Teaching & Student Work

Type Specimen Poster: How to Begin to Imagine an Interactive Experience for a Poster Design

The type specimen poster project is a favorite project among graphic design students at East Carolina University. 

This semester, with the uncertainty of available resources for large-format printing, we introduced a new assignment, the interactive type specimen poster. This project included a hands-on prototyping activity to conceptualize the visual design, layout, and interactive features of the interactive poster. Instructional videos for working through this process are included below.

Teaching & Student Work

An Introduction to Coding: Web Design & Creative Code

Teaching & Student Work

Students create video demonstrations of unique mobile apps designed to engage community

Students design digital products for mobile application that add to or expand on Greenville’s sense of place through additional programming (or activity). Students choose a local partner to work with and define goals and frame project for conceptualization and development. Students must consider the needs of their partner as well as the end user of their application (often these are not the same people).

In this project, we discuss concepts of UI (user-interface design) and UX (user-experience design) and work with digital prototyping tools such as Adobe XD. Additionally, concepts and techniques for designing for digital environments such as wireframing, prototyping, and user-testing are introduced to support design development.

Work was completed by junior graphic design students at East Carolina University, Graphic Design, School of Art + Design.

Spatial Interventions Teaching & Student Work

Active Voice: Students create campaigns about social justice, diversity, anti-racism, and equity.

Access to Healthcare Campaign by Chelsea Davis. Seeks to shift behaviors and attitudes towards equity in healthcare sectors.

Graphic design and visual communication can be a powerful tool to affect change, shape culture, and persuade opinions and actions of audiences across social, cultural, economic, and/or political circumstances.

This project introduces students to graphic design as a tool for action and social impact. Students develop messaging campaigns that build awareness, educate and inform on overarching themes and topics with a shared intent to reach a broad audience and shift behaviors and attitudes among people.

Students work across digital and physical platforms and must consider how their campaign functions cohesively across media from social media / digital environment to print (OOH – Out of Home) media / physical environment.

Not only do students learn how to design a cross platform messaging campaign across social media and print, but they also learn how to measure its impact on community by working with stakeholders and other participants and collecting and analyzing data.

Students work through research and framing phases to develop unique campaigns within the overarching assignment parameters. Before design phases begin, students outline impact objectives they wish to achieve via their campaigns. Students then begin design development and upon completion, implement their campaigns with participating audience members and stakeholders. Students are asked to collect data during implementation based on their impact objectives, and then report on these findings in conclusions.

This work was completed as part of senior studio ART 4200, graphic design at ECU, which sought to teach students how to measure impact in social design projects. Additionally, work from this project was featured as an exhibition at the ECU Student Center Gallery this spring. It is currently on view through February 2021. The exhibition features the work of 24 graphic design senior students (listed below) with over 75 pieces in the show.

Work by:
Madison Wicks
Hannah Rowerdink
Chelsea Davis
Edwin Averette
Imani McCray
Carter Jewell
Jordan Crass
Myiah Nueman
Sarah Brock
Sabrina Fink
Desteney Hopkins Edwards
Tiana Robinson
Adriana Cadorniga
Andrew Crane
Savannah Durham
Ty Huff
Graesyn Lockhart
Casey Parker
Natalie Pray
Athena Ratzman
Joshua Smith
Hannah Stevens
Shelby Scott
Kat Tayar
Hunter Winslow

Interactive & Motion Teaching & Student Work

Typequads: A Typographic Exploration of Composition & Motion

Students create typographic compositions working with classic fonts. Final work includes a series of 3 static compositions and 1 final motion interpretation. This example is by ECU student, Abigail McCorkle.

Typequads is a sophomore-level, introductory graphic design assignment that design faculty at ECU introduce to students in ART 2200 GD Survey. This project challenges students to work with typography and 2-dimensional space (with special attention on positive/negative relationships and letterforms).

In the shift to online teaching and learning, we transiitioned outcomes from a focus on printed final artifacts to digital  final articfacts. 

This resulted in a revised final assignment that introduced students to motion via frame by frame animation with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. 

Students completed this work in Fall 2020. Designers include:
Hannah Mace
Chelsea Pritchard
William Endicott
Viv Maynard
Mady Barringer
Linsdsey Mumpower
Annika Chhabra
Andrea Cheek
Maddy Backes
Abigail McCorkle
Maryjoe Cortesrosa

Research Spatial Interventions

Upcoming Uptown Greenville Design Intervention project at 423 Evans: Design in Review

Over the last year, I’ve worked with partner, Pitt County Arts Council (PCAC) to plan and design an arts-based community project for the community of Uptown Greenville. The project is my first large-scale design intervention / installation project since starting at ECU and moving to Eastern North Carolina and was made possible by the Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy (EOSA) at ECU.

The purpose of the project is to attempt to improve and expand on the economic, cultural, and community development of Uptown Greenville by contributing to the community’s sense of place through activity-programming, cultural-historical context, and social-spatial interactions, with a specific focus on contributing to the community narrative.

The project employs a citizen-inclusive model, which emphasizes participation of community stakeholders throughout the process. This particular model emphasizes the community’s ability/responsibility to actively participate in the making (implementation phase) of the design intervention.

Stakeholders included a diverse group of Uptown Greenville community members, “a reflection of the community,” including local residents, ECU students, business owners, employers/employees, district city partners, and nearby friends and visitors of Uptown.

In November, we conducted a focus group with the participants where design concepts were shared to gauge interest and initiate feedback for the new design intervention project for Uptown.

My research team and I reviewed the data from the focus group and wrote a full report with insights and recommendations, which was presented to PCAC in February. 

Some major themes that emerged from the focus group analysis included:

Long lasting impact:
The design intervention should evolve with the community. 

Keep it Interactive:
The design intervention should encourage participation among visitors. 

Fun for all ages and focus on our city.

The main recommendations for moving forward with the design direction included: 

  • create the interactive mural. #hashtag-able. Fun. Playful. Youthful. 
  • keep the physical, tactile components. interactive components / photo opportunities. Swings.  
  • ensure community content creation. Avoid a one-time experience.
  • focus on the city narrative. 
  • participatory experience. paint by number approach, on-site – movable mural panels (all components will be movable).

The final design direction is in review and participants are standing by for more details on when implementation can begin.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing precautions, the project implementation has been delayed. We are hoping the project will be able to continue this fall with a tentative implementation plan scheduled to coincide with the “First Friday” event in September.

September 4, 5-8pm (First Friday event)
September 5, 9-4pm
September 6, 9-4pm

More details about this project will be posted as further developments are made.

This research considers and addresses how a design intervention (arts-based community project) can improve and/or expand on the economic, cultural, and community development of Uptown Greenville by contributing to the community’s sense of place through the addition of activity-programming, cultural-historical context, social-spatial interactions, etc. with a specific focus on contributing to the community narrative.


Art, Technology, and Collaboration: A Robot Drawing Workshop with the Pitt Pirates Robotics Team

The Pitt Pirates Robotics Team (PPR) participated in a two-day workshop to learn about and build drawing robots. The drawing robots are tools with basic moving capabilities (forward, backward, right, and left) that draw on a large canvas via a web browser interface. The students from PPR were highly engaged with the technology and system of tools under investigation in this workshop. They represented middle school and high school students from Pitt County schools, North Carolina who are specifically interested in robotics, programming, and technology.

The workshop activities included building a drawing robot, which was programmed using a raspberry pi. The pi was flashed with our drawbots software package which is available via github. The students built the robots and then used terminal to access their robot via its IP address, which was assigned by our access point/network. 

For the remaining duration, participants worked with the tools to explore, experiment, and play with the different digital and analog making activities to understand the technologies in use. Through this process, they were encouraged to build beyond the steps provided to construct and contribute their own ideas. 

The workshop was designed and implemented to address the socio-technical systems that emerge when people work collaboratively ‘through and with’ augmented technical tools in a design making process. The workshop attempted to (1) foster new ways of thinking and making through play and experimentation (2) affect social interactions and empower people to become producers (3) affect relationships between collaborators and the technologies in use through transparent processes.

The results of this investigation were submitted as part of a new publication called “Critical and Collaborative Making with Augmented Tools” in the conference proceedings of DRS 2020 (Design Research Society) Conference that will be held next August in Brisbane, Australia.

For additional information about this research, see a previous investigation with the robots in a museum setting and a previously published paper. This research is completed in collaboration with Rebecca Tegtmeyer, Associate Professor in Graphic Design at Michigan State University.

Interactive & Motion Teaching & Student Work

A New Motion Design Project with Graphic Design Seniors at ECU

This semester, the graphic design seniors at ECU were introduced to graphic design principles in motion and storytelling. Students were challenged to consider the element of time in their work effectively to communicate a message or idea.

We surveyed a lot of sample work on Vimeo from historical to contemporary examples. To view our Vimeo showcase for this project, click here:

In this project, students worked with abstract vector graphics and/or letterforms to design a 30-second motion piece with music using time and space as design elements. Student work was completed fall semester 2019 in Senior studio. Students learned and applied principles of motion, and worked with effects and processes related to time-based digital media to develop storyboards and produce final outcomes with Aftereffects.

Sunrise by Steven Gordillo

Stranger by Lexi Malpass

Roller Coaster by Isabelle Gallagher


Citizen Makers Workshop at the 20th Anniversary National Gathering of Imagining America

I presented and ran a new engagement workshop with conference attendees titled Citizen Makers in Community Design Intervention + Action at the Imagining America 20th Anniversary National Conference this fall in Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 18-20, 2019.

This collaborative and interactive workshop introduces participants to a citizen-inclusive design process that applies an open, participatory model for community engagement in design intervention and action projects. The workshop is based on a framework from my research and practice, called the Blended Perspective (see Figure 1 below), that merges social impact assessment (SIA) guidelines from the social sciences with a human-centered design approach to improve methods for assessing social impact as a major outcome of design work. [1]

Figure 1. The Blended Perspective. Copyright, Normoyle, C., 2019.

[1] Read my most recent publication in the FOURTH issue of the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) DEC (Design Educators Community) open-access scholarly journal, Dialectic Volume 2, Issue 02 (V2, I2) called A Blended Perspective: Social Impact Assessment in Graphic Design. To view the entire publication, click here:

The Citizen Makers Workshop is a tool for teaching this method of community engagement in design intervention and action projects to a wide range of audience types in an interactive and experiential way. The workshop explains how designers can work with (not for) communities through all the phases of a project. This particular strategy emphasizes the community’s ability and responsibility to actively contribute to the implementation and monitoring phases of a design intervention and action projects. This central idea, inspired by the DIY (do-it-yourself) movement, enables citizens to become producers versus consumers of their communities. Designers serve as researchers, systems thinkers, and activists for change, while community members find ownership and authorship in the work they produce. 

The workshop can be used in the classroom to teach students or in the field to teach community and city members, professionals, and others. It is an active approach to learning that provides opportunities for participants to co-create hypothetical design intervention and action projects, based on unique issues that are relevant and unique to them.

At the conference, eight participants completed the workshop. They worked through a series of activities to learn about this method of community engagement in design intervention and action projects. An overview of the workshop activities is listed below.

  1. Identify an issue of concern based on experiences and/or interests relevant to you and your community.
  2. Identify characteristics of your communities.
  3. Brainstorm design intervention and action projects for your community.
  4. Identify community members for participation.
  5. Identify community member interests, skills and knowledge for integration.
  6. Integrate community participation into design intervention and action projects and refine solutions.

The workshop lasted about an hour and a half. Feedback from participants has been reviewed in order to refine the workshop further, and I plan to run this workshop with students at ECU this spring to test and develop the workshop curriculum further.

Some other highlights from the conference included the film screening of From Here by film maker, Christina Antonakos-Wallace (Check out as well for more details about her work). The film shared the stories of four protagonists from different parts of the world who struggle to find a sense of belonging and self in the places that they call home. We screened the film at the Imagining America conference, but the film will go on tour across the states in 2020. I am working with another colleague to setup a screening at ECU for next fall. We hope to invite Antonakos-Wallace and one of the protagonists to ECU to screen the film and run a workshop with the School of Art + Design students (perhaps other ECU organizations who may be interested as well). We plan to run additional programming next fall that will align with the concepts and concerns that the film brings to light.

Another highlight of the experience with Imagining America was the opportunity to represent ECU (and Eastern Carolina in general) with my colleagues while at the conference. Angela Wells, Associate Professor of Photography in the School of Art and Design and Mark Rasdorf, Senior Associate Director for the Dr. Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center also presented work at the conference about their collaborative and on-going project, the True Colors Exhibition, a photography exhibit in celebration of LGBTQ History Month. The two have worked together for the past three years planning and implementing this show with students at ECU.


Design Inquiry’s Futurespective Exhibition Opens October 4 at MECA Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, Maine

The Futurespective Exhibition is “a series of installations that rethink the past in the present to point to the future.” The exhibition shows current work of those that have participated in Design Inquiry gatherings and have made work in responses to those experiences.

I had two projects featured in the show: The Experimentations of a Drawing Robot and Wind Drawing Transformations (see video montage below). The exhibition opened on October 4 at MECA Institute of Contemporary Art. The show is open through December 13, 2019.

Some background on the work:
In 2016, Rebecca Tegtmeyer and I presented our research of collaborative drawing robots that foster remote making in the physical space at Design Inquiry, Wildness Weirdness, August 7-13, Bamfield, British Columbia, Canada. During this gathering, Rebecca and I were interested in exploring how nature could act as a mediator in making.

I’m thankful for the experiences and opportunities that have emerged because of my participation with Design Inquiry gatherings. I participated in two Design Inquiries: Stations 2013 and Wildness Weirdness 2016.

The work above (on view in Futurespective) was an evolution of the work completed during the Wildness Weirdness gathering in 2016 to explore nature as a mediator for making. I continued this investigation on the island of Horn Island, MS, May 17-23, 2018 and thereafter as a series of 3D and 4D transformations.

An article from Design Observer about Design Inquiry’s Futurespective:

To learn more about the Futurespective Exhibition, click here:

To learn more about Design Inquiry, visit their website here:

Research Teaching & Student Work

Design Activism and Impact in the Classroom: Presenting at CAA 2019 with Design Incubation Panel in New York

Last month, I presented work at the College Art Association (CAA) 2019 Conference in New York with the Design Incubation panel.

My presentation reviewed a methodology, based on my research and design practice, called the ‘blended perspective’, that merges rigorous social impact assessment (SIA) guidelines from the social sciences with a human-centered design approach to improve methods for assessing social impact as a major outcome of graphic communication design work. It is a model, or process for understanding and measuring social impact that incorporates phases such as identifying social impact objectives, conducting baseline studies, and measuring and monitoring impact.

This methodology in the classroom exposes students who are considering social, economic, political, and/or cultural design agendas in their practice how design activism and action for change can shift design futures in a measurable way.

This presentation also reported on student case studies where this methodology was integrated into the learning objectives of the classroom. In the example cases, students work across different contexts, but otherwise they share a similar goal, which is that they intend to build awareness around a particular issue and foster shifts in behaviors and attitudes. The main learning objective for students is to focus on how to measure “increased awareness and shifts in behaviors.” The learning process highlights theories of cause and effect as well as tools and tactics for measuring and monitoring change.

Photo notes
“Bees are in Danger” by Sydney Evans and Rachel Leslie
“Gender Equality” by Danika Scones

To view the full abstract submission, click here.

Interactive & Motion Research

Motion Design in the Context of Place, a new publication in the book, The Theory & Practice of Motion Design Critical Perspectives and Professional Practice

I am very excited to announce that the chapter, Motion Design in the Context of Place, was published in the book, The Theory and Practice of Motion Design: Critical Perspectives and Professional Practice, 1st Edition, edited by R. Brian Stone and Leah Wahlin, this past summer, July 2018. This chapter was completed in collaboration with colleague, Cotter Christian, Interior Design professor at Parsons, The New School. 

Click here for more details on the book.

The chapter addresses how motion design and place can reshape the way the other is perceived, generating meaning that creates more dynamic experiences between people and their environment.

When motion design is an integrated or applied part of a building, or another spatial environment—interior, exterior, or other, it becomes part of the built environment, adding meaning and potentially, creating a stronger sense of place. Simultaneously, the context of place—the environment, the activity, the interactions that take place within a space become part of the motion work itself. 

This chapter introduces a range of motion design projects to show the versatility of work and methods used in various contexts. Some of the examples discussed include the commercial branding applications of the Union Square Capital One Building in NY, the breath-taking artistic installation projections of URBANSCREEN’s Lighting the Sails on The Sydney Opera House, the dynamic information graphics of the LEED Dynamic Plaque Display, and the interactive generative data visualizations of ESI DESIGN’s Color Play in Terrell Place, DC.