I have always been interested in examining design artifacts within the larger context of place and human interaction. I believe that places are full of meaning, inherently influencing perceptions of the designed artifacts living within their boundaries. Thus, it is expected that the designed artifacts themselves may also add, edit and inform perceptions of a place in the same manner. This symbiotic relationship between artifact and place are interchangeable and constantly in flux, depending on situational elements.
As a graduate student at Georgia State University (GSU), I first realized my passion for integrating designed artifacts into shared places under the direction of Liz Throop while creating an experimental typographic piece as a window installation in downtown Atlanta. This project introduced a new dialogue to an otherwise deemed defined place, the entranceway of an academic building. Inspired by the cross-disciplinary M.F.A. program at GSU between graphic design and interior design and my undergraduate education in industrial design, my research investigations overlap many design disciplines like interior design, industrial design, graphic design, web/interactive design and public art.
During my thesis year, I began to think more about recontextualizing public shared places that were deemed abandoned, specifically urban places that were either in decay due to economic turmoil or forgotten. I also started to observe how the movement of creative placemaking and tactical urbanism was transforming blighted areas of the city in a bottom-up guerrilla-style manner. In an effort to harness this developing movement, I recontextualized abandoned areas in Atlanta with visual communication, specifically a messaging campaign inspired by first-hand conversations and interviews with residents. My thesis work, completed in 2012, explored how visual communication (in the form of city street signage) could be a catalyst for residents to redefine abandoned urban areas. The provocative messaging intended to inspire transformation of the landscape into a place where residents could find ownership, interaction, and function. This project won AIGA Environmental Graphics Award and was published in The Overlapping of Popular and Contemporary Cultures Journal.