Colloquium 10.2: CAA Conference 2024 Call for Submissions

112th CAA Annual Conference, Virtual Format.
Deadline for abstract submissions: August 31, 2023

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

Submit an abstract of 300 words using the Design Incubation abstract submission form found here (indicating preference for virtual or in-person session):
https://designincubation.com/call-for-submissions/

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

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

In-person sessions would involve 6-minute presentations from each accepted submission researcher, followed by a moderated group discussion.

112th CAA Annual Conference
Virtual and Chicago, IL
February 14-17, 2024

Recorded Presentations and
Live Moderated Discussion Online

Final format of conference event will be determined at a later date. Presenters will follow the basic membership and fee requirements of CAA.

We are accepting abstracts for presentations now until August 31, 2023.

The 2022 Design Incubation Communication Educators Design Awards

2022 Design Incubation Educators Awards competition in 4 categories: Creative Work, Published Research, Teaching, Service

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2022 Communication Design Educators Awards!

SCHOLARSHIP: PUBLICATIONS

The Black Experience in Design: Identity, Expression, and Reflection 

Anne H. Berry
Associate Professor
Cleveland State University

Jennifer Rittner
Visiting Assistant Professor 
Parsons School of Design

Kelly Walters
Assistant Professor of Communication Design 
Parsons School of Design

Lesley-Ann Noel, PhD
Assistant Professor
NC State University

Penina Laker 
Assistant Professor
Washington University in St. Louis

Kareem Collie
User Experience Design Lead
IBM

Design after Capitalism: Transforming Design Today for an Equitable Tomorrow 
Matthew Wizinsky
Associate Professor
Graduate Program Director (MDes) & Associate Professor
University of Cincinnati

SCHOLARSHIP: CREATIVE PRODUCTION

Tangible Graphic Design 
Taekyeom Lee 
Assistant Professor
University of Wisconsin-Madison

TEACHING

no award

SERVICE

In the Round Series // Moving A Land Acknowledgment Statement Toward Action and Practice

Jenn Stucker 
Associate Professor
Bowling Green State University

Heidi Nees
Assistant Professor
Bowling Green State University

2022 JURY

Steven McCarthy (Chair), University of Minnesota, 

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

Maria Rogal, University of Florida, Florida

Kaleena Sales, Tennessee State University

R. Brian Stone, The National University of Singapore

Teal Triggs, Royal College of Art, London

BIOGRAPHIES

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.

STEVEN MCCARTHY (CHAIR)

Steven McCarthy is Professor Emeritus of Graphic Design at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis/St. Paul. He established the Design Incubation Communication Design Educators Awards and chaired the jury from 2016-2018. McCarthy’s teaching, scholarship, and contributions to the discipline include lectures, exhibitions, publications, and grant-funded research on a global scale. His creative work was featured in 125+ exhibitions and he is the author of The Designer As… Author, Producer, Activist, Entrepreneur, Curator and Collaborator: New Models for Communicating (BIS, Amsterdam). From 2014–2017, McCarthy served on the board of directors of the Minnesota Center for Book Arts.

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.

KALEENA SALES

Kaleena Sales is an Associate Professor of Graphic Design and Chair of the Department of Art & Design at Tennessee State University, an HBCU (Historically Black College and University) in Nashville, TN. She is co-host of Design Observer’s The Design of Business | The Business of Design Minisodes podcast with Omari Souza. Her design writing and research centers on Black culture and aesthetics, recently co-authoring the book Extra-Bold: A Feminist, Inclusive, Anti-Racist, Non-Binary Field Guild for Graphic Designers, alongside Ellen Lupton, Farah Kafei, Jennifer Tobias, Josh A. Halstead, Leslie Xia, and Valentina Vergara. Kaleena has a Master’s Degree from VCU Brandcenter, an MFA from Savannah College of Art & Design, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Design at NC State University. 

R. BRIAN STONE

 R. Brian Stone is an Associate Professor at The National University of Singapore. His award-winning work and teachings are centered in the areas of motion design, interaction design, information visualization, and user experience.

Professor Stone is the co-founder of the bi-annual MODE Summit, an international conference bringing together motion design educators to present research and discuss the discipline. In addition, he is the co-editor of a collection of essays entitled, The Theory and Practice of Motion Design: Critical Perspectives and Professional Practice published by Routledge.

Prior, to his tenure at NUS, Brian taught at the University of the Arts and The Ohio State University. Apple recognized Professor Stone’s teaching with the Apple Distinguished Educator award. He is also a recipient of the Ratner Distinguished Teaching Award, The Ohio State University Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching, the Order of Omega Faculty Recognition Award, and the National University of Singapore’s Annual Teaching Excellence Award.

Brian holds a MA and MFA in Design from The Ohio State University and a BFA in Graphic Design from the University of the Arts.

TEAL TRIGGS

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.

Sustainable Design Pedagogy: A Fifteen-Week Case Study of Sustainable and Climate Design Methodology and Outcomes

A look at foundational systems thinking.

Maria Smith Bohannon
Assistant Professor
Oakland University

Graphic design as a profession often perpetuates rampant consumerism through the art of persuasion, which is directly at odds with working toward sustainable and ecological discourse. To explore the possibilities of sustainable capitalism and foundational sustainable and environmental design themes, I developed a special topics course to understand and investigate the designer’s role as a climate design activist and sustainable designer. The emphasis of this course will focus on sustainable design thinking, praxis, and ideation with the investigation of green or recycled materials as part of the prototyping process—both print and digital—all in the pursuit of reimagined design futures. 

 This course study will look at foundational systems thinking from environmental design pioneers, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and how designers can successfully implement sustainable methodologies and utilize environmentally friendly materials to craft sustainable solutions today. By identifying and framing complex problems plaguing the world, we can examine the possibilities and challenges in addressing these issues broadly or within local communities. 

As sustainability and eco-friendly solutions are imperative for future generations’ ability to prosper, sustainable pedagogy must become foundational in graphic design education. By adopting sustainable design pedagogies, educators provide future designers with the tools—and understanding of sustainable design history, process, methodologies, and materials—to question capitalist tendencies and develop sustainable solutions.

This design research was presented at Design Incubation Colloquium 9.2: Annual CAA Conference 2023 (Virtual) on Saturday, February 18, 2023.

The Limits of Control: Nonhierarchical Modes of Making, Decentering the Designer

Exploring the creative networks between graphic designers and their collaborators — human and non-human.

Christopher Swift
Assistant Professor
Binghamton University

“The Limits of Control” is a body of work exploring the creative networks between graphic designers and their collaborators — human and non-human. Inspired by the work and writing of James Bridle, John Cage and Bruno Latour the project examines how the interplay of control and trust in a designer’s relationship with their network of tools (creative, cultural, technological) can be attended to, challenged, and reimagined allows us to break free of the traditional modes and methodologies and begin to explore new possibilities and new ways of seeing and being as graphic designers.

The black boxes which envelop our tools obscure the complexity and scale of the collaborative space we work in. This work makes the invisible visible and removes the designer from their imagined directive podium to be one among many in a creative and collaborative network of active participants full of agency and potential.

Showcasing case studies that demonstrate the tools of a creative network foregrounds their active participation in co-creation. Through coding in various languages new digital tools are created in which the agency of the tool itself is highlighted. These new tools undertake an intentionally nonhierarchical mode of making, decentering the designer’s role. Each study pushes the designer further away from a mode of control with the intent of asking—if there is collaborative care, respect, and trust in the creative design process then what new solutions, what new insights, what new ways of thinking and being may we discover when we look around from our new perspective.

This design research was presented at Design Incubation Colloquium 9.2: Annual CAA Conference 2023 (Virtual) on Saturday, February 18, 2023.

Graphic Design and Authority: How the Design of Documents and Signage Creates, Endorses, and Authenticates Power Structures

Visual authority can be used to validate any endeavor.

Claire Bula
Adjunct Professor
Boston University

The visual design of all legal and political documents, such as deeds, permits, identification & maps, employ a specific visual language enhancing their power. Design choices relating to layout, typefaces, symbols, embellishments, impressions, white space, signatures/certifications, and materials amalgamate to display power purely through visual appearance.

Because the visual design of a document can confer authority regardless of authenticity, It is important to analyze how visual appearance alone can be interpreted. A visual language of power exists and can instill feelings of hesitation, dominance, or fear leading individuals into subservience or subordination. Visual authority can be employed by true legal sources of power or used as a device to deceive or invalidly show power. Visual authority can be used to validate any endeavor, whether its intent is beneficial and egalitarian or manipulative and oppressive. Designers should be aware of how the use of visually authoritative means have been used throughout history to control, intimidate, and outright steal basic human rights and dignities.

Through multidisciplinary research across history, philosophy, political science, and sociology, I studied the means by which power and authority have been constructed in the United States. In addition, reading design texts and conducting visual surveys of documents employing elements of visual authority led to the creation of a diagram of design elements that create the library for visual language of authority.

In response, I authored a visual essay, designed a poster illustrating visual authority’s form language via personal documents, and printed risograph signage subverting authoritative signage through type and color. This body of work serves to document my research and surfaces questions about how visual authority was developed and how it is employed today.

This design research was presented at Design Incubation Colloquium 9.2: Annual CAA Conference 2023 (Virtual) on Saturday, February 18, 2023.

Chicano Independent Publication Masthead Design

Made during research visits at university libraries in Texas and California, hubs of the Chicano movement.

Joshua Duttweiler
Assistant Professor
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Alexandria Victoria Canchola
Assistant Professor
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

We demonstrate how the design of Chicano independent publication mastheads from the 1960’s and 1970’s in the United States used the visual language of the Chicano community to engage directly with their audience. In publication design, mastheads serve as the reader’s first indication as to a publication’s purpose and credibility. Our analysis of these independent publications is based on observations made during research visits at university libraries in Texas and California, hubs of the Chicano movement. Based on our research, the mastheads used typography, icons, and organization symbols to attract readers in service to the publication’s goals of raising awareness on local issues such as labor inequality and racial violence. The efforts made by these publications not only mobilized their audience to fight for social justice but utilized visual means as a way of uniting their readers toward a cause.

These Chicano publications, not typically referenced in the traditional white graphic design canon, provide an opportunity to learn from past designers in a parallel time of societal unrest and analyze their successful methods of advocacy and activism. The political climate of the time cultivated diverse printing practitioners; far different than the editorial staffs we see today. Activists, many without formal design training, worked to combine text and images into design that would speak to their audience. By observing the evolution of masthead design throughout the Chicano movement we can observe the progress of the publication designers’ skill as they sought to increase their audience and ability to communicate.

By understanding the role and unity of the visual language of independent Chicano newspapers, we encourage designers, historians, and students to further investigate the design semiotics of community-focused publications both within its historical context and contemporary practice.

This design research was presented at Design Incubation Colloquium 9.2: Annual CAA Conference 2023 (Virtual) on Saturday, February 18, 2023.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Design: A Diachronic Investigation Into the Word ‘Design’

Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Nathan Matteson
Associate Professor
DePaul University

This project looks at the changes in the meaning of the word ‘design’ throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. ‘Design’ and its cultural impact have changed significantly between the advent of typographic printing and the 21st century. Understanding these transitions is compelling in its own right, and may allow us to anticipate future developments.

This investigation relies on ‘word embedding’, which has become widespread in the field of natural language processing. Word embeddings convert texts into quantities with each word represented by a multidimensional vector of real numbers. They have seen use in a range of applications including sentiment analysis, language translation, and, happily, investigating semantic change of words over time.

A comparison of the changes among the semantic neighbors of ‘design’—the words that are ‘close’ to design in this multi-dimensional vector space—provides insight into what we mean when we say ‘design’. Early results suggest that two significant shifts have occurred.

  • During the late 19th century, design’s semantic neighborhood moved away from words like ‘plan’, ‘arrangement’, and ‘interpretation’ towards ‘mechanism’, ‘device’, and ‘apparatus’.
  • The neighborhood was further displaced during the mid-20th century by the likes of ‘model’, ‘construct’, and ‘prototype’.

What might be behind these supposed changes in meaning? Perhaps it suggests that design reinvents itself in response to disruptive technological changes, if one assumes these time periods correspond, respectively, to the industrial revolution and the nascent digital age. More investigation is required—performing analyses over other words and corpora—before any useful conclusions can be drawn.

This design research was presented at Design Incubation Colloquium 9.2: Annual CAA Conference 2023 (Virtual) on Saturday, February 18, 2023.

Radical Characters: Studying Graphic Design and Typography through Chinese Characters (Hanzi)

The relationship between design and culture in the Chinese and Chinese American community

Mary Y Yang
Assistant Professor
Boston University

Radical Characters is a study group and curatorial project that explores the relationship between design and culture in the Chinese and Chinese American community. Each project seeks to decentralize the design canon and to co-build history and community by initiating dialogues through educational experiences. Looking beyond Western design pedagogy, Radical Characters studies Hanzi as a point of inquiry to learn, innovate, and study graphic design from a non-linear approach. Radical Characters looks to projects such as Decolonising Design and the People’s Graphic Design Archive that model methods for challenging practice, pedagogy, and contributions to the design field. The first project was “Radical Return,” an exhibition that draws inspiration from the Chinese character 回 hui, which means to return, to turn around, to circle or to reply. An international call for submissions prompted participants to use 回 as a grid—visually and conceptually—to consider a path they seek to retrace as Chinese or Chinese American designers. Thirty-six Chinese and Chinese American artists and graphic designers were selected to exhibit their graphic work simultaneously at Boston University Art Galleries and IS A GALLERY. The designers’ work accompanied with statements and additional commissioned essays were published in a bilingual catalog. The exhibition opened up a collective space for designers to explore the concept of return through language, typography, cultural traditions, identity, and design history. Radical Characters acknowledges that the works by no means form a complete picture of the multifaceted and complex narratives experienced by Chinese and Chinese American designers, but rather shape an in-progress collection site for building knowledge through the exchange of graphic design and culture. The exhibition presents a framework for a design curatorial process that instigates cultural dialogue among the participants and offers alternative ways for exhibition-making and the exhibition design process.

This design research was presented at Design Incubation Colloquium 9.2: Annual CAA Conference 2023 (Virtual) on Saturday, February 18, 2023.

Slowing Production, Increasing Socio-Political Context: Beyond “Spreading Awareness” in the Design Classroom

A feminist base motivates us to engage questions around power relations, knowledge production, and systems of violence

Becky Nasadowski
Assistant Professor
University of Tennessee at Chattanoo
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In recent years, many universities have embraced “diversity” with oblique statements of support. Related, design educators have rightfully sought strategies for inclusive pedagogy, increasing representation and working toward ensuring the classroom is comfortable. But inclusive is not synonymous with anti-racist, which requires antagonism and a reckoning with the pervasive inequities baked into our different fields and methods, the university, and our social relationships and histories.

In this presentation, I will provide an overview of my studio-seminar course Politics and Ethics of Design, where a feminist base motivates us to engage questions around power relations, knowledge production, and systems of violence. A substantial reading list frames sustained conversations on the politics of race, class, and gender as it relates to the field of design, creating a critical foundation for design practice. Select topics include data feminism and counter cartography, the designer’s role in constructing notions of citizenship, the limits of empathy in design thinking, and the neoliberal entanglement of work and passion. 

By providing an anchor through reading and conversation, I ask design students to consider in their studio practice urgent questions: How do we respond to historical omissions? How do we interface with social movements? How do we act with an awareness of history that complicates liberal concepts of empathy as paramount? If we want students to engage power and sincerely explore what an anti-racist practice and education look like, then we need to fully engage in how design has traditionally played—and continues to play—a role in bolstering social inequity.

This design research was presented at Design Incubation Colloquium 9.2: Annual CAA Conference 2023 (Virtual) on Saturday, February 18, 2023.

Equitable Design Pedagogy: A Case for Object-Based Learning

The experiential pedagogy of engaging physically with objects through observation and reflection.

Claire Elestwani
Assistant Professor
Lamar University

Virginia Patterson
Assistant Professor
California State University Fresno

As design educators work to create equitable learning environments, it is imperative we implement pedagogy which centers lived experience and community knowledge production over privileged experience. Traditional pedagogies of design focus on learning through activity such as projects and critique through dialogic exchange. These methods are celebrated for their inclusive nature, yet socioeconomic stratification often shapes inequities in the design learning environment. These strategies can privilege students who already feel comfortable in academic environments or have had access to extracurricular activities such as internships or design conferences, and reinforce a culture of exclusion within our discipline. In these implicitly elitist systems, students who are new to the studio environment tend to remain unengaged within the community of inquirers that is the classroom.

In this presentation, we will explore Object-Based Learning (OBL) as a pedagogy which decenters privileged experiences and recenters student knowledge and lived experience. Object-Based Learning, the experiential pedagogy of engaging physically with objects through observation and reflection, is prevalent in the disciplines of art history, museum education, and archeology. We will focus on OBL phases of concrete experience, questioning, and communal reflection as methods of design research rooted in learner-constructed meaning and student agency. We will also focus on OBL as an activity that can take place in ordinary built environments with objects encountered in everyday life. Rooted in verbal observation and reflection, OBL can offer an equitable landscape for intellectual risk-taking and surprise, both valuable to the learning and design process.

During our presentation, we will share examples of OBL in the design studio, frameworks for implementing OBL in various studio classes, and the benefits of OBL as a design research method. We will also share qualitative reflections from an OBL activity in a Packaging Design course, and its ability to foster voice and agency.

This design research was presented at Design Incubation Colloquium 9.2: Annual CAA Conference 2023 (Virtual) on Saturday, February 18, 2023.