Cocktails Against Cancer

Service Award Winner

Katherine Mueller, Assistant Professor, Temple University

I have volunteered my time and provided pro bono creative services since 2014 to Cocktails Against Cancer, a 501(c)3 organization that raises money to benefit quality-of-life programs for people battling cancer in the region. Each year I create a unique identity and promotional campaign for the annual event. The project generates awareness of the charity event, promotes ticket sales, and otherwise supports fund raising efforts. The scope of the project includes event naming, identity design, poster, flyer, webpage, organic and paid social media, press kit, sponsorship kit, program booklet, event signage, and various event decorative elements.

The significance of my impact may be judged by the many ways the event has thrived since I became involved. Attendance has increased by 45% since I assumed my role as creative director in 2014. Alongside my fellow board members, I have helped to elevate the event from a simple community center gymnasium, to the premier Loew’s Philadelphia Hotel, where it is held today. During this period, we have raised almost $70k for our beneficiaries.

Our efforts have an impact at the individual level in our community. The mission of the organization is to support quality-of-life programs for people and families battling cancer in the region. Raised funds are donated to three beneficiaries. At Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House, every $500 sends a child with cancer to camp for a week; Our funds help provide healthy living classes and counseling programs at Cancer Support Community of Greater Philadelphia; And through Breathing Room Foundation, our funds help families pay their everyday bills, such as groceries and utilities.

The work I’ve produced for this annual project has been repeatedly peer reviewed and recognized for its importance and excellence. This body of work has garnered 14 juried awards, including a How International Design Award and Graphis Design Awards. Posters from the campaigns have exhibited internationally in juried exhibitions, showing in Italy, Spain, Netherlands, India, China, and the U.S. Most recently a poster showed in the AIGA Philadelphia Design Awards Exhibition. Alina Wheeler wrote a 400+ word case study on Cocktails Against Cancer for the current edition of her book, Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team, a best selling global resource for branding. In 2017, the branding project was awarded a grant from Temple University.

I am incredibly proud of this body of work, and the impact it has had. I am pleased to model for my students a productive pro bono relationship that includes both creative satisfaction and social impact. I am honored that Noopur Agarwal nominated the project for a Communication Design Educator Award in the category of service. Thank you to the jury for your time and consideration.

Kathy Mueller is an Assistant Professor at Temple University Klein College of Media & Communication, where she teaches courses related to art direction. She is an active member of the design community in Philadelphia and sustains an award-winning creative practice. She has volunteered on various committees with AIGA Philadelphia, and served a two-year term on the board as Programming Chair. Most recently she was a 2019 Design Incubation Fellow. She holds a MFA graphic and interactive design from Tyler School of Art & Architecture. Kathy’s creative work has been recognized in the ADC Annual, TDC Annual, How International, Print Regional, and appeared in Harper Design, Wiley, How Books, and Rockport publications.

Recipient of recognition in the Design Incubation Communication Design Awards 2019.

What Can Machine Learning Contribute to Empathy in Design? How to Build a Journey Map Using Big Data and Text Sentiment Analysis

Sarah Pagliaccio
Principal, User Experience Designer
Black Pepper

What can machine learning contribute to empathy in design? How to build a journey map using big data and text sentiment analysis.

Art and design are meant to reflect the world around us, show empathy for those we design for, and reflect the emotional state of our customers and target users. But how are we meant to empathize with situations that are unfamiliar or out of context? What happens when we over-empathize and project our own emotional states on our customers’ experiences? That’s where machine learning comes in. With enough input, we can use machine learning tools, specifically text sentiment analysis, to provide an objective score of our users’ emotional experiences. By feeding transcripts of customer interviews into a computer, we can remove our own subjectivity from our analysis and form a holistic picture of others’ needs and wants.

These sentiment scores can turn words into pictures, emotions into graphs, expanding our understanding of design goals and tasks.

Using Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a case study, we will talk through the emotional journey, i.e., the customer journey map, of major characters in the play using text sentiment analysis. A discussion of how these techniques can be applied to consumer application and website design will follow.

This research was presented at the Design Incubation Colloquium 5.1: DePaul University on October 27, 2018.

The Design Incubation Communication Design Awards 2018

2018 Design Incubation Educators Awards competition in 4 categories— Creative Work, Published Research, Teaching, Service.

Call for Entries: Deadline, May 31, 2018


Works in Process

Scholarship: Creative Work Award Winner

George Garrastegui
Assistant Professor
Communication Design
New York City College of Technology, CUNY

What Does Democratic Design Look Like? Establishing the Center for Design in the Public Interest at the University of California, Davis

Scholarship: Creative Work Award Runner Up

Susan Verba
University of California, Davis




Lowering Barriers to Access at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Teaching Award Winner

Helen Armstrong
Associate Professor
North Carolina State University


LEAP Dialogues: The Educators Guide

Service Award Winner

Mariana Amatullo
Associate Professor
Parsons School of Design, The New School

Andrew Shea
Assistant Professor
Parsons School of Design, The New School

Jennifer May
Director, Designmatters
ArtCenter College of Design

Recognition of excellence through peer review in scholarship, teaching, and service is fundamental to the professional development of communication design academics. To support this need, Design Incubation established the Communication Design Educators Awards in 2016.

An independent jury of esteemed design educators is invited by the Awards Jury Chair. This year’s jury chair, Maria Rogal, invited these internationally recognized jurors: Jorge Meza Aguilar, Ruki Ravikumar, Wendy Siuyi Wong, and Steven McCarthy. Rogal writes, “this jury reflects the diverse perspectives and experiences that exist in communication design today.”

The awards acknowledge faculty accomplishments in the areas of published research, creative work, teaching, and service. The award processes and procedures are rigorous, transparent, and objective. They reflect Design Incubation’s mission to foster professional development and discourse within the design community.

This year, award entries are open February 1, 2018 – May 31, 2018 via the online application. An overview of the awards program is on our website.

We are excited to announce Bloomsbury Publishing is sponsoring this year’s awards.

The 2018 Jury

Steven McCarthy is Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis/St. Paul. He conceived of the Design Incubation Communication Design Educators Awards and chaired the jury in both 2016 and 2017. 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.

Jorge Meza Aguilar is Professor of Strategic Design and Provost for Outreach and Collaboration at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, where he founded the Bachelor in Interactive Design and the Master in Strategic Design and Innovation programs. He is widely recognized as an expert in strategic design and is the founding Director of Estrategas Digitales which focuses on research, strategic design, branding, trend forecasting, branding, Internet, and digital media. Meza is also a consultant and entreprenuer and holds degrees in art, graphic design, and systems engineering. Previously, he studied in and worked as a designer in Poland at Advertising Agency Schulz.

Ruki Ravikumar is Director of Education at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, a position she has held since April 2017. She joined the museum following thirteen years of service at the University of Central Oklahoma, where she held successive positions as professor of graphic design; director of graduate programs; chair of the Department of Design; assistant dean; and most recently, as associate dean of the College of Fine Arts & Design. In addition to her practice as an educator and published researcher in the areas of intersections between graphic design and culture and their impact on design education, she is also an award winning graphic designer. Further, she has served in leadership roles at the local and national levels of AIGA, the professional association for design.

Maria Rogal, Jury Chair, is Professor of Graphic Design, School of Art + Art History at the University of Florida and was Interim Director from 2015–2017. She is the founder of Design for Development (D4D), an award-winning initiative to co-design with indigenous entrepreneurs and subject matter experts to generate sustainable and responsible local outcomes. She has lectured and published about D4D, recently co-authoring “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.

Wendy Siuyi Wong is Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Department of Design at the York University, Toronto, Canada. She has established an international reputation as an expert in Chinese graphic design history and Chinese comic art history. She is the author of Hong Kong Comics: A History of Manhua, published by Princeton Architectural Press (2002). She is a contributor to the Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design (2012), The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Design (2015), and acts as a regional editor of the Greater China region for the Encyclopedia of East Asian Design to be published by Bloomsbury Publishing. Also, Dr. Wong has served as an editorial board member of Journal of Design History.