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.

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 
mike.zender@uc.edu 

  • 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

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.

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

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

https://drsfestivalofemergence.org/

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

Design Incubation Colloquium 7.3: Florida Atlantic University

A Virtual Conference Saturday, April 10, 2021, 1PM EST.

Presentations will be published on the Design Incubation YouTube Channel after April 3, 2021. Virtual Conference will be held online on Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 1pm EST.

Colloquium 7.3: Florida Atlantic University (#DI2021apr) will be held online. Registration for this event below.

Virtually hosted by Camila Afanador-Llach, Assistant Professor + Graduate Coordinator, Graphic Design, the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters at Florida Atlantic University. This event is open to all interested in Communication Design research.

Please view research presentations before attending the moderated discussion on Saturday, April 10, 2021.

Presentations

Forensic Abstraction in Israel/Palestine: the Graphic Representations of Bodies in Citizen Media
Liat Berdugo
Assistant Professor
University of San Francisco

The Spectacle of Violence: Illustrating Surpanakha’s Mutilation
Shreyas R Krishnan
Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts
Washington University in St.Louis

Visual and Verbal Communication on Sustainable Packaging As a Vehicle for Public Education and Awareness
Hyena Nam
Adjunct Professor
Visual Communication Department
Kent State University

Stories from the Mchafukoge: Kanga as a Form of Visual Communication
Ziddi Msangi
Associate Professor
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Vermont College of Fine Arts

Addressing Opportunity: The Landscape of Inequality
Mia Cinelli
Assistant Professor
The University of Kentucky

Shoshana Shapiro
PhD Candidate
University of Michigan

Understanding Racial And Gender Bias In Ai And How To Avoid It In Your Designs And Design Education
Sarah Pagliaccio
Adjunct Professor
Lesley University
College of Art and Design
Brandeis University

Designing Products of the Future Through Speculative Design
Mehrdad Sedaghat-Baghbani
Assistant Professor
Florida Atlantic University

Connecting Scholars, Building Community, Design Research Network(ing) | Design Incubation Affiliated Society Meeting

This open forum will have design scholars and researchers discuss various research topics, offer their ideas, discuss opportunities for contributors/participants/collaborators, and open dialog regarding multiple challenges within the design research field.

Friday, February 12, 2021
12:30 PM Eastern Time (the US and Canada)
Online ZOOM Event

This is the Affiliated Society meeting of the 109th CAA Annual Conference. The meeting is open to non-conference attendees as well. Please register in advance for this event.

Overview:

Please join us at The College Art Association (CAA) Design Incubation Affiliated Society meeting | Connecting Scholars, Building Community, Design Research Network(ing) virtually on Friday, February 12, from 12:30-1:30 pm (EST).

Design Incubation is a volunteer academic organization whose focus and mission are facilitating research and scholarship in design. We aim to foster discussion and collaboration among academics and industry professionals. We are a resource for those working and studying within the field.

This open forum will have design scholars and researchers discuss various research topics, offer their ideas, discuss opportunities for contributors/participants/collaborators, and open dialog regarding multiple challenges within the design research field. Design Incubation will also be discussing some of their ongoing work with the mission/focus of supporting design research.

Some of the questions we will discuss with panelists include:

  • How did you determine your research agenda?
  • How do your dept and institution define and support the work you do?
  • How would you describe/categorize your dept and institution?
  • If you were going to position your research within a category, would you say your work 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, something else?

MODERATOR:

Dan Wong
Associate Professor, New York City College of Technology, CUNY
Co-founder/Executive Director, Design Incubation

Dan’s research considers the forms and methodologies of communication design research and innovates through the practice of communication design.

PANELISTS:

Heather­­­ Snyder Quinn
Assistant Professor, DePaul University’s School of Design
Director of Design Futures, Design Incubation

Heather’s research uses design fiction and speculative design to question the ethics of emerging technologies, challenge technocratic power, and imagine possible futures.

Jessica Barness
Associate Professor, School of Visual Communication Design, Kent State University
Director of Research Initiatives, Design Incubation

Jessica’s research focuses on social media, publication practices, and the design of scholarship, and how these relate to issues of power and representation.

Ayako Takase
Assistant Professor of Industrial Design, Rhode Island School of Design
Director of Master Program
Co-Founder, Observatory Design

Ayako’s design research focuses on evolving relationships between people, objects, and technology in the context of work.

Penina Acayo Laker
Assistant Professor, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Washington University St. Louis
Co-Principal Investigator, Mobility for All by All

Penina’s research centers around topics that utilize a human-centered approach to solving social problems.


Registration required. Please use your institutional email to register.

Design Incubation Colloquium 7.2: 109th CAA Annual Conference

Presentations and discussion of Research and Scholarship in Communication Design at the 109th Annual CAA Conference 2021.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021
6:00 PM – 6:30 PM

This is a virtual conference.

Video presentations of design research, history, theory, and practice in the field of communication design. A live moderated discussion will occur during the conference. Conference registration is required.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021
6:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Live Q&As Online – Meeting B

CO-CHAIRS

Aaris Sherin
Professor
St. John’s University

Dan Wong
Associate Professor
New York City College of Technology, CUNY

DISCUSSANT

Liz DeLuna
Professor
St. John’s University

Presentations

Spencer Thornton Banks in St. Louis
Aggie Toppins
Associate Professor
Washington University in St. Louis

One Year On: Reflections on the Launch of the Chinese Type Archive
Caspar Lam
Assistant Professor of Communication Design
Parsons School of Design

YuJune Park
Assistant Professor of Communication Design
Parsons School of Design

Honeybee Colonies: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Studio Classroom
Mark Randall
Assistant Professor
The New School, Parsons School of Design

Design Thinking X Medical Education: Empowering Empathy for Patient-Centered Care
Hannah Park
Assistant Professor
School of Architecture and Design
University of Kansas

Edgelands: Using Creative Technology to Predict the Future
Jonathan Hanahan
Assistant Professor
Washington University in St. Louis

Adaptation in Design Research: Combatting Social Isolation in Older Adults
Christine Lhowe
Assistant Professor
Seton Hall University

Feminine Archetypes on Women’s Suffrage Postcards as Agents of Propaganda
Andrea Hempstead
Assistant Professor
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Teaching Communications Design History Beyond the Canon
Carey Gibbons
Visiting Assistant Professor
Pratt Institute