Tina Korani
Assistant Professor of Media Design
School of Journalism and Mass Communications
San Jose State University

“Lines” is a project aiming to represent today’s society and the barriers that human beings are creating around themselves. This project explores human connections and separations, using the concept of dots and lines, in ways both literally and metaphorical. Through visual investigations, I will explain how these lines are developed and how the development of these lines affects our society, in good and bad ways.

I use fundamental visual elements such as dots and lines, to express an in-depth concept through a simple language. Through my exploration dots and lines are the basic foundation of our everyday life and environment – both literally and metaphorically.

Sometimes these lines bring people together and have a positive effect in our society and sometimes they divide people. These lines can be: culture, race, sex, language, and religion.

I investigated through searching for my aesthetic and visual language how and why human beings are developing these lines around themselves and what are the consequences and results of these lines in our lives.

My project is built around three different media: a silent video, 15 illustrations and a book.

This research was presented at the Design Incubation Colloquium 4.1: San Jose State on Saturday, Sept 30, 2017.

Racism Untaught

John O’Neill
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
University of Minnesota Duluth

My presentation will speak to the legacy of how the graphic design industry throughout history has reflected racism in mass communication, shaping the attitudes and behaviors of the general public.

Teaching graphic design students the racial impact of design is as important as instructing them in software or conceptual and visual form-making skills. Racial components are often overshadowed within socially conscious design, for example higher sustainability standards to decrease waste and pollution. If students learn how racism is experienced within mass media, they will gain greater sensitivity how their graphic work could perpetuate racial stereotypes.

My presentation will showcase how a higher sensitivity to racism provides a greater context for the way different cultures and communities around the globe can perceive the same visual messages differently. Students will also gain an in-depth sense of empathy and critical thinking, which can be applied to other aspects of their design skills, most notability through their use of UI/UX design principles as they design interfaces. Students need to have the same sensitivity to societal and cultural norms when designing content for the 21st century, no matter if it is print or digital media.

With the use of web 2.0 and social media, graphic designers can have worldwide audiences for their projects larger than what could have been possible before. Communities around the globe are becoming more diverse, which requires graphic designers to have the skills to recognize racism in all of its forms. By doing so, they will avoid provoking overt and subtle racism in the work they produce.

Graphic designers are no longer limited to promoting social causes in their work to evoke social change. Instead, they can be agents of social change by intentionally preventing racial stereotypes in mass media.

This research was presented at the Design Incubation Colloquium 4.1: San Jose State on Saturday, Sept 30, 2017.