While teaching, I've struggled to rationalize the role of personal aesthetics within design, especially when it doesn't conform to mainstream culture. Throughout my wavering understanding, I've relied on the basic principles of design time and again as a way of encouraging objective methodology and analysis of my students' design work. (I designed this piece as a visual guide for my students who might be struggling to incorporate those principles into their work.)
3D Visualization / Kinetic Learning
(Transforming "visual" weight into the "physical" helps some students see the impact of "heavier" images and colors within a composition.) Students studying graphic design can benefit from 3-dimensional learning tools when learning to apply foundation design principles to their work, as physical tools may help in understanding spacial relationships between forms, encourage problem-solving skills, and more. Additionally, providing a sense of “play” that maintains attention reinforces foundation design principles like scale, hierarchical relationships, balance, and repetition; and becomes an effective and powerful resource for graphic design students who struggle with applying these principles to their design and typographic work.
AIGA Design Conference 2019 - Education Symposium
Madison Community Center
As part of a community project led by artist, Brandon Donahue, and with funding from Metro Arts Nashville, I was asked to digitally interpret the artwork of 17 kids who filled their silhouettes with images and colors that represented who they were and what they wanted to become. Part of my challenge was to remove all copyrighted images, and replace them with colors and patterns that still honored each kid's ideas and personality. The final designs were printed on vinyl and installed on the 2nd floor glass of the newly built Madison Community Center.
CAA 2020 - Panelist
Nashville 2018 - Interview
Grassmere Zoo - Tennessee State University Graphic Design Collaborative Project
Over the course of a 4-year period, I worked on a project with Grassmere Zoo (funded by Lexus of Nashville) to create signage for the historic home and farm located at the center of the zoo's property. With the help of TSU students enrolled in Art 3110 (Graphic Design), we came up with the tagline, "The Story Begins Here," and crafted a historical storybook design throughout the many signs in and around the property. (Pictured here is a small sample of the over 30 signs produced during this large undertaking.)
Curriculum map of the Department of Art & Design, displayed as 8 colors representing the 8 semesters of a student's average tenure in our program. The placement of the concentric circles represented whether a class was a general education requirement, art foundation, concentration course, or elective.
Urban, Expressive Type Explorations
Much of what has informed graphic design education comes from the Western world, with a heavy emphasis on principles and practices from movements like the Bauhaus, Constructivism, and the International Typographic Style. This narrowed lens ignores design contributions from many parts of the world and perpetuates a narrative that “good” design must be derived from these specific origins. At what point are we, as design educators, responsible for challenging this narrative? The content featured in Beyond the Bauhaus aims to highlight design contributions from underrepresented cultural and social groups that do not have roots in modernist or Bauhaus methods. The goal is not to deny the contributions of the Western world, but to broaden the scope of what we teach and discuss in the classroom, while providing ideas toward practical applications of the referenced work. Submissions from readers are encouraged. Contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to submit a feature. These articles were written for AIGA's Design Educators Community, and available to read at: educators.aiga.org
Product Design & Branding
Pencil & Marker Drawings