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

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

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.

Teaching & Student Work

Design for Good: Students Work with Shelby County Health Department to Raise Awareness around the Opioid Crisis

Students at the Memphis College of Art designed campaigns for Shelby County Health Department to build awareness around the opioid addiction crisis in our community and help shift attitudes and behaviors around the stigmas of this addiction. Three campaigns were designed with all the campaigns communicating the core message that opioid addiction can happen to any of us.

Students who worked on this project included Bri Gilmer, Kelli Laderer, Sam Maxwell, Amber Stillwell,  Justin Wells, and Anthony Williams. The project was completed in the Design Lab course at MCA, which functions like a design agency where students work collaboratively to design solutions for clients. Contracts and fees are also negotiated and students are paid for their work.

The city awarded the students for exceptional work in design for social change and service to their community. The city plans to implement the campaigns across the state of Tennessee.

The first concept is called “all about the person” and focuses on the people affected by the opioid crisis. Opioid addition crosses many boundaries of age, race, personality-types, and economic status, and affects all types of people. The campaign highlights the range of individuals who may suffer from the addition.

Through the use of photography and hand-written testimonials, the concept confronts the fear of admitting to opioid addition by emphasizing that individuals often hide their disease from their family, friends, and peers.


Opioid Addiction Awareness Campaign Presentation_Page_05

The second concept is called “all about the visibility” and is a typographic solution for the campaign. The hands reach out for the addition (visually represented as pills and needles), but also suggest reaching out for help and support simultaneously.

Other taglines were created including:
“Not all Addiction is Seen, Do not be Invisible”
“Be Visible, Get Help.” and
“Fight the Problem, Not the People.”

opioid-addiction-awareness-campaign-presentation_page_12.jpgOpioid Addiction Awareness Campaign Presentation_Page_13

Opioid Addiction Awareness Campaign Presentation_Page_11The third concept is called “all about the feeling” is an illustrative approach to symbolize the mental state of someone, or someone you know, who is struggling with addiction. The silhouetted figure is encompassed in a prescription bottle to convey the feeling of being trapped and alone. The figure is made entirely of prescription opioids as it has become their new identity.; which unfortunately is the case for many of those affected.opioid-addiction-awareness-campaign-presentation_page_18.jpg



Opioid Addiction Awareness Campaign Presentation_Page_20


Teaching & Student Work

Graphic Design Students work with Loeb Properties to Create Public Art Tour in Overton Square

Loeb Properties has invested in a variety of art installations in Overton Square and would like to highlight these works by creating a public art walking tour. They have approached MCA to work with a team of students to design a “stroll” that celebrates and connects these works together, engaging visitors and activating the outdoor experience of Overton Square.

The Overton Square mission is to create a sustainable, community-driven retail and arts district that celebrates the diverse culture of Memphis. The community is truly authentic, with a rich historical past and dynamic, energetic present. It is more than just a place to shop and eat, it’s a special place, where old friends gather and new friends meet. It’s diverse in nature and heavily influenced by the city’s people, music, art, architecture, and landscape.

The students began working on the project by diving into an in-depth research phase including a review of the community’s past and present culture, a thorough stakeholder analysis and patron interviews, a survey of other existing art tours, among other things. After compiling and sorting this information, the students began to redefine the project goals with more specificity and develop initial concepts for discussion.

Interviews with patrons described the neighborhood as “Midtown’s playground, a day and night carnival, a gathering place with a festival feel,” the “Heart and Soul” of Memphis, “Not a tourist place, it’s a Memphis place.” What the student discovered was that Overton Square was for everyone and so, the art tour should feel inclusive and accessible for all ages, lifestyles, and demographics.  

About the Lab:

The Design Laboratory provides opportunities for students to work with existing organizations, both non-profit and for-profit, allowing students to obtain real world experience in the field of design. Functioning like a design agency, this course develops students’ interdisciplinary design and collaboration skills, examines agency roles in team-driven work, and develops project management skills, all critical skill sets in the profession.

Some of the final work included outdoor vinyl banners, a wayfinding map (in brochure format and outdoor directory format), a children’s activity book, color-in postcards, as well as a collateral package for all the businesses in the square.

In the press:

Memphis Daily News: MCA Students Design Overton Square Art Map

The Commercial Appeal: Art-filled Overton Square creates maps for self-guided tours

Teaching & Student Work

Portfolio review showcasing the B.F.A graphic design program at Memphis College of Art

In the fall of 2015, design faculty successfully introduced the new B.F.A. major in graphic design. The new program incorporates concepts of human-centered design, design process and implications, design research and strategy, UI/UX design, interactive media, motion, and web.


Teaching & Student Work

The Intersections of Typography, part 2

The second annual exhibition of the Intersections of Typography opened at Memphis College of Art in January. Students across many disciplines showcased work that highlighted typography as art form in 2D, 3D, analog and digital formats. The exhibition ran until February 2016 in the Lower Gallery of Rust Hall.

All photography by Natalie Schuh.

Research Teaching & Student Work

Clothing, Food, Shelter: An exploration of identity, place, and change

Clothing Food Shelter is a collaborative design research project between departments at the New York City College of Technology of The City University of New York in Brooklyn and the Memphis College of Art in Memphis, Tennessee conducted in the spring semester of 2015.

Eight students, four from each institution, acted as research assistants for design researchers, Dan Wong, Associate Professor of Communication Design at CityTech, CUNY and Cat Normoyle, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at MCA, in their design research as it affects different parts of the country.

The goals of this project were to connect design researchers and students from diverse backgrounds and locations by sharing personal stories, ideas, experiences, musings, fears, and challenges within the broad context of change and place. The first phase of this project was an investigation of the similarities and differences between the living experiences of those in Brooklyn and Memphis. While both cities are large compared to the surrounding locales, there are many micro-community experiences in each. We examined a variety of topics in each location, including things like business and commerce, history and tradition, change and challenges, and beauty and ugly as it relates to each locale.

The student research assistants used their developing skills in the areas of communication and graphic design, storytelling, branding, and marketing to find the commonalities and differences between each community’s experiences and created works in response. Over the course of the semester, students produced a range of designs from t-shirts, postcards, and posters to video, supergraphics, and photography.

Student work samples: