Chicago Design Milestones

Scholarship: Creative Work Award Winner

Design Educators Team

Sharon Oiga, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
Guy Villa Jr, Assistant Professor, Columbia College Chicago and
Daria Tsoupikova, Associate Professor University of Illinois at Chicago

Other Chicago Design Milestones team members: Jack Weiss, Chicago Design Archive; Cheri Gearhart, Chicago Design Archive; Wayne Stuetzer, Chicago Design Archive; Krystofer Kim, Lead Animator, NASA; Ali Khan, Animator, University of Illinois at Chicago

Chicago Design Milestones is a new media public installation that took place throughout July, 2019, at 150 Media Stream in Chicago. It brought to life the evolution of Chicago design by examining and showcasing the historic characteristics of design works from the 1920s to the present. Project material was researched and culled directly from the vast collection of the Chicago Design Archive (CDA), which holds over 3,200 works from over 1,100 designers and 400 firms. Members of the CDA, the UIC School of Design & Electronic Visualization Laboratory, and Columbia College Chicago collaborated together on this project as a team, as their underlying and ongoing quest is to spotlight the role of Chicago as a major national design center through the use of innovative technologies, including 150 Media Stream’s unique display structure, the largest media screen (3,000+ square feet) in Chicago.

The team consists of design educators, animators, and members of the CDA. It is worthy to note that the Milestones project was initiated by the design educators of the team. With knowledge of the holdings of the CDA, it was the design educators that conceived of the opportunity to collaborate, to develop initial concepts, and to lead the project. It is their belief and practice to author and generate projects of personal interest in order to help advance the field of design with designers’ own concerns.

The Chicago Design Archive is a singular organization in that there is no other like it doing this type of documentation and presentation of Chicago design work—locating, procuring, organizing, and showcasing Chicago-related design in the form of images as well as articles, essays, interviews, and videos. This includes works from the pre-digital era, with the population of works beginning in the 1920s. This is over 100 hundred years of Chicago design work gathered up and organized in one place.

A significant challenge of the Milestones project was to figure out how to represent the thousands of archived works from the past 10 decades. The process of curating the works was scientific in that observation was key—untold hours of patient looking. Year by year, decade by decade, each image was scoured until 100 years of images passed in front of the eyes of the team. There wasn’t an agenda when the team first started looking, no plan of what to find, no expectations. The team wanted the images to speak to them, to tell them what was significant—and they did. In each decade, the images showed what colors they liked, what shapes they preferred, and very interestingly, what stories they held. Some of the images spoke more than others. They were the ones that were singled out as possibilities. From this pool, images were selected based on their potential for animation and their inherent magnetism to engage, inform, and spark the curiosity of any passerby.

Another challenge was to figure out how to best employ the distinctive installation structure of 150 Media Stream, which comprises of 89 LED vertical blades that reach varying heights up to 22 feet high and span 150 feet wide. This configuration forms a vertical pattern that is combined with extreme horizontality—interesting but opposing dynamics built into the structure. These are constructs the team intentionally utilized, by ensuring that particular images animate to traverse the unusual terrain.

The Milestones project is out of the ordinary in that Chicago design history is rarely brought to the attention of the general public. Bringing awareness to historically-relevant creative work was central to the project’s intent and importance. The project afforded design history outside of the confines and prompting of a book, classroom or school, and it was instead framed in the context and excitement of an immersive technological experience. The completion and success of this experiential design project has lead to ideas and invitations for further work at other public venues for new media at the international scale.

In advance of the debut of Chicago Design Milestones at 150 Media Stream, a preview gala and exhibition was held at Archeworks—a Chicago-based design lab and media outlet dedicated to using design as an agent of change in the public interest. The preview exhibition (lead by Lauren Meranda of CDA) featured the static images of the works selected for animation in Chicago Design Milestones.

For the opening of Chicago Design Milestones, a catalog was produced. It contained images of all of the design works included in the project as well as related examples of work from the Archive. It was an opportunity to not only celebrate the works selected for the project but to also highlight additional CDA holdings. The catalog further documented the team’s research by including the lists of descriptive terms that were generated and used to characterize the design and themes for each of the decades. Considered to be a valuable component of the project, the Chicago History Museum is presently acquiring the catalog for their collection.

In the end, the team hoped to engage onlookers and inspire them with the city’s creative history. Perhaps viewers delighted and marveled in what they saw. Perhaps they felt a sense of nostalgia, a feeling of pride for the city, or gained a stronger appreciation for Chicago history and design. Additionally, by example, the team hoped to have widened the conceptual space for designers, to explore, research and play.

Other Chicago Design Milestones team members: 

Chicago Design Archive: chicagodesignarchive.org

Sharon Oiga University of Illinois at Chicago

Holding an MFA in Graphic Design from Yale University and BFA degrees in Graphic Design and Photography from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Sharon Oiga’s work investigates the process of design — the ways in which ideas are expressed and disseminated, ranging from the micro level of experimental typographic form to the macro level of self-authoring and publishing. At UIC, she is an Associate Professor and Chair of Graphic Design. Previously, Sharon partnered with design firms where she specialized in identity, branding, publication design, and packaging. Her work is consistently recognized through awards, publications, exhibitions, and funding. A two-time recipient of the Sappi Ideas That Matter grant, Sharon was also honored to receive the UIC Silver Circle Teaching Award. She has written about her teaching in UCDA’s Designer Magazine.

Sharon serves as Chair of the Society of Typographic Aficionados, and she is a Director of the Chicago Design Archive.

Guy Villa Jr Columbia College Chicago

Holding a BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Guy Villa Jr

is an Assistant Professor at Columbia College Chicago. His research interests include procedural image-making and photography, and experimental design processes. He has professional experience in editorial and identity design for not-for-profit organizations, start-ups, and other businesses. In recognition for his work, he was named a Platinum Winner by Graphis, for which he was interviewed and featured in the Graphis Letterhead 7 book. He was also interviewed by Print magazine, and his work was published in the annual. Aside from teaching, Guy speaks regularly at regional, national and international confer- ences and events. He is also Chair of the STA Design Inspiration Weekend, an annual forum for designers held by The Society of Typographic Arts. Recently, he was a juror for the international TypeCon Typography Award and a proposal reviewer for the TypeCon Education Forum.

Daria Tsoupikova University of Illinois at Chicago

Holding an MFA in Computer Graphics from Syracuse University, Daria Tsoupikova is an Associate Professor of New Media Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Positioned at the crossroads of artistic and technological innovation, her research and artwork explores the potential of new media and inter- activity in relation to traditional arts. Through the development of virtual reality (VR) art projects and networked multi-user exhibitions for VR projection systems, her work applies computer graphics art to various research domains, including educational multimedia, cultural heritage and virtual rehabilitation for stroke survivors. Daria’s work has been exhibited and published by ACM SIGGRAPH, IEEE VR, ISEA, among many others. Past projects have received funding from NSF, National Institute on Disability and Rehabili- tation Research and the Department of Education. A former Fulbright Scholar, Daria is currently partnering with the Hand Rehabilitation Laboratory to develop a multi-user virtual environment to aid in hand rehabilitation.


Teaching the History of Graphic Design to Visual Learners

Solution: add a significant drawing component to the curriculum

Ingrid Hess 
Assistant Professor 
University of Massachusetts Lowell

I teach the History of Graphic Design to art and design students. Most of them are visual learners. I find it an exciting challenge to teach in a way that inspires learning among these students. Below are excerpts from an article I wrote for the international journal Visual Inquiry in 2013 entitled, “How Drawing Helps Keep History Present”.

When I was an art student, one of my favorite classes was art history. I remember my professor’s lectures to be fascinating yet I remember almost nothing about art history itself. The information she shared with the class didn’t stick with me. Two decades later I was asked to teach a History of Graphic Design class. I was thrilled and terrified. How could I teach a class as interesting as the one I took years before yet help my students retain the information they were learning? My solution was simple: add a significant drawing component to the curriculum. By having students create work based on the lectures I presented they put their knowledge into immediate use. The results were astounding. On tests throughout the semester, questions relating to the drawing assignments were much more likely to be answered correctly than other questions.

A pleasant surprise—regardless of a student’s inherent drawing skill, using drawing was an effective tool. My class consisted of both art majors and non-art majors. I graded not on the expertise of the rendering, but rather on how each student integrated new knowledge of graphic design history into the drawing assignments.

The most rewarding part of the course was seeing how much the students loved the drawing assignments. At the end of the class when I asked the students what they thought they would remember from the semester, all of them stated a lesson that went along with a drawing assignment.

Colloquium 5.2: CAA 2019 Conference New York

Presentations and discussion in Research and Scholarship in Communication Design at the 107th Annual CAA Conference 2019 in NYC.

Hosted by CAA Affiliated Society, Design Incubation.

Research in Communication Design. Presentation of unique, significant creative work, design education, practice of design, case studies, contemporary practice, new technologies, methods, and design research. A moderated discussion will follow the series of presentations.

Design Incubation Colloquium 5.2: CAA 2019 New York City
Thursday, February 14, 2019 

10:30am–12:00pm
New York Hilton Midtown, Second Floor Regent

Abstract submission deadline: August 6, 2018.
Submit abstracts online at Colloquium Abstract Submissions.

The colloquium session is open to all conference attendees.

Co-Moderators

Liz DeLuna
Associate Professor 
Graphic Design
St John’s University

Robin Landa
Distinguished Professor
Michael Graves College 
Kean University

Presentations

10 Case Studies in Eco-Activist Design
Kelly Salchow MacArthur
Associate Professor
Michigan State University

Art, Interaction and Narrative in Virtual Reality
Slavica Ceperkovic
Professor
Seneca College

Form, Focus and Impact: Pedagogy of a 21St-Century Design Portfolio
Peter Lusch
Professor of Practice
Lehigh University, Bethlehem PA

Pitch & Roll: Exploring Low-Risk Entrepreneurship for Student Designers
Jennifer Kowalski
Professor of Instruction
Graphic Arts & Interactive Design
Temple University Tyler School of Art

Questioning the Canon: Discussing Diversity and Inclusion in the Classroom
Sherry Freyermuth
Assistant Professor
Lamar University

Design Activism & Impact: How Can Principles of Social Impact Assessment Improve Outcomes of Socially Conscious Design Efforts in Graphic Design Curriculum?
Cat Normoyle
Assistant Professor
East Carolina University

Cultural Competence for Designers
Colette Gaiter
Professor
University of Delaware

Exploring Narrative Inquiry as a Design Research Method
Anne Berry
Assistant Professor
Cleveland State University

State of Flux
Natacha Poggio
Assistant Professor
University of Houston Downtown

The Fellowship Program at Design Incubation

Call for Participation: 3-day academic design research and writing workshop. Application deadline, September 1, 2018

Application deadline: Sept 1, 2018
Fellowship dates: January 10-12, 2019
Location: St. John’s University, Manhattan Campus, 51 Astor Place, New York, NY 10003

Target Audience: Design academics in one or more of the following areas: graphic design, information design, branding, marketing, advertising, typography, web, interaction, film and video, animation, illustration, game design. Full-time tenure track or tenured faculty are given preference but any academic may apply. Applicants who are tenure track or tenured faculty are given first priority but other faculty or independent researchers may apply.

Format: All Fellows accepted into the program participate in the Fellowship Workshop as part of the overall experience. The Fellowship workshops offers participants the opportunity to share and develop ideas for research and individual writing projects while receiving constructive feedback from faculty mentors and peers in their field.

Fellows arrive with a draft of their writing and work on this specific project throughout the various sessions of the Fellowship Workshop. Each meeting includes a number of short informational sessions and a session devoted to analyzing and editing written work. The remainder of the 3-day workshop will be focused on activities which allow participants to share their projects with peers and receive structured feedback. Between sessions, Fellows will have time to execute revisions, review others participants work, and engage in discussions. Initiation of and work on collaborative projects is encouraged.

For more further details visit:
The Fellowship Program at Design Incubation

To apply visit the application details and online form:
Fellowship Program format and online application process

For Frequently Asked Questions visit the FAQ page:
Fellowship Program frequently asked questions

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.

DI-AwardsPressRelease2017

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.