typography in the Belgian Art Nouveau movement can be linked to traditional Congolese motifs.  

To send emerging designers out into the world who truly understand the cultural nuances of typography and creating with rather than for communities, educators need diverse representation in course materials—students must feel seen in order to truly succeed. Teaching non-Latin communications such as the ancient Vai syllabary and introducing designers from marginalized communities like Angel DeCora empowers students and ensures these significant contributions to the development of typography are not forgotten or “othered”; it also helps ensure students’ broad perspective and historical context as they develop their own typographic practices, avoiding stereotypes and appropriation in design. Decentering pedagogical perspective in the typography classroom has widespread implications for marginalized student communities and our discipline at large.

Social Media as Design-Writing Process Tool

This process relies on steps familiar to designers: problem identification, research, and the cyclical process of iteration, making, and user testing.

Dori Griffin
Assistant Professor
University of Florida

Writing, like design and design education, is an iterative process which benefits from informal peer critique.  Type Specimens: A Visual History of Typesetting & Printing (Bloomsbury Academic, forthcoming December 2021) is a global narrative of typographic history. It considers the problem of typography as a tool of capitalism and colonization and — according to Reviewer Two — “irresponsibly shows beginners too many [global] examples that aren’t canonical.” The Cary Fellowship at the Rochester Institute of Technology and the Design Incubation Fellowship, among others, have supported its development. Throughout, social media played a key role as a process tool in the book’s research-writing-design. This approach echoes how designers and educators deploy informal peer critique in the studio as a community-driven teaching and learning tool. This presentation explores how social media can support meaningful design-writing scholarship. This process relies on steps familiar to designers: problem identification, research, and the cyclical process of iteration, making, and user testing. As design develops a disciplinary literature of its own, designers can bring visual ways of knowing and learning to the process of writing our own diverse and often previously unknown histories. We can leverage tools seemingly alien to the scholarly writing process: sketching, informal peer critique, and social media texts, images, and discussions. I’ve approached Type Specimens as a project framed by code-switching and multilingual text production; the visual is, after all, a set of languages. Social media has been a powerful tool to fuel and document this process. This presentation shows that journey.

Colloquium 8.1: Seton Hall University

Saturday, October 23, 2021
Time: 1:00pm–2:00pm
Online ZOOM event

Hosted by Christine Lhowe, Assistant Professor and Christine Krus, Professor of Art & Design, College of Communication and the Arts, Seton Hall University.

Presentations will be published on the Design Incubation YouTube Channel after October 5, 2021. Virtual Conference will be held online on Saturday, October 23, 2021 at 1pm EST.

Moderators

Camila Afanador Llach
Assistant Professor
Florida Atlantic University

Christine Lhowe
Assistant Professor
Seton Hall University

Christine Krus
Professor
Seton Hall University

Presentations

Towards a Typographic Pluriverse
Laura Rossi García
Professional Lecturer
DePaul University

Social Media as Design-Writing Process Tool
Dori Griffin
Assistant Professor
University of Florida

Utterly Butterly Propaganda: An Analysis of Illustration as a Tool of Persuasion in Amul™ Ads
Kruttika Susarla
Graduate Student
Washington University in St. Louis

Mash Maker: Improvisation for Design Student Studios 
Ryan Slone
Assistant Professor
University of Arkansas

Bree McMahon
Assistant Professor
University of Arkansas

Redefining The Default: Decentering Pedagogical Perspective in the Typography Classroom
Mia Culbertson
Assistant Professor
Kutztown University

Interactive Storytelling for Packaging: Design Using Augmented Technology to Explore Personal and Social Identities
Linh Dao
Assistant Professor
California Polytechnic State University



Designing Your Research Agenda 1.2

Friday, October 29, 2021
4PM EST
Online ZOOM Event

Designing Your Research Agenda is an panel discussion and open forum for design scholars and researchers to discuss various aspects of their research agendas. We aim to open a dialog regarding multiple challenges discovering one’s design research inquiry. Design Incubation will also be discussing some of their ongoing work with the mission and focus of supporting design research. Designing Your Research Agenda is an ongoing design research event series.

Some of the questions we will discuss with panelists

  • How did you determine your research agenda (high level timeline of your career/trajectory)
  • How do you define research and why do you think it matters — for society, the field, yourself?
  • How do your department and institution define and support the work you do?
  • How would you describe/categorize your department and institution?
  • How do you position your research: design theory, design history, design practice, design research (traditional graphic design, speculative design, UX/UI, typography, AR, VR, creative computing, design solutions, etc.), design pedagogy, or something else?
  • What barriers (if any) exist at your institution or in the field for creating and disseminating your research?

Moderators

Jessica Barness and Heather Snyder Quinn

PANELISTS

Tasheka Arceneaux-Sutton
Associate Professor of Graphic Design
North Carolina State University and
Faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts

Tasheka Arceneaux-Sutton is an Associate Professor of Graphic Design at North Carolina State University. She has taught graphic design at Southeastern Louisiana University and Typography at Loyola Marymount University. She is also a faculty in the low-residency MFA program in Graphic Design at Vermont College of Fine Arts. In addition, Arceneaux is the principal at Blacvoice Design, a studio specializing in branding, electronic media, identity, illustration, print, and publication design for educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and small businesses. Arceneaux’s research focuses on discovering Black people omitted from the graphic design history canon. Recently, her research is focused on Black women who have made significant contributions to the graphic design profession. She is also interested in the visual representation of Black people in the media and popular culture, primarily through the lens of stereotypes.

Instagram: @blacvoice

Liat Berdugo 
Associate Professor of Art and Architecture
University of San Francisco

Liat Berdugo is an artist and writer whose work investigates embodiment, labor, and militarization in relation to capitalism, technological utopianism, and the Middle East. Her work has been exhibited and screened at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), MoMA PS1 (New York), Transmediale (Berlin), V2_Lab for the Unstable Media (Rotterdam), and The Wrong Biennale (online), among others. Her writing appears in Rhizome, Temporary Art Review, Real Life, Places, and The Institute for Network Cultures, among others, and her 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. Berdugo received an MFA from RISD and a BA from Brown University. She is currently an Associate Professor of Art + Architecture at the University of San Francisco. Berdugo lives and works in Oakland, CA. More at www.liatberdugo.com

Instagram: @whatliat
Twitter: @whatliat

Caspar Lam 
Assistant Professor
Director of the BFA Communication Design Program
Parsons School of Design

Caspar Lam is an Assistant Professor and the Director of the BFA Communication Design Program at Parsons. He is also a partner at Synoptic Office, an award-winning design consultancy working globally with leading cultural, civic, and business organizations. His research and practice explore the systematic relationships among graphic design, data, language, and their influence on visual culture. Caspar holds an MFA from Yale and degrees in biology and design from the University of Texas at Austin. He formerly led design and digital strategy at Artstor, a Mellon-funded non-profit developing digital products related to metadata and publishing for institutions like Harvard and Cornell. Adobe, AIGA, and the ID Annual Design Review have recognized his work. He has been a visiting critic at the Hong Kong Design Institute and served as an Adjunct Associate Research Scholar at Columbia University ́s GSAPP. He sits on the board of directors of AIGA NY.

More at www.synopticoffice.com

Instagram: @synopticoffice