María Rogal Will Chair the 2018 Communication Design Educators Awards

Design Incubation’s Communication Design Educators Awards program was established to recognize and showcase faculty accomplishments through peer review. This competition reflects the organization’s mission to foster professional development and discourse within the academic design community. Since 2016, applicants from around the world have entered this awards competition recognizing design excellence and ingenuity in the academic study of communication design, with categories in published research, creative work, teaching, and service. The award processes and procedures are rigorous, transparent, objective and professional. Each year, entries are reviewed and ranked by an independent, renown jury of design educators and researchers across a broad range of design expertise and scholarly accomplishment within the discipline.

After envisioning the academic design awards and chairing the jury, University of Minnesota graphic design professor Steven McCarthy is passing along the role of Chair. We value his continued support and involvement in the program. Design Incubation offers their gratitude for his leadership in the launch of this important effort.

We are excited to announce María Rogal, Professor of Graphic Design in the school of Art + Art History at the University of Florida will chair the 2018 jury. She has had the distinction of being a juror of the awards since its inception. McCarthy writes, “Rogal brings vast experience, great powers of empathy, and astute judgment to the task. Rogal’s disciplinary connections and intellectual network will undoubtedly offer the jury some fresh input as the competition enters its third year.”

Rogal offers McCarthy her greatest respect and appreciation of his leadership over many years, particularly in having recognized the need for professional development and creating a program to support it. Rogal writes, “the diverse submissions I reviewed over the past two years were rewarding and inspiring. But this process also highlighted how important these awards and the application process can be for communication design educators. Through the application and peer review process itself, we also support professional development.”

We thank Bloomsbury Publishing, the sponsor of these awards. The 2018 awards program will follow the same timeline as previous years, with entries due May 31, 2018. An overview of the awards program is on our website. Look for more information on the program in the coming months.

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White Plains Storefront Project: Art In Vacant Spaces

Teaching Award Runner-up

Warren Lehrer
Professor
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.

Rethinking the Capstone in a Graphic Design BFA Program

Regina Gardner Milan
Lecturer
Department of Art & Design
University of Massachusetts Lowell

Evolving the BFA capstone project to develop professional competencies for emerging designers.

Encouraging students to develop projects that address their competencies and those that they need to develop. A year-long course sequence encouraging extensive creative exploration while working within developed constraints that are specific to each student. These constraints are developed through a reflective process of research and critical analysis of their skill sets and portfolio. They then apply these skills and making to a defined set of projects.

Projects are developed across complex design systems encouraging personal design thinking and and challenging student’s skillsets. Projects include both analog and digital solutions including app design, web design, interactive installations and motion graphics.  Faculty encourage growth mind-set and conceptual development of projects that help define a student’s aesthetic and aspirations for their post-college practice.

Developed two years ago, this new capstone has proven successful in encouraging critical design thinking, content development, and putting students in the strongest possible position for entering their professional design practice. Students graduate with a strong social media presence, robust resumes and expanded portfolios.

Reconstructing a BA Graphic Design Program: Scalpel or Sledgehammer?

Nancy Wynn
Associate Professor
Merrimack College

In the fall of 2015, as the new faculty member at Merrimack College, I was thrust into this position. A cold dose of reality hit—my senior students’ work was, sadly, a mess. It was clear the design program needed to be rebuilt and renamed. Acting fast became necessary, because moving slowly would continue the problem. Both scalpel and sledgehammer were required (along with lots of coffee) delivering a newly redesigned BA Graphic Design program for approval and implementation by fall 2016. The program bridged both design thinking and making with the skill set of a Liberal Arts education.

The analysis started with the NASAD/AIGA analytical and consultative briefing papers. They were a good starting point, but they did not answer the question of how to build an expanded BA model responsibly? How elastic is the BA model? What beneficial Liberal Arts skills could be integrated into a graphic design student’s education? How could avenues be created for various types of students to be successful? And, where and how should professional engagement enter into the program?

This story begins by sharing methods for responsibly creating a “hybrid” BA model, keeping students’ best interests in mind, and honoring the industry’s professional standards. Topics to be shared include evaluating existing majors and minors; partnering with other majors and departments; which courses to keep vs. which should be thrown out; setting sizable goals for a 4-year BA graphic design program; ideas on future learning spaces and technology; and, understanding what is valuable in a 21st century graphic design education as the industry continues to evolve.

Zika and Public Health Guidelines: Prototyping Models for Different Personas

Courtney Marchese
Assistant Professor of Interactive Media + Design
School of Communications
Quinnipiac University

: In graphic design, models are material prototypes that help synthesize research into testable forms. Through experimentation and testing, many rounds of revisions are made to culminate in a visual that can effectively speak to its audience. In an age of infinite information, data visualization, particularly in global health, is a critical arena for accurate and useful visual modeling. For example, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has Zika Pregnancy Guidelines in the form of a flowchart (Figure A). While it is certainly a necessary model to share with the general public, it is often cumbersome and difficult to understand. Riddled with professional medical terminology, footnotes, and companion charts, the model fails to serve as an accessible form to the information most needed by its audience. In examining the CDC’s guidelines, it is unclear whether they intend to communicate with health professionals or women potentially infected with zika. Rather than using a “one size fits all” approach to the chart, I propose modeling different forms that the information can take as viewed through the lens of different people in different environments and scenarios. Each prototype will take on a persona and emphasize the most important information to a specific audience explaining what to do before, during, and after exposure to zika virus. As such, each persona also serves as a model of sorts to represent an audience segment. By prototyping multiple forms, my goal is to make critical health information engaging and clear to those who need it most. Additionally, these prototypes can serve as a model for other issues within public health communication.

Reading Design: An Introduction to Critical Theory

Dave Peacock
Associate Creative Director, LiveAreaLabs
Faculty, Vermont College of Fine Arts

What is theory? How does theory relate to graphic design? In short, theories are frameworks for understanding and making sense of the world. Further, they allow us to ask specific kinds of questions and follow particular lines of reasoning. For designers, theory is a means to move beyond purely aesthetic concerns and address issues such as power, representation, and commodity culture.

This presentation will highlight a handful of theories that have influenced literature, art history and, more recently, design discourse over the last few decades. Examples from art, popular culture and graphic design will help facilitate an introductory understanding of several important ideas, including Marxism, Structuralism, Post-Structuralism and Feminism. Designers and educators will also gain insight into how to incorporate theory into their writing, research and design work.

Dave Peacock is a designer and educator based in Seattle, Washington. He is an Associate Creative Director at LiveArea (livearealabs.com), a creative, marketing and technology agency with a focus on interaction design and digital retail. Dave also serves as co-chair and faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he teaches in the Graphic Design MFA program. Dave has exhibited nationally and internationally, and his work has been recognized by Type Directors Club, Communication Arts, Graphic Design USA, AIGA, The ADDY Awards, Print Magazine, How Magazine, The Northwest Emmy Awards and The Seattle Show. A Colorado native, Dave holds an MFA in Visual Communication Design from the University of Washington and a BFA from the University of Utah.

Multi-modal Interface Design: Communicating Design Through Presentation and Review

Peter Lusch
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
College of Arts and Architecture
Penn State

Danielle Oprean
Post-Doctoral Research Scholar
Stuckeman Center for Design Computing
Penn State

Multi-modal visualization has long been considered important for design communication through representation and presentation, yet it has not been explored through an interface. In this presentation we discuss the outline for our test of use of a new interface designed to provide a multi-modal experience of design representations through the presentation and review processes. This interface is being developed for use in an immersive environments lab, a unique presentation space that allows for large-screen display and virtual reality. Before implementing a new interface, testing needs to be done to identify issues and perceptions of how well it works. We aim to test the feasibility of using a multi-modal interface with advanced-level undergraduate students in the design disciplines (architecture, landscape architecture, and graphic design) as a way for them to communicate design through presentation and review. In this presentation we talk about how usability testing allows for the results of actual use of an interface to feed back into improving the overall design. Specifically, we will provide an overview of our application of usability testing in design disciplines to address our hypothesis that being able to view different modalities of design representation at one time is more meaningful to communicate design both during presentation and in the review process. Success of the meaningfulness of the interface will be explored through the TAM model (Davis 1992) of usefulness, ease of use, and behavioral intention. We will also present the primary end point goals for this study, including our human factors study, and our self-report measurement of actual use of the multi-modal interface through questionnaires measuring usefulness, ease of use, and behavioral intention.

Type Thursday Interview With Liz Deluna and Mark Zurolo

Read the interview with Thomas Jockin of Type Thursday, Liz Deluna and Mark Zurolo.

View story at Medium.com

Teaching Design in the Age of Convergence

Robin Landa  
Distinguished Professor
Michael Graves College, Kean University  

To help people master Canon’s capabilities, 360i in partnership with Canon “set out to create a classroom experience in the field.” With Canon Photo Coach, 360i helped photo enthusiasts take the kind of photos they hoped for. 360i “used social listening to find New York City’s most photographed areas and then placed billboards right where people were taking those photos.” They created smart billboards—digital screens and trucks equipped with giant monitors that tapped into API data such as light, weather, time, traffic, location and events—giving real-time tips to photographers right when they needed them. This solution is neither conventional advertising nor graphic design.

Interactive public screens. Mobile design. Social media design. Environmental experiences. From any consumer’s point of view, brand experiences have been converging. However some design courses remain in pre-digital era silos.

Moira Cullen, Coca-Cola’s former design director, once said our profession could no longer tolerate thinking in silos. Yet we’re still divided in departments, in the classroom, and in our own brains. Contemporary visual communication problems demand new types of pedagogy.

To effectively address dealing with this convergence, I have been abolishing graphic design and advertising categories (and some conventions) in the classroom. Getting my students to think of visual communication as value-added experiences is my approach. I do this by asking students to consider the following questions when critiquing their own concepts.

  • What benefit does your concept offer people?
  • Is there any social good you can promote while promoting a brand?
  • Can a design or advertising solution be in the form of entertainment, a product, service, or utility?

As a result, my students have secured coveted internships and jobs with New York City agencies and studios. It’s time to embrace integrated ways to teach in the age of convergence.

 

How Much is Too Much?

Mark Zurolo
Associate Professor Graphic Design, UConn Storrs
Liz DeLuna
Associate Professor Graphic Design, St. John’s University

Motion design has evolved into a discipline that requires a complex skill set including, but not limited to, an expert command of typography and illustration, technical ability including expertise in software, understanding of narrative structures, an animator’s sense of motion, timing and sound, and formal design acumen. Whew! That’s a lot. Motion graphics emerged from graphic design with pioneers like Saul Bass, trained as a traditional graphic designers who saw graphic design not as static compositions, but kinetic orchestrations captured in a moment of stasis. New technologies have created not only the potential for new visual languages, but entirely new skill sets. Who is best equipped to wield these languages? What should they learn and how should they learn it? Taste or Technology? Software or gestalt? Is the horizon endless or ending? This presentation will explore techniques and briefs that investigate strategies for creating thoughtful and articulate skill sets driven by the principles of graphic design in the context of motion.