AIGA Design Educators Conference
March 14 + 15, 2014
Research, Education + Practice
Design educators and professionals are challenged with identifying what constitutes appropriate and effective research. They must bring this knowledge to the classroom with the assurance it will serve students well in their practice. Currently, most educators’ methods are replete with intuition and anecdote. How might we reach a position that is academically sound and professionally valuable when put into action? Connecting Dots explores the ideas, ideals, and practices of design educators and professionals as they together investigate research.
On March 14 and 15, 2014, fellow design faculty, students, and professionals met in Cincinnati, Ohio, to hear noted speakers and panels, roundtable discussions and other learning activities. Conference conclusions will be published with proposed research directions for communication design.
Registration is closed.
Annette Diefenthaler is a Senior Design Research Lead at IDEO’s New York studio. She focuses on creating a deep understanding for people’s behaviors and needs that translates into meaningful design outcomes. Annette is particularly interested in evolving methodologies for Design Researchers’ changing role in today’s market environment.
Since joining IDEO in January 2008, Annette has lead teams in designing diverse solutions such as bank branches, toys, hospital experiences, digital experiences and a future vision for a university. Her work has been recognized with multiple design awards.
Annette’s true passion is bringing human-centered design to systemic challenges in education. She has worked with clients in K-12 and higher education, rethinking what learning tools and experiences might look like, helping entrepreneurs understand how to design for this context and envisioning a new educational model for an entire state. Annette is a co-author of IDEO’s Design Thinking for Educators Toolkit.
She regularly speaks about her experiences and enjoys sharing Design Thinking with diverse audiences. As an evolution of her teaching experience, she is currently designing a Fellowship Program for non-traditional students at The New School of Public Engagement with Dean David Scobey.
Now based in New York, Annette grew up in Germany and has lived and worked in many cultural contexts, including Russia, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. In her free time, she is mostly to be found training for her next marathon.
(Re)search for Inspiration and Design
When designers at IDEO are asked to create innovative solutions to challenges as varied as an online platform for financial advisors, a national campaign to prevent teen pregnancy, a new educational model for an entire state, and airplane seats that economy class passengers can actually sleep in, they start with research. Or, more accurately, they start to search. Search for inspiration, for learning, for insight. Using multiple different research methods, design teams get close to users, seeking to gain a deep understanding of their needs, building empathy that fuels ideas, and finding inspiration that helps them think beyond existing solutions.
Design researchers as practitioners serve as facilitators of experiences for their teams and clients — experiences that enable them to make strategic design decisions with users in mind. In short, they are crafting the journey to creative confidence.
During the last few years, exciting changes have helped evolve the practice of design research: New digital tools help get closer to users. Users are more open to actively participating in developing ideas. As a result, the boundaries between researchers and research participants are beginning to blur.
This talk will highlight some of these latest evolutions from a practitioner's perspective.
Jorge Frascara is Professor Emeritus of the University of Alberta, Canada, Fellow of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, and member of the Editorial Boards of the Information Design Journal, Visible Language and Design Issues. He has held leading positions at the University of Alberta, Icograda, the ISO, the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, the Graphic Design Education Association (USA) and the Canadian Standards Council. He has published nine books and more than 50 articles internationally, and has lectured and made presentations in more than twenty five countries. Past clients include the Government of Canada, the Mission Possible Coalition (traffic safety), the Alberta Drug Utilization Program, Telus Canada and the Health System in Italy. He now lives in Puebla, Mexico, teaches at the University of the Americas Puebla, and runs an information design consultancy with his wife Guillermina Noël.
Design Research in Academia & Professional Practice: The Necessary Link
Research in academia and professional practice are one integrated reality when one wants to work on an evidence-based design approach, on an approach where the objective is not the construction of graphics but the achievement of the expected response from the public being addressed. Every project is for me an integration between research and design. Research that other people in other disciplines are developing and have developed, and my own field research connected specifically to the project at hand. I will show how these two factors are integrated using examples of my personal work.
Jon Kolko is Vice President of Product, Innovation, and Design at MyEdu, and the Founder and Director of Austin Center for Design. His work focuses on bringing the power of design to social enterprises, with an emphasis on entrepreneurship and large-scale industry disruption. He has worked extensively with both startups and Fortune 500 clients, and he's most interested in humanizing educational technology.
Jon has previously held positions of Executive Director of Design Strategy at Thinktiv, a venture accelerator in Austin, Texas, and both Principal Designer and Associate Creative Director at frog design, a global innovation firm. He has been a Professor of Interaction and Industrial Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where he was instrumental in building both the Interaction and Industrial Design undergraduate and graduate programs. Jon has also held the role of Director for the Interaction Design Association (IxDA), and Editor-in-Chief of interactions magazine, published by the ACM. He is regularly asked to participate in high-profile conferences and judged design events, including the 2013 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards. He has taught at the University of Texas at Austin, the Center for Design Studies of Monterrey, in Mexico, and Malmö University, in Sweden.
Jon is the author of three books: Thoughts on Interaction Design, published by Morgan Kaufmann, Exposing the Magic of Design: A Practitioner's Guide to the Methods and Theory of Synthesis, published by Oxford University Press, and Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving, published by Austin Center for Design.
Design as Product Strategy
Educating designers in product management in order to create products people love
Most companies consider strong product management to be the "glue" that holds together products as they are being conceived of and built, and most companies treat product management as either a marketing or an engineering activity. But modern startups like Airbnb and large corporations like JetBlue or Starbucks have proven that industry disruption is possible not by focusing on adding features or just improving sales, but instead by focusing on providing deep, meaningful engagement to the people that use their products or services. This engagement is achieved by designing products that seem as though they have a personality, or even a soul. These products feel less like manufactured artifacts and more like good friends.
Design doesn’t refer only to aesthetics or usability, although these are things consumers are most likely to notice or appreciate and the things we are most likely to teach our undergraduate students of design. Design is both a noun and a verb. It can mean the visual or tactical quality of a product, as well as the process by which products are conceived. Design is a more comprehensive way of thinking about people and human behavior than engineering or marketing. It is a product development process that uses empathy with a community of potential consumers in order to identify problems to solve. Design leverages a certain way of thinking in order to infer solutions to those problems that will have meaningful emotional appeal, and a strong market fit.
In this talk, you’ll learn how to apply that process yourself, both in industry and in academia, and how to help educate future strategic leaders in this critical and highly visible role.
Sharon Helmer Poggenpohl has taught in notable design programs: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, and the Rhode Island School of Design. Her focus over a long career has been post-graduate design education, both master and Ph.D., as well as design research. Taking a human-centered position with regard to design, she teaches to help students humanize technology, to learn to work creatively and collaboratively with each other, and to prepare them to contribute to building a body of design knowledge. For twenty-six years, she edited and published the international scholarly design journal Visible Language, overseeing the peer-review of hundreds of papers. She co-edited with Keiichi Sato Design Integrations, Research and Collaboration (Intellect Books, 2009). Currently, she is working on a book tentatively titled Design Theory-to-go, while teaching occasionally in Hong Kong.
Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice – Pragmatically
Changes in the way communication design is practiced, particularly in relation to interface and interaction problems and possibilities calls for many forms of research. This is not research as an isolated academic activity, but research that proves itself in practice and is adopted or abandoned based on showing itself to be truly useful. This is a commonsense idea yet research and practice separate into distinct communities. Bringing them together in a collaborative relationship strengthens both, and surprisingly it does not lack a philosophical underpinning as practiced automatically by many Americans, but often remains out-of-awareness. That philosophy is Pragmatism as developed by John Dewey in the early twentieth century. Yes, it has historical standing, but its usefulness, practical energy, and connectedness to life-as-lived have not disappeared and are being rediscovered.
John Dewey’s Theory of Inquiry is compared to advanced design practice and its relation to research. Further, it connects well to human- or used-centered design processes and to Scandinavian Action Theory. Taking a commonsense approach to Dewey’s ideas and a critical perspective on design performance puts research into a collaborative context that extends design knowledge in a practical performance-based arena and connects again to ongoing research. Dewey’s theory seeks to unite design research and design practice.
Elizabeth B.-N. Sanders
Liz Sanders is the President of MakeTools, a design research company with a focus on collective creativity and innovation. Liz introduced many of the tools, techniques and methods being used today to drive and/or inspire design from a human-centered perspective and has practiced co-designing across all the design disciplines. Her numerous design awards, publications, presentations, and her proven track record in the marketplace have established her as a global leader in the field of design research. Liz speaks about and teaches human-centered research and design to clients, colleagues and students around the world.
Liz is also an Associate Professor in Design at The Ohio State University, where her focus is on facilitating transdisciplinary learning experiences and co-creation practices for addressing the significant challenges we face today.
Design Research in 2014: A New Map
There has been a proliferation in the use of new design research methods and tools over the past few years. This is a good situation for those looking to innovate from a sustainable, human-centered perspective. But there is another side. The situation can be overwhelming and confusing to practitioners, teachers and students who must choose, teach and learn which methods to use, when to use them and in what combinations. The aim of this presentation is to bring some clarity to the new landscapes of design research and practice. I will propose a framework for organizing, visualizing and planning for the use of new and future design research methods and tools.
Karel van der Waarde
Karel van der Waarde studied graphic design in the Netherlands (The Design Academy, Eindhoven [BA]) and in the UK (De Montfort University, Leicester [MA], and the University of Reading [PhD]).
In 1995, he started a design - research consultancy in Belgium specializing in the testing of information design. His company develops and tests information for patients, pharmacists, nurses, and doctors.
Van der Waarde is a life-fellow of the Communications Research Institute (Melbourne, Australia), a board member of International Institute for Information Design (IIID, Vienna, Austria) and editorial board member of Information Design Journal, Iridescent, the Poster and Visible Language.
Graphic Design? Can We Convince Commercial Commissioners, Solemn Academics, & Worried Parents that it is Worthwhile?
It's difficult to provide convincing arguments about the values of graphic design in relation to practice, research and education. Professional practice remains elusive, the role of research seems uncertain, and education struggles to keep up. And there is a certain level of confusion about terminology, assessment criteria, design methods, teaching methods, and effects. The combination of these uncertainties leads to all sorts of issues in practice, in education, and research.
Graphic design education, graphic design research, and graphic design practice are three separate professions with different goals, methods, and criteria. However, it is possible to describe a common core. One way to do this is to recognize three different types of research, to select visual argumentation as a theoretical basis, and to consider graphic design as a reflective practice.
Master of Ceremonies:
Printable version available here.
Thursday, March 13
|2 pm 5 pm||
Tour: UC Campus Architecture.
Navigating the Reappointment and Tenure Journey.
|3 pm 6 pm||
Early Conference Registration
|6 pm 10 pm||
AIGA Welcome Party
At Japps Annex downtown.
Friday, March 14
|8 am 9 am||
|8 am 5 pm||
Available all day.
|9 am 9:30 am||
|9:30 am 10:30 am||10:30am|
|10:30 am 11 am||
|11:00 am 11:30 am||
Panel Discussion 1
|11:30 am 12:00 pm||
|12 pm 2:15 pm||
Catered. Served on-site.
|12 pm 1 pm||
The AIGA Design Educators Community
What is the Design Educators Community? How can it support you as an educator? Join us as we discuss this topic and share new initiatives that the Community is currently proposing to AIGA.
Helen Armstrong, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
Originality in the Age of Pinterest
A discussion on how students can use the Internet as a research tool while still maintaining their own personalized voice in design solutions.
Donna David, FIT, New York
Design Research Tools + the IRB
This discussion forum addresses the development of open-ended, design research tools and methodologies in Institutional Review Board protocols for implementation in academic setting research projects. Participants are encouraged to bring their experiences-both successes and failures-to the table for discussion. What works-what doesn't? What is lost? What is gained by this process?
Amy Findeiss, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colorado
Transdisciplinary Design + Methods for Comparing Design Curricula
What is transdisciplinary design? How is it distinguished from inter- and multi- and pluri-disciplinary design? Moreover, what is the utility of the idea of transdisciplinary design in terms of design curriculum? How can we understand how such notions are integrated into various design curricula and what is the basis for comparison between programs and curricula?
Eli Blevis, SoIC, Indiana University Bloomington; SD, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
“Can You Make this Pretty for Me?”
|1 pm 2 pm||
|2:15 pm 3:15 pm|
|3:15 pm 3:30 pm||
|3:30 pm 4:30 pm|
|4:30 pm 5 pm||
|5 pm 5:30 pm||
|6:00 pm 9:00 pm (tentative)||
|8:00 pm 9:15 pm (tentative)||
Screening: Design Is One
A free, exclusive screening of a film based on the exemplary careers of design legends Lella and Massimo Vignelli.
Saturday, March 15
|8 am 9 am||
|9 am 9:08 am||
AIGA DEC Announcements
|9:15 am 10:15 am|
|10:15 am 10:30 am||
|10:30 am 11:30 am|
|11:30 am 1 pm||
Catered. Served on-site.
|12 pm 1 pm||
Learn How to Create an iPad app with InDesign + Digital Publishing Suite.
|12 pm 3 pm||
|3 pm 3:30 pm||
|3:30 pm 4:30 pm|
|4:30 pm 5 pm||
|5:30 pm 8:30 pm||
Navigating the Reappointment and Tenure Journey.
Contingent on interest and registration.
Note: Submissions Closed
Connecting Dots sought speakers who would address the ongoing developments of design research in education and the practice today. This conference examined possible diverging goals, different applied methods, and the potential collaboration between the two groups. Is design research practice within the profession able to propose theory? Conversely is design research in education applicable to professional practice? Conference sessions were divided into three areas: research outcomes, methods, and needs. Session proposals are no longer being accepted. See original guidelines below.
The conference was hosted on the University of Cincinnati Campus in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning.
We made arrangements with the several hotels.
21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati $$$$
609 Walnut Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
P: (513) 578-6600
F: (513) 578-6601
Located in the center of the action in downtown Cincinnati — adjacent to the Contemporary Arts Center and across the street from the Aronoff Center for the Arts — 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati is a 156-room boutique hotel, contemporary art museum and cultural civic center.
Rate: 21c is happy to offer a special rate of $199 per night. This special rate will be available for March 13 to March 16. The last day to book your room with this offer is February 11, 2014.
Book your group rate by calling (855) 391-8726.
Kingsgate Marriott at the University of Cincinnati $$$
151 Goodman Dr.
Cincinnati, OH 45219
P: (513) 487-3820
F: (513) 487-3810
The Kingsgate Marriott is a 3-star hotel situated on campus; a 20 minute walk from the conference venue. This hotel's modern décor and meeting space creates a unique setting for business or leisure.
- Walk: The hotel is a 0.9 mile (20 minute) walk from the conference venue.
- UC Shuttle: Runs from 7am—10pm. Call the front desk to request service.
- Conference shuttle (From DAAP)
Rate: The Marriott is happy to offer a special rate of $115 per night. This special rate will be available for March 13 to March 16. The last day to book your room with this offer is February 20, 2014.
Hampton Inn & Suites $$$
3024 Vine Street,
Cincinnati, Ohio 45219
P: (513) 281-2700
F: (513) 281-0700
The Hampton Inn & Suites is a 2-star hotel situated near campus; a 15 minute walk from the conference venue. Located in central Cincinnati, this hotel is close to the Cincinnati Zoo and Cincinnati Art Museum. This hotel will offer free parking and free hot breakfast daily.
- Walk: The hotel is a 0.7 mile (15 minute) walk from the conference venue.
- UC Shuttle
- Conference shuttle (From DAAP)
Rate: Hampton Inn & Suites is happy to offer a special rate of $109 per night. This special rate will be available for March 13 to March 16. The last day to book your room with this offer is February 26, 2014.
Garfield Suites Hotels $$
2 Garfield Place,
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
P: (513) 421-3355
F: (513) 421-3729
The Garfield Suites is a 3-star hotel situated downtown; 2.3 miles from the conference venue. Featuring spacious accommodations, friendly service and exceptional value, the Garfield Suites is close to Cincinnati's best restaurants and nightlife.
Rate: The Garfield Suites is happy to offer a special rate of $89 per night. Just ask for the AIGA Cincinnati Chapter rate when you book.
1424 Main Street,
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
P: (513) 344-6274
Ghettopia is a hostel situated in downtown Cincinnati. An ideal place for the budget-conscious visitor, it is 1.8 miles from the conference venue.
Rate: For more information, call (513) 344-6274.
- Sherry Blankenship Ohio University
- Todd Childers Bowling Green State University
- Oscar Fernández University of Cincinnati
- Paul Nini The Ohio State University
- Brian Stone The Ohio State University
- Todd Timney University of Cincinnati
- Mike Zender University of Cincinnati