MGD Bulletin 2017

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2017 Master of Graphic Design Department of Graphic Design and Industrial Design College of Design NC State University




2017 Master of Graphic Design Department of Graphic Design and Industrial Design College of Design NC State University

Raleigh | North Carolina June 15, 2017

A Year in the Making (and Thinking, and...) Planning for the MGD graduate publication series began in Spring, 2016, and involved faculty, graduate students, and alumni. The first in the series to be realized, Yes And—an online publishing venue developed and maintained by all current graduate students—launched in Fall, 2016. The second online venue, And So: Graduate Journal of Graphic Design, published its first issue in May, 2017. And So, curated by three student editors who are selected through a competitive process, brings graduate student and recent alumni essays and projects together under a relevant theme. The third publication in the series, this MGD Bulletin, culls writing and design from Yes And, from studio projects and final thesis work accomplished during the current academic year, and from recent and ongoing faculty research, scholarship, and creative production. Five categories prompt MGD publication content: “Now Now Research,” “Invested Research,” “We Network,” “Incidentals,” and “Yer Hubness.” A digest of the latter two categories are presented in the next two pages—musings and experiences posted on the Yes And blog. The other categories constitute the three sections of the Bulletin. Collectively, all publications aim to reveal the breadth and depth of MGD faculty and student inquiries, activity, passions. The work included here reflects just some of the making and thinking and etc. that goes on. The topics we explore, the investigations we conduct by design, through design, and for design, always evolve in response to contemporary concerns and in anticipation of future opportunities.



Denise Gonzales Crisp, Professor and Director of the Graduate Program

Yes And... What am I afraid of? Krithika Sathyamurthy

When I matriculated at NC State last semester, I took several steps to help myself transition from being a full-time artist to a graphic design masters student. In the past, I found that I had access to a well of ideas as long as I continued to produce something, anything. Last semester, however, this well started feeling more like an endless drought. What helped me overcome this drought was becoming fearless and working through my ideas. I didn’t care so much about failing or creating the best work—I simply wanted to learn. Additionally, I began to understand that creativity is as essential in graphic design as it is in fine arts. I needed to take multiple bits of information, often conflicting, and find ways to piece everything together. I think not only as artists, but as people, when we are moving into a new direction, we instill doubts in ourselves. I’ve recently started asking myself, what exactly am I afraid of? Am I afraid that I won’t be able to create great work? Am I afraid that people are not going to quite understand my work? Am I afraid to find out that my ideas are unworthy? I feel sometimes we get blocked even before we allow ourselves to imagine what we want to create — and this applies to any field. So I will leave everyone to reflect on the following questions:

What if we judged our thoughts less? What if we detached from this high level of self-criticism? I wonder how many ultimately worthy, interesting, and creative projects we would allow ourselves to work on if we were less critical.

Can you tell we cheated? Mac Hill

To better understand systemized methods of design, we did one of the activities from the “Conditional Design Workbook” (check out for some of the activities). We found that some designers can follow instructions better than others.

Can you tell where we cheated?

I see the light Amber Ingram

During the holiday break my family and I ventured to Cary, North Carolina, to see the annual Chinese Lantern Festival held at the Booth Amphitheatre.

The lanterns on display were absolutely incredible. According to the tour guide, all of the lanterns that were displayed were actually created and assembled (sewn together), in Cary as well.

MGD Bulletin 2017

The craftsmanship involved in the making of the lanterns is pretty spectacular when you see them up close (pictures do not do them justice). According to the site, each display holds hundreds of parts and thousands of LED lights. Unfortunately the festival is only held for around three months during the winter. So next year grab a coffee and go check out the lights at night!

Activity Theory + feline identity April Maclaga

Since learning about Activity Theory, I’ve fallen prone to the BaaderMeinhof Phenomenon (frequency illusion), and I’m seeing traces of AT everywhere. When we adopted two abandoned kittens last spring, we named them Calliope and Cane. They were black, five weeks old and virtually identical. We named the vocal girl after the instrument, and the purring boy after the Hurricanes hockey team. We soon learned that Cane was the vocal one, and Calliope the purr factory. And that Cane was a girl. This last one prompted us to try to rename Cane to a more girly sounding name (Candy Cane? Sugar Cane? Kay?), but the damage had been done and we couldn’t shake the name or the male pronouns we used. After a silly mispronunciation one day, we started calling Calliope ‘Callio-pie’ (like the dessert), then ‘pie-pie,’ or just ‘pie.’ Similarly, it happened through some garbled


language that Cane became dubbed ‘nu-nu’ or ‘nu.’ Now we simply call them Pi and Nu. Is it Activity Theory? With the kitties, our past experiences and motives (must name pets), perceptions (gender, sensory input), and reasoning (something to tell them apart) shaped the initial objects (names). Names became reshaped by new knowledge (oops, not a boy), circumstantial use (misspoken language), and knowledge from other domains (Greek alphabet). Through use, the kitty names changed, but still refer to the same things, and are used for the same purpose. Our interactions with the objects remain the same, as do the forms. So what changed? Incidentally, when we use Cane’s new nickname, Nu, we no longer think her as a boy and we automatically use the correct pronouns for her. Something about the modified object affected our interaction. Could it be AT in action?

Sorry, you can’t unmelt time Grace Anne Foca

Last summer I went to an exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

“Standing Julian,” made by Urs Fischer, is an eight-foot tall wax figure of a man, towering over observers as they walk through the exhibit. What some, but not all, noticed was that the man was literally being destroyed as we observed. Inside the head was a very small candle burning, melting

the wax man before our eyes. It is one thing to say that nothing is permanent, but to see a certain beauty being destroyed and realizing that if you visited the museum in two weeks the sculpture would be only of feet. Time never stops, and we cross paths with things as time is moving. What those things were five minutes before interacting with them, we will never know. People who have seen the sculpture will talk about it to friends, recommending the exhibit, but those friends will never see the same wax man that the people recommended visiting. No one sees things in the same way or in the same moment of time because a moment is just a fraction of a second that can never be recovered.

someone $200 to plane and join a live edge wood table for my dining room. Would have been nice to know I’d have access to such materials not even a year later, right?! I digress. Anyway, it’s oppor­ tunities like these that make me so grateful for my time at NC State so far. It’s vastly different than my undergraduate experience. I truly hope I can make good use of the Materials Lab in the next year. Also, shout out to the lab staff for the slightly hilarious and incredibly morbid orientation for each piece of equipment. On top of knowing how to use each one, I also know how it can potentially remove one of my limbs. In great detail.

Destination: the College Materials Lab

Mac Hill

Intrusion! Giant bunnies!!

you show the sculptures here and rabbits haven’t caused the same kind of problems? How do artists deal with different cultural attitudes toward their subjects? Can art really inspire the same thoughts across different cultures? Maybe this show didn’t have me thinking about the contradictions of rabbits, but it definitely had me thinking.

Mini cows are a thing Alexandra Grossi

I never thought my research in design would lead to the discovery of mini cows, but it did and I am a much happier person for it. What started as an idea for how pet cows could create empathy in meat eaters to be willing to try a non harmful method of meat production ended in dreams of owning my very own teacup bovine.

Bree McMahon

In a land not so far away is a magical place called the Materials Lab. It’s pretty neat, if you’re into that kind of thing (which I am). We have access to a Laser cutter, which can cut and engrave into materials like wood, paper, foamcore, plexiglass, and even cloth. Equipment like this I know will come in handy for Type IV class.

The materials lab itself has a ton of equipment, including but not limited to saws, drill presses, sanders and a jointer. I don’t mean to sound salty BUT last year I paid

This fall, the North Carolina Museum of Art hosted Amanda Parer’s giant rabbit sculptures, called Intrude. I got to go to the last night of the show. They were a really interesting experience, but they definitely left me wondering. The artist is Australian, where rabbits are an invasive species, so sculptures of giant rabbits have a different meaning there than they do here. In her artist’s statement, Parer calls the rabbit “an animal of contradiction,” but does that get lost when


I now harbor fantasies of owning a miniature farm complete with smaller versions of cows, pigs and horses. Wait, are there miniature chickens? Excuse me while I head over to Google…

Inside the center of the universe Mac Hill

Over break I got to visit a friend who works at the Google office in San Francisco. I’ve heard so much about Google and what it’s like to work there that I thought I’d share some of my observations:

Incidentals / Yer Hubness

1)  Google San Francisco is surprisingly hidden (we almost couldn’t find it). 2)  It has amazing views! 3)  There’s a secret room! I was wasn’t really sure why we were going into a broom closet, but I was pleasantly surprised. 4)  Pictures are only allowed in specific areas (hence the lack of photos).

5)  There is food everywhere! But it’s all healthy. Even the dessert table in the cafeteria was hard to find. 6)  All the food is free! Even for guests. Some of us might have taken advantage of that… 7)  They provide every­ thing; gym, doctors, food. You really don’t have any reason to leave, except maybe to sleep. Great perks? Or just tricking you into working longer? 8)  There are weird GIFs from music videos playing in the cafeteria. I never got an explanation as to why. Someone thought it might be some weird experiment. 9)  There’s a photo booth that will email your photos to you. 10)  They have amazing chocolate chip cookies in the cafeteria. I swear I ate like 5. 11)  There are no Oompa Loompas. Makes me wonder what the office in Mountain View is like? I hear there’s a ball pit.

> yesand/



Incidentally CHEATING

MGD Bulletin 2017



NOW NOW RESEARCH Student and faculty investigations captured at moments during the process. In-progress advancements and reflections.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics Data Stories Deb Littlejohn, PhD, Assistant Professor — Graduate studio project, designed by Littlejohn and co-taught with Matthew Peterson.

Above: Student video playing in NC State’s Hunt Library Immersion Theatre. Clément Bordas, design lead.

Centuries before “Big Data,” information visualization was mostly a tool for inquiry and documentation—its trust (and its authority) comes from being grounded in the scientific process. As physical forms meant to represent abstract concepts, however, all visualizations lie. Perhaps Mark Twain (quoting Prime Minister Disreaeli) put it best: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” The purpose of the Data Stories project is to understand the relationship between form and abstract information (i.e., data). This relationship has recently come to the forefront in our Big Data–driven world, where traditional statistical approaches to visualization break down in the face of data that is large in scale and multidimensional in nature.

Project Description: Find two (or more) disparate data sets relating to North Carolina, each from different sources and taking different metrics. Find an imaginary—even ridiculous (but plausible)—correlation in your chosen data. Create a series of data mashups that combine both datasets into one form. These visualizations should explore spatial properties of the data in 2D, 3D, and 4D, and highlight your argument for the false correlation. The ultimate goal of the project is to reveal the lie in your data by telling a compelling (visual) story. >

MGD Bulletin 2017


Presidential Campaign Ads Cause Insanity (duh) 10/21/17

Datasets: Presidential Campaign Television Advertisements Ă— Police Incidents that Resulted in Mental Commitment Through this project I was interested in exploring how a reader can data visualizations. I began 1 0 /be 2 1 made / 1 7 Taware O 1 0 / of 3 1 misleading /17 RALE I G Hquestion: , N O R T H By C Awhat R O L I means NA with the can a graphic designer make PRESIDENT I A L visualizations C A M P A I G N T Vexplicit A D S Bto Y users, T O P I C resulting in misleading data POLICE INCIDENTS RESULTING IN MENTAL COMMITMENT increased informational comprehension?







Candidate Information


Domestic Affairs


Foreign Affairs + National Security



Economic Affairs + Government Regulations

Candidate Information

Domestic Affairs


Rachael Paine, MGD 2018 (expected)




foreign policy women







POLITICAL veterans



civil rights legal issues immigration candidate biography

children bipartisanship







economy gays + lesbians crime criminal justice military


































I followed a systematic process. Each data set was dissected into all possible variables. For data set #1, each incident could be viewed by date, time of day, and region within the geographic location. Data set #2 had an extensive range of variables. Each incident could be viewed by date, time of day, channel and show type in which the ad aired; as well as ad topic, whether it was pro or con, which candidate it favored, and how the ad was financed. I compared the time and date of police incidents with the time and date of campaign ads for my visualizations. I further explored factors for data set #2 including candidate, ad topic, and pro/con themes.


Now Now Research

















I began to vigorously chart each data set separately, addressing as many variables as possible. These charts were layered to find correlations visually. A clear correlation appeared: When more presidential ad campaigns play on television, more occurrences of police incidents result in mental commitment. Thus, the lie was born—presidential campaign ads make people go crazy! Duh. I then set forth to find interesting ways to visualize this information. One candidate aired about three times the amount of ads as the other, which clearly lent itself to placing the blame for the correlation on that candidate (p. 7, top). Personally, I was cool with that lie, as it favored my political preference. But both candidates followed the same trajectory of ad air date and time. It became apparent that either party, Republican or Democrat, could use this same data to argue in their favor… to the detriment of the other candidate. Hhhhmmmm, interesting. Or perhaps another “duh” moment. I kept questioning my intent. My discomfort with partici­ pating in the lying (in particular, the choice to lie in favor of my political preference) led me to a conclusion. Data can become a lie when it is delivered through the designer’s or stakeholder’s lens. Neutrality is dismissed and the information can become blurred and confusing. Likewise, the lens through which a reader sees the world is the lens through which they seek out, receive, and interpret information, including data. Moving forward with the considerations of both designer and reader bias, I produced an interactive visual metaphor to tell the story that information (i.e. data) can become a lie when delivered or received through a narrow lens. Politics clearly afforded this metaphor. I designed a visualization that could be viewed through a Republican (red) filter or a Democratic (blue) filter (p. 7, inset). The lens through which the visualizations are viewed determines the information the viewer receives. For the interactive presentation, each viewer was handed a pair of red-tinted glasses and blue-tinted glasses. So the shifting lie emerges. When viewing as a Republican, clearly Hillary Clinton is causing this uptick in mental commitments. When viewing as a Democrat, clearly Donald Trump is at fault. So which is it? Who really knows?—because it’s all a lie. As a visual communicator, I reflect on my responsibility to understand how my personal schema, understanding, experience, and self-identity serve as a bias for how I present information to the world. I also must keep in mind the bias of the reader. How might this understanding allow for neutral communication resulting in increased informational self-determination for the reader / user? MGD Bulletin 2017















Rain Ruins Relationships Datasets: North Carolina Weather Data, 2015 × North Carolina Marriage and Divorce Rates, 2015. I started this project by searching online for an intriguing dataset. Generally, I am interested in social issues so I focused on subjects like race, gender, age, and economic status. Eventually this search led me to a dataset detailing marriage and divorce rates, arranged by county, which intrigued me further. I wondered how area and region could potentially affect a viewer’s perspective. I then searched for a dataset that was also arranged by county. Randomly I thought, “I wonder what precipitation looks like in North Carolina?” From there, locating the right dataset was simple. My time spent on this project was very evenly split between data cleaning and designing. I learned quite a bit about working with data, and Microsoft Excel software. I spent much of my time manipulating the data to “do what I want.” This included merging the Divorce / Marriage rate into a singular “Success Rate,” utilizing z-scores to manage numbers, and considering standard deviation differences. North Carolina has 100 counties so the numbers were vast and tedious. But the outliers intrigued me. I decided to eliminate all average counties, or ones with z-scores nearest zero in both sets, which left me with half of the data. 9

Now Now Research

Bree McMahon, MGD 2018 (expected)


















MGD Bulletin 2017


Once this was completed, a trend emerged: the more precipitation a county recorded, the higher its Marital Success Rate. Furthermore, this trend was present in all four regions of North Carolina: Inner Coastal Plains, Mountains, Piedmont, and Tidewater. While I was cleaning my data, I frequently used conditional formatting to quickly visualize emerging trends. The gradients produced by the Excel formatting presets were helpful, and often beautiful (at least to a designer). Traditionally, linking color to data can be difficult, but it was used as inspiration for my first visualization. Generally, in data, color will move from light to dark. Lighter tints may indicate low values, and darker tints might represent higher numbers. I flipped this standard to further confuse the viewer. I also used subtle gradients and various vibrant hues for each region, aiming to distract. Since I was also considering region in my data, I decided to map the outliers, hoping to spot another trend. Interestingly, each region had around three or four rule-breakers, mostly located near the state borders. I’m sure there’s a conspiracy. My first visualization was colorfully confusing, so I wanted to create something that made it easy for a viewer to compare data sets (and draw the “correct” conclusion). I created various graphs based on bar charts representing Precipitation and Marital Success for each region. I converted the graphs to 3D shapes. The 3D aspect allowed a viewer to analyze the shapes from any angle, and appreciate the “obvious” trend (below). For me, this project demonstrated just how easy it is to manipulate data while maintaining some semblance of truth, or half-truths. You can design with deceit, but you can also use math and reasoning to let the numbers do the lying. I also learned, don’t get married in Wayne County.


Now Now Research

MGD Bulletin 2017


Powerball Preys on the Poor Datasets: North Carolina Powerball Ticket Sales by Drawing, 2014–2016 × North Carolina Average Monthly Wages, 2014–2016 I found this project incredibly relevant to this moment in culture. While we were lying with data, the Oxford Dictionaries declared “post-truth” the word of the year for 2016, and somehow alternative facts became a real problem in American society. As a designer, it was interesting to explore my power over a viewer’s interpretation and what is true about a dataset. I chose datasets with meanings that interested me, rather than ones with visual similarities. This meant I had little existing similarities to work with and that pushed me to play with the data statistically. I found that playing with averages made it easier to see patterns and relationships between the two datasets. Early in the year, Powerball sales spike, while average income is at its lowest point, a pattern I exaggerated to suggest a negative correlation. Averaging also adds to the deception of the visualizations and gave me greater power to play with meaning. ...I played with forms associated with the lottery, specifically the lined-up circles on a ticket and the numbered balls from drawings. ... In a more elaborate visualization, I combined round shapes and a ticket-like layout with a Sankey diagram. By representing each individual drawing for the three years my data set covered, the visualization overwhelms the viewer with unnecessary information. Both the drawing breakdown and Sankey diagram place January and February at the top, suggesting that they have the highest values, while December looks like the smallest (it’s not) because it’s at the bottom. The jackpot color scale adds a level of complexity to it, making it even more difficult for the viewer to spot the lie. Moving into 3D, I continued to play with round shapes, but added a reflective texture and helix shape that distort the presentation of the data (left). The structure makes it difficult to compare the data points side by side and the reflective texture amplifies the differences between the data points. Overall, the project instilled in me a sense of responsibility. As a designer I have to consider how my aesthetic choices can affect the viewer’s interpretations, and choose carefully.


Now Now Research

Mac Hill, MGD 2018 (expected)

Experiencing Food, Designing Dialogues Understanding Food Systems Using Design Methods: A Graduate Course and Its Unanticipated Results Denise Gonzales Crisp, Professor — Abstract for a paper accepted into the 1st Annual Food and Design Conference presentations and proceedings, Lisbon, Portugal, October, 2017.

I teach a graphic design graduate studio course meant to expose and sensitize students to the cognitive complexities and contexts of the people for whom we design. This last fall the subject matter was food systems. Relevant to the Experiencing Food, Designing Dialogues conference, students discovered through research and investigations that design methodologies and frameworks are useful for building understanding amongst producers and consumers in a variety of circumstances. In other words, these methods and processes help build “awareness towards new lifestyles and innovative approaches to food.” I initiated the course with mapping methods. Students collaboratively created concept maps to explore and understand food systems writ large—vendor systems, shopping experiences, and distribution systems. From this research, students identified design opportunities, conducted interviews with and observed specific people, then devised “experience maps,” which explored: 1) ways that people who negotiate these systems might gain greater agency; and 2) communication between suppliers and consumers toward greater awareness. Following this work, students studied activity and schema theories as presented in texts including Acting with Technology: Activity Theory and Interaction Design (V. Kaptelinin, B. Nardi 2006), and other sources. Students individually isolated a node discovered in the initial research and, applying these theories as frameworks, considered and designed speculative artifacts— everyday “things” found in food-related contexts and a range of situations. Students anticipated people’s motives, perceptions, emotions, and ways of reasoning that inform encounters with and uses of designed artifacts. Students then evolved MGD Bulletin 2017

14 to to DIY Invitro Meat Methods

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Kale Protein






STEM CELL TYPE Myosatellite cells DATE PROCESSED Sept. 29,2016 TIME GROWN Nine weeks EXPIRATION DATE Nov. 15, 2016


Clockwise from top: Taste Decision Interface, Rachael Paine; In-vitro meat schema exploration (domestic print), Bree McMahon; Educational biodiversity website, ClĂŠment Bordas; In-vitro Meat schema exploration, Dajana Nedic.

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Now Now Research

meat your inner beauty

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Above: The subject is a person with a newly diagnosed corn allergy. Location is a fresh format grocery store like Whole Foods. Activity is cereal shopping. Goal is, using reference materials, to find a cereal that is corn / corn-­derivative free. Research Method is observation and interview. The reader is an older sibling of the subject. Project Team: Luis Zapata, Rachael Paine, and Tori Jordan.

the artifacts to study ways that design can shift biases and ultimately alter people’s—purveyors, shoppers, manufacturers, and distributors—experiences. Perhaps most germane to the conference topic are a series of short projects accomplished over six weeks wherein students ventured a range of visual schemas to introduce, if not normalize, cultured (in-vitro) meat consumption. Students positioned their design investigations within the “Audience Receptivity Gradient” as theorized by David Rose, MIT Media Lab Visiting Scientist. The designs and concepts intended to move users from either “ready to know” to “knows facts,” from “knows facts” to “accepts ideas,” or from “accepts ideas” to “acts on opinion.” Students became quite aware of and knowledgeable about the influence that designed “things” can have on people’s apprehension and acceptance of food sources, nutrition facts and lore, etc. Through this process we became immersed in all things food: food allergies, culinary innovation, farming practices, manufacturing, the impact of livestock (ultimately food) on the environment, farm waste, fast food. The research methods and design explorations culminated in a graduate level body of work that, through design, connected students to the subject of food systems quite deeply. This paper presents the course syllabus, discusses the teaching methods and the frameworks, and features the surprising outcomes that not only became significant food for thought, but also proved that design methods are tools that can bring people together toward mutual education, and that can prompt open dialogue, collaboration, and evolutionary practices.  MGD Bulletin 2017



When you pick up a product, I learn which ingredients you care about.

I am a Food Ring and I am here to help make food shopping faster. >


I glow green to show you that I am listening.

Over time, I create a food profile based on the foods that you compare and choose. >


Above: “FoodRing” concept, April Maclaga. Left: Hydroponic farm in a supermarket setting (360°), Amber Ingram.


Now Now Research

MGD Bulletin 2017





In-vitro meat schema studies. Opposite page and top: Clément Bordas. Left: Mac Hill. Below: Grace Wonaphotimuke.


The Experience of Taste Taste is an experience that goes beyond what we experience when food hits our tongue. The way we perceive flavor also has to do with our other four senses. Something as simple as the volume or pitch of the sounds chewing makes can change our we perceive food. In vitro meat is often seen as less that real meat, but watch what happens when sound is introduced into the experience….

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EN U Available for order atMthe counter

Available for order at the counter

Mammoth steak..………………………………………$20.99 Mammoth steak..………………………………………$20.99

burger (mammoth meat) with two sides.………$16.79 Cheese burger Cheese (mammoth meat) with two sides.………$16.79 Side options: fries, hash browns, Side options: fries, hash browns, caesar salad, coleslaw, signature caesar salad, coleslaw, coleslaw. signature coleslaw. Spaghetti with Mammoth Meatballs……………….…..$15.59

Spaghetti with Mammoth Meatballs……………….…..$15.59


Now Now Research


Grad students conducted a workshop that collected all work created during the semester into one place. The process (not unlike “We’ll Take the

MGD Bulletin 2017


Ceiling,” cf. p. 38) was a means of deciding what to propose for their exhibition submission to the Food and Design conference in Lisbon.

What happens when you and peers spend an entire semester thinking, talking, and dreaming about [things like] in-vitro meat, aka IVM? Well, a few things happen. For one, you ask a bunch of questions like “What makes meat, you know, meat?” And “Is in-vitro meat made by robots?” After you’ve attempted to answer some of those questions, you dive into ideating about introducing IVM to consumers. You do things like imagine meat in an IV to see if that form of consumption is a smart approach (you would be surprised). Finally, when you have a million and two point five ideas, you submit all of your material to an international food conference in Lisbon, Portugal. Just when you forget that you’ve submitted anything at all because the days have blurred together ... you get an email that says “We are glad to inform you that the Scientific Committee has accepted [your proposal] for the 1st International Food Design and Food Studies Conference, Experiencing Food, Designing Dialogues, exhibition.” A squeal of joy ensues and before you know it you’re booking a flight to Portugal without checking your schedule. All in all, sharing ideas about the possible future of in-vitro meat did not just make us all a bit uncomfortable, it led us to help create dialogue about future food production.


Now Now Research

Yes And post, Dajana Nedic. “Chit Chattin’ ’bout Chops.”

Lupton, Ellen, and J. Abbott. Miller. Design, Writing, Research: Writing on Graphic Design. New York: Kiosk, 1996. Print.

Foss, Sonja K. “Framing the Study of Visual Rhetoric: Toward a Transformation of Rhetorical Theory.” Defining Visual Rhetorics. Ed. Charles A.

Visual Rhetoric

Hill and Marguerite H. Helmers. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2004. 303–13. Print.

Van Rompay, Thomas J. L., and Geke D. S. Ludden. “Types of Embodiment in Design: The Embodied Foundations of Meaning and Affect in Product Design.” International Journal

Atzmon, Leslie. “Visual Rhetoric and the Special Eloquence of Vis Form.” Wonderground

Papers. Proc. of 2006 Des Research Society International Conference Lisbon, Lisbon. N.p.: IADE n.d. 1–9. Web. 3 Dec. 2015

Gibson, James J. The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1979. Print.

of Design 9.1 (2015): 1–11. Web.

Literature Maps, and Why DesignEmbodied Researchers Cognition Need Them

Norman, Don. “Emotion & Design: Attractive Things Work Better.” Interactions 9.4 (2002): 36–42. Web.

Final Project Research Exercise Deb Littlejohn, PhD, Associate Professor, and Sharon Joines, PhD, Professor, Industrial Design

Antle, Alissa N., Greg Corness, and Milena Droumeva. “What the Body Knows: Exploring the Benefits of Embodied Metaphors in Hybrid Physical Digital Environments.”

Lakoff, George, and Mark Johnson. Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: U of Chicago,

MGD graduate students write literature reviews to synthesize published infor-mation relating to their selected topics of study in their final year. These Organizational reviews are the foundation of research proposals for the Models final thesis project. The visual manifestion of the reviews is the “Literature Map,” which provides a snapshot of many different concepts, topics, and themes found in the literature and visualizes their relationship. Literature reviews help design researchers justify reasons for conducting design studies and to establish the studies’ importance to the design field. They also help to situate the proposal. Additionally, the map positions the literature within the perspective of the areas of interest. The researcher’s presentation and synthesis of existing scholarship is by definition critical. Based on his/her interpretation of the literature, the reviews present and position any number Architecture of possible questions. Not all questions raised are addressed in the final work. The design researcher determines which sources are important to the study, a process that helps to narrow the topic area. For example, the literature map shown here, created by Scott Reinhard (MGD 2016), reveals several areas of possible focus. The map helped him Humanidentify the nexus of interaction design, Computer pragmatic aesthetics, and interaction gestalt, Interactions which became the topic of his final project investigations. 1980. Print.

Interacting with Computers 21.1–2 (2009): 66–75. Web.

Cross, Nigel. “Designerly Ways of Knowing.” Design

Studies 3.4 (1982): 221–27. Web.

Alexander, Christopher, Sara Ishikawa, and Murray Silverstein. A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction. New

Venturi, Robert, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour. Learning from Las Vegas: The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1977. Print.

Lynch, Kevin. The Image of the City. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1960. Print.

York: Oxford UP, 1977. Print.

O’Gorman, James F. ABC of Architecture.

Kyes, Zak, and Mark Owens. Forms of Inquiry: The Architecture of Critical Graphic Design. London:

Philadelphia, PA: U of Pennsylvnia, 1998. Print.

Architectural Association, 2007. Print.

Nelson, Theodor H. Computer Lib: You Can and Must Understand Computers Now.

Chicago: Nelson, 1974. Print.

MGD Bulletin 2017


Ozenc, Fatih Miso Kim, Joh Zimmerman, S Oney, and Br “How to Sup Designers in Hold of the Immaterial M of Software

Proceedings of th International Con Human Factors in C Systems - CHI ‘10 Web.

Martin, Bella. Universal Methods of Design : 100 Ways to Research Complex Problems, Develop Innovative Ideas, and Design Effective Solutions.


Rockport Publishers, 2012. Print.

Norman, Donald A. The Design of Everyday Things. London: MIT, 1998. Print.

Dreyfuss, Henry. Designing for People. New York:

Simon and Schuster, 1955. Print.


Interaction Design



e in E, 5.

Bruinsma, Max. Deep Sites: Intelligent Innovation in Contemporary Web Design. London: Thames & Hudson, 2003. Print.

Norman, Donald. “Introduction to This Special Section on Beauty, Goodness, and Usability.” Human-Comp.

Atzmon, Leslie. Visual Rhetoric and the Eloquence of Design. Anderson, SC:

Djajadiningrat, Tom, Stephan Wensveen, Joep Frens, and Kees Overbeeke. “Tangible Products: Redressing the Balance between Appearance and Action.”

Interaction HHCI HumanComputer Interaction 19.4 (2004): 311–18. Web.

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Dourish, Paul. Where the Action Is: The Foundations of Embodied Interaction.

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Hashim, Wan Norizan Wan, Nor Laila Md Noor, and Wan Adilah Wan Adnan. “The Design of Aesthetic Interaction: Towards a Graceful Interaction Framework.” Proceedings of the

Janlert, Lars-Erik, and Erik Stolterman. “The Character of Things.” Design Studies 18.3 (1997): 297–314. Web.

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Hummels, Caroline, Kees C. J. Overbeeke, and Sietske Klooster. “Move to Get Moved: A Search for Methods, Tools and Knowledge to Design for Expressive and Rich Movement-based Interaction.” Pers Ubiquit Comput

Frens, Joep. “Designing for Rich Interaction: Integrating Form, Interaction, and Function.”.” Proceedings


of the 3RD Symposium of Design Research: Drawing New Territories,. Zurich, Switzerland. N.p.: Swiss Design Network, 2006. 91–109. Print.

Petersen, Marianne Graves, Ole Sejer Iversen, Peter Gall Krogh, and Martin Ludvigsen. “Aesthetic Interaction: A Pragmatist’s Aesthetics of Interactive Systems.” Proceedings of the

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Van Campenhout, Lukas, Joep Frens, Kees Overbeeke, Achiel Standaert, and Herbert Peremans. “Physical Interaction in a Dematerialized World.” International

Löwgren, Jonas, and Erik Stolterman. Thoughtful Interaction Design: A Design Perspective on Information Technology.

Löwgren, Jonas. “Pliability As An Experiential Quality: Exploring The Aesthetics Of Interaction Design.” Artifact 1.2

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Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2004. Print.

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Eikenes, Jon Olav H., and Andrew Morrison. “Navimation: Exploring Time, Space & Motion in the Design of Screen-Based Interfaces.” International

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Now Now Research

“We’ll Take the Ceiling,” A Real-Time Exhibit Testing the Viability and Value of Visible Dialogue at a Design Conference Denise Gonzales Crisp, Professor, with Benjamin Van Dyke, Associate Professor, Michigan State University — AIGA Design Educator’s Conference, Frontier, Montana State University, October, 2016.

Above: Panorama image of the installation in progress. Opposite: Detail of the installation. Insets: Notes written during the workshop and conferee statements recorded during the conference, transcribed for the installation.

Spontaneous curation is a form of improvisation: unrehearsed, imaginative, and pertinent reaction to a set of circumstances. The exhibit evolved over the conference duration, two days. Our framework allowed us to absorb and reassemble themes and topics through situated creation. This “open source” model of discovery, knowledge, and artefact generation invited attendee participation, resulting in collective insights into, and implied next steps for, pursuing the topic at hand—in this case, the “Frontier” of (graphic) design education. Such performative activity is not typically understood as a design process. However, we posit that it should be. Spontaneous curation functions as an overt act of information gathering. More critically, the method disrupts more practical methods that lead to “design solutions.” By committing to the liminal space of process, this “method” aims to identify design paths that only surface in the moment of production. The method also explicitly foregrounds the act of interpretation and encourages in situ review and display of conference themes created by attendees, including ourselves. Participant notes became the stuff of typographic artefacts. Conference detritus added to the narrative. We solicited, staged, and recorded discussion. In future, and with more time, we can forsee hosting pop-up workshops, prototyping sit-ins, or even a cookie exchange, if pertinent. Anything is possible. We retool the exhibition space to serve as a site of action, discussion, and conspicuous reflection.

MGD Bulletin 2017


Structuring discourse around a wrecking ball. But what are we wrecking? Have design educators articulated what needs to be countered?

Decisions about new disciplines and areas of study are moving faster than faculty can respond with curricula.

Appling peer-to-peer learning to educatotors. Crucial conversations will emerge as the conference goes on.

Appling peer-to-peer learning to educatotors. Crucial conversations will emerge as the conference goes on.


As academics, aren’t we already nonnormative

Now Now Research

Yes And… Now Now Research 2016/17 Posts from the MGD Student Blog Shadrick Addy February 25, 2017 8:31 am

A visual language rooted in history & culture. During my undergraduate studies, I attempted to create visual design that would give voice to the continent of Afrika. I never considered the possibility of allowing Afrika to give voice to my design practice. I knew, being born in Liberia, that Afrika has a rich culture and traditions rooted in dance and music. I had however never associated my beloved homeland with typography, graphic design, or any other visual language system. Last semester, I came across a TED Talk by Saki Mafundikwa entitled “Ingenuity and Elegance in Ancient African Alphabets.” He discusses the founding of ZIVA, Zimbabwe’s first graphic design institute, and his aspiration to help create “a visual language for Afrika rooted in Afrikan heritage.” As I watched, I couldn’t be still. It was as if I had stumbled upon a pot of gold. Typography exists in Afrika? I immediately began researching the subject in hopes of finding additional resources. My research led me to another of Mafundikwa’s works, the publication Afrikan Alphabets: The Story of Writing in Afrika, which documents over 20 years of his research on the topic. An MIT Journal essay by Piers Carey, Head of the Department of Visual Communication Design, Durban University of Technology in South Africa, revealed that Mafundikwa is only one of many advocates championing a movement to create a visual identity for Afrika rooted in her history and culture. I contacted Dr. Carey seeking additional resources as I pursue my newly found interest in Afrikan typography and visual languages.

MGD Bulletin 2017


Ephemerality is control. Ephemerality and persistence exist together in our digital universe. On one hand we are deeply attached to the notion of permanence, durability, and collection as a way to keep what we hold sacred safe. However, the permanent nature of our digital archive threatens our ability to control our private digital content. Through its temporality and impermanence, ephemeral digital content serves as a mechanism for regaining control over our digital selves. Designed ephemerality has the potential to create safe environments that encourage user contribution and participation while centering us “in the now.” Consequently, ephemeral digital environments allow us to act and interact more freely as social creatures in the digital realm without the burden of permanence.

We are as gods. Before I can continue with this post… I need to apologize to the universe for being a spoiled little b*tch. Sorry if that offends anyone, but seriously, my current research on the birth of hacker culture, politics of programming, tinkering, and mass making has left me … Mind Blown. As a creature driven by curiosity, discovery, and exploration, I’ve been completely unaware of the affordances of living in this age of technological innovation. My recent reading has given me an immense appreciation for the fact that this culture of hacking, making, caring, and sharing has not always existed. Oh, how I have taken so much for granted! The work of preceding “network entrepreneurs” has made accessible the means to pursue knowledge… which is my fundamental reason for living (or, if this sounds too extreme, for my pursuits as a designer). Admittedly, I have held very narrow, unsavory, and criminal connotation of hacking. How unfortunate… for these ideas are so clearly the bridge I have been seeking to connect my back-tothe-land, resist-the-man, egalitarian worldview to whom I am as a designer in a time of ever-emerging technological advances (many of which I so desire to resist). Need I say Stewart Brand is my new personal hero? Hacking has a reputation (often negative) attributed to programmers. But what about DIY hackers, life hackers? Those of us striving for self-sufficiency through continuous learning via information communities? When I wanted to replace the siding of my house or to understand what depreciation meant to claim a rental property on my taxes, all I needed was a computer and the information was there. What liberation! The question I initially desired to propose in this writing was going to be: what is a new definition for hacking that embraces a broader, more positive context? But once I researched and pondered my own understanding, I wrote this definition: 27

Now Now Research

April Maclaga February 7, 2017 9:38 pm

Rachael Paine February 8, 2017 7:01 pm

The hacker culture is a subculture of individuals who enjoy the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming limitations as a means to achieve novel and clever outcomes. Hacking is the term for the act of engaging in activities in a spirit of playfulness and exploration. The defining characteristic of a hacker is not activity as much as it is his / her attitude. So, progress, not perfection. Process over product. If I change my understanding of hacking as a means of pursuing knowledge and innovation, I can imagine a method for discovery: Step 1: Position yourself in an area that you struggle to understand; Step 2: Find a tiny spot where you can start exploring, perhaps somewhere you don’t think you’re “supposed” to go; Step 3: Deconstruct it and figure out how and why it works; Step 4: Apply this knowledge to another, new idea; Step 5: Make it, create an incubator for it, evolve it; Step 6: Make this new “thing” accessible, and foster community. Never hoard innovation. As designers, perhaps we practice these steps unconsciously. Perhaps hacking is simply a means of tackling problems in unexpected ways and being comfortable with ambiguity. Again... Mind Blown. From Allison Parrish’s article Programming is Forgetting, I begin to see immense, potential hacking opportunities for the purpose of questioning. When digging through information in our pursuit of understanding, we push aside so many ideas and pieces that we deem useless in the moment. But what is lost? What has been left out? Mac Hill January 18, 2017 7:00 pm

Why am I so grossed out? During our in-vitro meat / schema project last semester, I realized that the only things standing between consumers and in-vitro meat are their own opinions and preconceptions. Our ideas about in-vitro meat are what gross us out, not necessarily the meat itself. Using music as a schema, I decided to create a visualization for the meal experience, one that shows how a user’s opinions and expectations can dramatically affect the whole dining experience. If in-vitro meat and traditional meat end up tasting and behaving the same way, the only factor that would change the experience is what the individual brings to the table. >

MGD Bulletin 2017


INVESTED RESEARCH Faculty and student sustained research, scholarship, and creative production. Final thesis projects.

Scientia potentia est: A Statement of Objective An Application to the PhD in Design at NC State Payod Panda, MGD 2016, and incoming PhD in Design student. (Statement abridged.)

Above: “Thinkerspace,” concept for an interactive table interface at the Institute for Emerging Issues Commons, Hunt Library, 2016.

My overarching life goal is to help develop and live in a knowledge society where people have ready access to useful knowledge. To this end, I want to build tools that make it possible for people to analyze, interpret, and understand information—be it accumulated knowledge from various disciplines, or collected data forming the quantified world. I believe that computation and graphics can help us understand complex ideas, and I am excited by the possibility of helping improve the human condition by enabling useful access to existing knowledge and newfound information. My research interests lie at the intersection of Human Computer Interaction and the Learning Sciences. My work ranges from topics related to virtual reality (VR) and education to machine learning and data visualization, drawing from my knowledge of several disciplines like design and design thinking; computer science and computational thinking; and engineering. I am currently working on research projects in the Tangible Coding Group at NC State, College of Design. With Dr. Derek Ham (PhD in Design and Computation, MIT), I am working on two projects in particular that demonstrate my interests—PanoForm and VRtibles. These projects use spatial dimensions and tangibility to foster computational thinking by providing tools for creating immersive content. PanoForm is a VR prototyping tool currently under develop­ment, which allows users access to familiar tools like sketching and graphicediting software to prototype immersive environ­ments. The user lays out elements on a templated grid that PanoForm displays mapped to a spherical environment.

MGD Bulletin 2017


Not only was I involved in the conception of this project, but I also developed a working prototype using web technologies (HTML, CSS, JavaScript and the three.js library in particular). We have tested this prototype successfully several times in a classroom environment as a proof of concept, showing promising results as a tool for introducing students to the concept of VR and immersive environments. The tool has proven to be effective beyond initial expectation, which allowed the project to move forward quickly into the conference- and grant-proposal writing phase. As a student at NC State, I constantly pushed the boundaries to find ways of pursuing my interests. I quickly pick up skills required for the successful completion of a project. For instance, for one of my projects I built a framework in Processing, which powered large public display servers to gather individual messages from clients to represent the community sentiment in an abstract manner (GitHub). This was a quick one-week project, and I had to learn how to establish a successful exchange of data and information between servers and clients on a network. For another project, I built an installation for NC State Hunt Library to introduce library patrons to augmented reality (AR). This was a month-long project, and while I was still very new to Processing, I learned how to implement a working AR prototype using the framework. The Hunt Library displayed it to the public for over three months. More recently, during my work with Dr. Deborah Littlejohn on a grant project dealing with visualization of multivariate data, I began to study machine learning only to find that the currently abundant learning resources stressed building a final model with no explanation of the process. This led to a personal project where I visualized different aspects of a machine learning algorithm, like the values of covariates and convergence using gradient descent, as it built a model that fit the observed data (GitHub). This enabled me to make a connection between the source and the final mathematical model that categorized the data. Visualizing the processes behind the algorithm enabled a richer understanding. For my graduate research, I designed and prototyped a multidimensional tool for visualizing programming constructs to foster computational thinking in visual learners. I developed a system that utilized the three dimensionality of space and the transience offered by the digital medium to model various dimensions of a programming construct. With this research, I broke down the larger process into smaller, manageable explorations, conducting focused studies on specific topics. For instance, I explored, compared, and analyzed different media available—from physical media, like Lego 31

Invested Research

blocks and self-fabricated magnetic paper tetrahedrons, to digital visualizations. In one of my studies, I looked at the spatial relationships within three-dimensional content and how they could be utilized to map relationships within programming constructs. I also used the transience that the digital medium offers to explain inherently transient concepts about several programming constructs, such as variables, loops, and functions. At NC State, I want to explore the possibilities that the media of VR and AR provide to interface with knowledge, information, and data, and alter how the user views and understands such information. Can the spatial properties of immersive interfaces in VR help in knowledge acquisition? In turn, can learning environments situated in VR contexts facilitate—and even augment—computational thinking? My preliminary research at NC State suggests that spatial reasoning and computational thinking have a strong correlation. Some tension exists today between the roles of human and machine intelligence and what we might have in store for the future. Dystopian scenarios have been proposed wherein technology has replaced the human connection and algorithms control the individual’s fate. I want to address such issues with my work. Expanding upon ideas expressed in Marvin Minsky’s Society of Mind, can a society of agents operating in the Interactive visualization showing an initialization function, setup(), and a recurring update() function. Update() is run like an infinite loop. The visualization intends to help one comprehend that the state of a function changes each time it is called. Each of the rectangles in the visualization depicts the state of the function, which never changes for setup(), but is continually changing for update(). (From “Helping Designers Understand Code,” MGD Final Project, 2016.)

MGD Bulletin 2017


realm of VR enable individual agents—humans and machines— to form a more powerful collective mind? Can VR—by virtue of it being “virtual,” but seemingly “real”—provide a natural avenue for collaborating with machine intelligence rather than one replacing the other, as dystopian views contend? Can one learn from algorithms that have been trained to form a model of a scenario by interacting with them in VR? My projects and undertakings touch on a variety of topics, but converge on improving the human condition by enabling usable access to knowledge. I realize this task is a major undertaking, and something I can achieve neither alone nor through making a single exemplary project. This task has to be a collaborative effort among several like-minded individuals, striving towards a common goal, a little at a time. Hence, I want to be a part of a group of people with varying shortterm goals but a similar long-term vision. I feel that my goals align perfectly with those of Dr. Ham. I want to build new interfaces between human and machine that bring them together, rather than separate them. I want to build tools that utilize such interfaces to help people learn and acquire knowledge. I think that my explorations will be valuable additions to the list of impactful projects at the College of Design. I hope to be able to provide my own knowledge and perspective to my peers, and contribute to the immense intellectual capital of the College of Design and NC State. >


Invested Research

Left: Comparative visualizations to express negative vs. positive values. Yellow represents a positive value, magenta a negative value. Right: This visualization shows how calling a function that defines a variable at different rates can change how the function returns values. (From “Helping Designers Understand Code,” MGD Final Project, 2016.)

The Shifting Landscape of Design: From Universal to Inclusive An Introductory Address for a Conference Panel Featuring Graphic Design Faculty Russell Flinchum, PhD, Associate Professor — Panel convener at a College Art Association conference session with Helen Armstrong and Scott Townsend, New York, 2017.

I’d like to introduce my colleagues Helen Armstrong and Scott Townsend. We are all members of the Department of Graphic Design and Industrial Design faculty. To briefly summarize the content of this session, I will deliver a brief history of the School of Design, now the College of Design, focusing on its founding in 1948 and early activities, and moving on to the arrival of Ron Mace as a student in the Architecture program and his activities as an advocate for the disabled. This presentation starts with our curricular focus on users and contexts. I’m going to discuss how issues of inclusion and disability can significantly change how a beginning design student thinks about those ideas. We focus on users and settings with an emphasis on understanding how a user’s experiences are informed by large overlapping connected systems of technology, cultural practices, and historical precedents. Creating a more critical and engaged sense of “user” enhanced outreach, in this case in two sponsored studio courses from the sophomore through senior year interacting with clients and communities and “users.” It also allowed us the opportunity to develop alternative practices in thinking through “people and settings.” This is a wonderful opportunity for Helen and Scott to speak about recent work they’ve done both together, in relation to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science, and separately, as you will hear Helen detail in her presentation about her students’ collaboration with SAS, an enterprise-level software developer. Helen will conclude this session by overseeing a workshop using tools developed during that collaboration in which we hope you will all participate.

MGD Bulletin 2017


As you can see we have a full slate and I’d like to get underway by speaking briefly about my own discoveries about the history of the College of Design, particularly in relation to what we have named in this session Universal Design, but what is perhaps more correctly referred to as Inclusive Design. I wonder if the term Universal Design still appeals because it was Ron Mace’s. I would propose that this distinction is desirable in writing this history because at that time, and by this I mean the 1980s and 1990s, “Universal Design” was both a movement and an ethos of design—and it meant designing for the disabled in many cases. Let’s see how the College of Design itself refers to this period. The Center for Universal Design (CUD) was founded to promote and to research accessible or universal design in the home, in commercial and public facilities, in the built environment, and in product design. The Center accomplished this goal through education and training, research projects, and its publications. It was established in 1989 through a National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research grant and continued with a second grant in 1994. In 1996, its name was officially changed from the Center for Accessible Design to the Center for Universal Design. The Center was founded by Ronald L. Mace, a pioneer in the field, who coined the term “universal design.” Ron Mace, himself disabled from polio, was an internationally known architect, product designer, and educator in the field of barrier-free design. After his death in 1998, the Center continued under funding from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.1 And thus, if Ron Mace coined the term “Universal Design,” we can understand some people’s reluctance to abandon this term. However, we are today in a world of User Experience, or UX. It is a world where software is becoming dominant over hardware and yet hardware remains at the core of much of the work done by our industrial designers. Meanwhile, graphic design has developed into a research methodology in its own right, and these two disciplines are merging when we speak about fields like biomedical design. Let’s consider that when Ron Mace was alive the first boxy glucose meters were appearing on the market. Today there is a profusion of “ergonomic designs” in just this one sector. Prior to 1960, there were only “rules of thumb,” and no comprehensive overview of anthropometrics was available until then. I think it is safe to infer there was no similar set of information for the disabled at the time. And that is in part why this story, which begins in 1948 with the founding of the School of Design, only gathers steam with the arrival of Ron Mace at NC State and his decision to study architecture. I want to focus on his achievements and the nature of Ron’s work, and 35

Invested Research

1. North Carolina State University, College of Design, Center for Universal Design Records, 1985–2001.

Design patent for a cane handle designed by Ron Mace. Courtesy, Russell Flinchum.

to remind this audience that if you had asked Ron Mace what his profession was, he would have answered, with some pride I believe, simply “architect.” And that has everything to do with the culture of the School of Design prior to his arrival. The School of Design was founded in 1948 under the leader­ship of Dean Henry Kamphoefner, who had been trained in the Beaux-Arts method but became an enthusiastic and lifelong convert to Modernism in the late 1930s. Roger Clark, professor emeritus in the School of Architecture, has stated that the School of Design probably took its name in part from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard, where Walter Gropius had done much work that influenced Kamphoefner’s approach and the design of the program. While the School of Design’s program of studies was presented as a tree in a diagram from 1950, it owed everything to the Bauhaus’s Vorkurs. The early years of the School of Design were exciting, vibrant, and reflective of the thinking in a “New South.” Frank Lloyd Wright paid a visit and spoke to an audience of 5,000 when the student population of NC State was 4,000. Bucky Fuller made regular appearances, and it was at NC State that the Geodesic Dome made its first flight, tethered to a helicopter. The School of Design was no less adventurous in Ron’s day, and his history is inextricably bound up with the College, but was hardly contained by the College; Ron Mace was part of an activist generation and even if he had command of only one hand, it was enough to get a tremendous movement started. Ron’s great monument is the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, so in fact, it is not incorrect to say that if you would seek him, look around you. We have to remember Ron died prematurely and this was the start, not the end, of a process for him. One of the most affecting documents in the Special Collections file on Ron is nothing special at first…it’s just a bill included with a number of others from a speaking trip. But looking more closely it is a bill for an ambulance from the airport to his speaking engagement, round trip, and the cost is enormous. That ambulance was the “Universal Design” Ron had access to…trying to put him in a conventional vehicle would have been a lengthy and painful task. I imagine us looking at Ron in his wheelchair in that ambulance as the doors close and then asking ourselves what we have really done to realize Ron’s vision of liberation. MGD Bulletin 2017


Territories of Graphic Design Research: Big Opportunities in the Wake of Big Data Visualization is an important consideration in data presentation and communication because it enables the synthesis of abstract information into a clear, informative, and engaging representation. For graphic designers, it is an important area of practice. As a domain of study, however, most new knowledge arises within fields such as cognitive psychology or computer science. While graphic design can (and should) make use of this knowledge to inform practice, the field is not taking advantage of a rich opportunity to carve out its own knowledge niche in visualization research; how elements of graphic design work together to communicate meaning to various types of data users in various types of data situations. While current approaches to information visualization have certainly evolved since the days of Florence Nightingale and Charles Minard, the emergence of “Big Dataâ€? brings new challenges for those who need to understand data that is large in scale and multi-dimensional in nature. Researchers have evaluated the effectiveness of different visualization strategies, and call for more in-depth analyses of tools and techniques for analytic needs that arise in situations of unstructured data. This research primarily focuses on supporting expert data users. Experts use visualization strategies that come from the field of statistics, e.g., line graphs, histograms, bar charts, and box plots. While these traditional approaches are well understood and widely accepted, they fail on several accounts. Static visualizations are weak when handling very large amounts of data, when the task is to explore unstructured or dynamic


Invested Research

Deb Littlejohn, PhD, Assistant Professor

data, or when the bounds and structure of the data changes— the sort of data analysts use with increasing frequency these days. Notably, traditional approaches are also criticized for being incomprehensible to non-experts: the people who need to use, but do not conduct, scientific research: policy-makers, teachers, citizen-scientists, and including the public in general— those who, through taxes, fund the bulk of scientific research by governmental institutions such as the Department of Education, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Indeed, today’s data user has expanded beyond that of the scientist or technical expert to encompass not just a range of professionals, but everyday people—assisted by mobile applications that can collect and collate personalized datasets (witness the “Quanitfied Self” movement). Such applications organise one’s data, collected in real time, and visualize it as daily, monthly, or yearly insights that help users make decisions about health, finance, travel, shopping, and more. Consider the story of Sarah McDade—vegetable grower and novice data user: McDade runs a three-acre community garden in her rural North Carolina neighborhood. From April through August each year, a team of community volunteers help her monitor the health of all crops, which includes discerning water conditions and testing pH levels in the soil. To assist them in this laborious effort, McDade installed 30 digital probes that measure water concentrations and soil nutrients at square foot intervals. At first, they had to read each individual sensor while they were physically outside in the field—a task so time consuming the group could only do it once or twice per month. Now, every hour, readings from the sensors automatically upload information to a database where McDade and her team use a tablet to log on and instantaneously view field data displaying the health of the crops. The visualizations help them decide when to water and fertilize, where to do so, and how much, thereby saving the whole community of growers a significant amount of money, while enabling them to conserve on water—a valuable and costly resource, especially in the summer months when most vegetable crops require supplemental moisture. Over time, the community should be able to combine data collected over several years to see patterns and trends in their yields, and eventually, make predictions or divert future problems.

MGD Bulletin 2017


The implication—and the impetus for more graphic design research effort—is that information visualizations created for non-expert data users require different models.1 Principles from graphic design and human perception can inform the design of new models for users like McDade—models that are effective and efficient, as well as tailored to the human visual system. Specifically, such models can be designed for glanceability (Rose, 2014) using the principles of preattentive processing—visual properties that people process almost instantaneously, without need of focused attention (Ware, 2004). Generally, a glanceable visualization is one that presents important and relevant information in a way that viewers can easily and immediately discern. It takes advantage of the innate pattern-sensing capabilities that humans possess—we can quickly scan and recognize images, and detect changes in size, color, location, movement, or texture. While words and numbers require more of our brain’s processing power, we can detect and understand other visual elements effortlessly. Preattentive processing is valid for a limited set of visual features in images, including size, shape, pattern, and color. Different forms in 2D or 3D; colors differing in hue, saturation and brightness; and graphic patterns or positioning in a dimensional space, are all features that the human brain perceives automatically and unconsciously. By assigning appropriate information values to specific visual characteristics, our perception and understanding of data is greatly enhanced. A load is taken off short-term memory, which otherwise must keep track of much more information through other conscious and intellectually demanding processes. The goal, however, is to find a “happy medium” between the complex and technical visualizations for experts, and the overly simple—almost useless—visualizations typically created for non-experts. Since graphic designers are inclined to employ research methods that are human-centered, the field can bring a unique perspective from which to study the nuances of the individual data-user.


Invested Research

1. McDade’s story is based on a 2015 article by Nanette Byrnes, “Internet of Farm Things,” (MIT Technology Review May 21, 2015). In the article, the subject is a professional farmer who owns a larger scale, commercial operation. The technology only allows him to monitor water conditions and, notably, the system’s data reports generated for the farmer’s use, though glanceable, are extremely simple (i.e., “water” or “don’t water”).

References Rose, D. Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire, and the Internet of Things. New York, NY: Scribner, 2014. Ware, C. Information Visualization: Perception for Design (2nd Edition). Burlington, MA: Morgan Kaufman, 2004.

So... You Want to Design in VR? How can graphic designers shift their practice to design for virtual reality? Helen Armstrong, Associate Professor

My colleague Dr. Derek Ham and I undertook a series of experiments to find out.

Consider Areas of Strength EXAMPLES Clouds over Sidra; 6×9: A Virtual Experience of Solitary Confinement Marvel’s Avengers Age of Ultron Part 2; The Climb; Honda: Fastest Seat in Sports Google Cardboard’s Arctic Journey; Panopticon


Samsung Bedtime VR Stories; Sisters: A VR Ghost Story

First, we isolated VR’s strongest capabilities. What does this medium do really well? 1. Empathy. While inside VR, users can encounter the world through another’s perspective. They become actors inside a drama rather than experiencing the setting from a director’s narrow viewpoint. 2. Sensory experiences. Participants can experience powerful sensations—height, motion, speed, etc. They can even give superhuman powers a whirl. What would it be like to fly, to exhibit superhuman strength, to see through walls? 3. Close observation. Human bodies move physically through space as a means of learning about their surroundings. We focus, even hyperfocus, on details. VR separates users from their current reality and encases them in a new place, encouraging close observation. The challenge for the VR designer is how to direct that focus. 4. Simulation. A virtual space naturally enables quick simula­ tions of real world scenarios. Architects can prototype buildings and allow clients to walk through them. Marketers can put users inside a supermarket and test the visibility of a product on the shelf. Retailers can urge consumers to virtually try on outfits. 5. Storytelling. VR can set the stage for a narrative to unfold. Designers working in VR create story worlds rather than delineated stories. They create spaces in which powerful stories are likely to occur. MGD Bulletin 2017


Rapid Prototyping: Let’s Get Inside It After recognizing the strengths of the medium, we began to consider ways for designers to quickly give form to their initial VR concepts. Illustrators sketch, architects model, animators storyboard—how does one prototype for VR? How can designers mock up their ideas without facing the technical barrier of learning a game engine like Unity? We decided a VR prototyping method needed to be: —Cheap & fast; —Easily altered; —Physical; —Collaborative; —And, most importantly, unlike sketching, modeling and storyboarding, the designers needed to be able to get inside the prototype to truly explore the environment as a VR user. With this criteria in mind, we started investigating. Our first prototyping method used clear plastic umbrellas and glow-in-the-dark materials as a framework for building quick environments that we then tested in a darkroom. Our second attempt employed fort-like cardboard boxes and, again, glow-indark materials. For our third experiment, we moved to large paper shadow boxes. Unlike our first two approaches, the shadow boxes required no special expensive materials. To construct three of the 4×4′ cubes, we bought 1/2″ diameter PVC pipe (12 PVC pieces and 8 3-way elbow connectors) and a large roll of white paper. We then led a series of workshops to test them out. Try it out for yourself.


Invested Research

NC State MGD Workshop: Students prototype with dome umbrellas and glow-in-the-dark materials.

Inset: AIGA Frontier Conference Workshop: Participants enact experiences using props and shadow boxes.

MGD Bulletin 2017


“Dreams are never concerned with trivia.” —Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams “The general function of dreams is to try to restore our psychological balance by producing dream material that re-establishes, in a subtle way, the total psychic equilibrium.”—Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols


Key Goals 1. Cohesive Narrative: Your environment encompasses your surroundings (sides and top). Pay attention to how the sides relate to one another. Create one space that makes sense to exist within. 2. Illusion of Depth: Create the illusion of 3D space.

—Form groups of 5. Record all thoughts & sketches on the white paper. Spend 10 minutes. 2 minutes per person. —Describe your recurring dreams. These dreams could be an active part of your current dream life or they could have recurred in the past. —Each group member should contribute at least one dream or powerful dream moment to the discussion. —Sketch out both images and words associated with the dreams discussed.

—Objects that are closer naturally draw our attention first. —The scale of an object is determined by placement within the environment and its relationship to other objects. —Consider creating foreground and background imagery to establish a sense of place. 3. Add motion and/or interaction: Consider using motion to focus the gaze of the user during the experience. Also consider whether or not the viewer can interact with the piece to change the narrative (verbal input, physical contact with the paper, etc.)

PART TWO: PLANNING —Select one dream theme. —Sketch out possibilities for recreating that dream environment for VR. Spend 15 minutes. —Consider: What story are you telling through the design of your space? What experiential qualities will your dreamscape convey? How will your VR environment impact the participant with the emotional force that real dreams deliver? Include audio possibilities in this discussion. PART THREE: MAKING —Using the materials provided, construct a group dreamscape of your one chosen dream. Limit yourself to 3 light sources. (Smart phone flashlights work well.) Designate 3-5 objects that move in specific ways and 2-4 objects that are a stationary part of the experience. Spend 45 minutes. —Keep your idea simple. Use concise images to create one clear cohesive virtual environment.

4. Add Sound: Be sure to select sounds that support your environment

—Take turns viewing your environment periodically. —Pay attention to pacing. How can you create moments of drama as your

rather than distract from it. (Headphones supplied.)

narrative unfolds? —At the end of the 45 minutes, we will experience and discuss the prototypes.

See link on resources page for free sound clips: frontier-vr-workshop/

WRAP-UP & NEXT STEPS To access links from our discussion, visit This workshop is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This means that the material may be shared, as long as it clearly attributed to its creators, Helen Armstrong and Derek Ham, and not used for commercial purposes.

Above: Moogfest Workshop: Participants create prototypes inside fort-like cardboard structures.

To access resources from the VR workshops, including the examples listed on the previous page, visit >


Invested Research

How Imagery Models Interpretation The Classification of Image Function Matthew Peterson, PhD, Assistant Professor — Excerpted from: Peterson, M. (2015). “How Imagery Models Interpretation: The Classification of Image Function,” 13th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities Proceedings. …with added illustrations and captions.

Introduction. This paper is comprised of two distinct sections. The first section makes an argument for viewing illustrated media in performative terms, according to a constructivist epistemology. This leads to a focus on imagery and the reader’s construction of knowledge with its information. The second section [cut here] presents 13 isolated performative image functions in brief. Throughout this paper, the term reader will be used in lieu of user, viewer, consumer, or audience. Avoiding the term user is not to understate how people interact with media rather than simply receive it. Indeed, reading is here considered to be entirely and persistently interactive. The term media will here refer to apparently static media (e.g., an illustrated book), surfaces on which information is presented in text and image formats. Explicitly interactive media (e.g., a website) raise some issues not addressed in the performative image function typology, though all functions remain applicable to them.

The Performative Nature of Media. What does a reader do with imagery? And what does imagery do with a reader? This is but one question. It marks the territory of inquiry as one of process, an experience between reader and image with a beginning and an end. Such a conceptualization, which emphasizes imagery’s performative capacity, is complementary with literary theorist Louise Rosenblatt’s transactional theory of reading (1978). Rosenblatt identifies the text and the poem, specialized terms that differ from the usual meaning. The text, which appears in MGD Bulletin 2017








“life” of the image

spirit to be inclusive of imagery, activates elements already in the reader’s memory, and regulates what the reader focuses on. The poem is a distinction for when the text becomes a literary artwork. It is considered as an event in time, not an inert object. The text guides reader experience, producing the poem. Because of the necessarily mannered nature of imagery, all images are here considered to qualify as examples of Rosenblatt’s “poem.” Contrast such a transactional view of reading with a basic communication model. Mathematicians Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver established sender, channel, and receiver as the components of transmitting a signal. The flow runs from sender to receiver, through a channel (Figure 1). Though the Shannon–Weaver transmission model originally described machine-to-machine communication, it became a model for human-to-human communication with media (Davis, 2012). In that capacity the model is naïve. An updated model by communication researchers Philip Emmert and William Donaghy (1981) addressed weaknesses in the simpler Shannon–Weaver model, introducing feedback and identifying two communicators. Feedback in the Emmert–Donaghy model notably equates with dual directions of communication, where the Shannon–Weaver model was unidirectional in the message’s path from sender to receiver. Persisting in the Emmert–Donaghy model, however, is the specter of the message, something that precedes its own ultimate form and travels from one independent communicator to another. But imagery is so mannered, so formal, that in most authentic cases it is difficult to argue for it as a conveyer of an underlying message. The image is, in a sense, its own entity. Figure 2 presents a much more basic model where sender becomes designer, channel becomes media, and receiver becomes reader. But in terms of an acknowledgement of performance between media and reader, as well as a suspicion of a reified “message” in imagery, there is no flow illustrated, no arrows to be found. The Shannon–Weaver model flows in one direction, while the Emmert–Donaghy model flows in both. Here there is simply a connection between media and reader, which becomes a territory in which knowledge is constructed 45

Invested Research

Figure 1. Shannon– Weaver transmission model of communication. Figure 2. Designer– media–reader relation­ ship, absent the flow of a message through the system.

References Baddeley, A. (1998). Working memory. Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Sciences, 321(2–3), 167–173. Carney, R. N., & Levin, J. R. (2002). Pictorial illustrations still improve students’ learning from text. Educational Psychology Review, 14(1), 5–26. Davis, M. (2012). Graphic design theory: Graphic design in context. New York, NY: Thames & Hudson. Emmert, P., & Donaghy, W. C. (1981). Human communication: Elements and contexts. Reading, Massachusetts: AddisonWesley Publishing Company. Levin, J. R. (1979). On functions of pictures in prose. In Report from the project on studies in language: Reading and communication. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Research and Development Center for Individualized Schooling.

References (cont’d.) Levin, J. R., & Mayer, R. E. (1993). Understanding illustrations in text. In Britton, B. K., Woodward, A., & Binkley, M. (Eds.), Learning from textbooks: Theory and practice, 95–113. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers. McQuarrie, E. F., & Mick, D. G. (1996). Figures of rhetoric in advertising language. Journal of Consumer Research, 22(4), 424–438. Rosenblatt, L. M. (1978). The reader, the text, the poem: The transactional theory of the literary work. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. Sadoski, M., & Paivio, A. (2001). Imagery and text: A dual coding theory of reading and writing. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers. Scott, L. M. (1994). Images in advertising: The need for a theory of visual rhetoric. Journal of Consumer Research, 21(2), 252–273.

through the act of interpretation, where both media and reader perform. The reader’s engagement, measured in seconds and even milliseconds, is the effective “life” of the image. Note that while there is a corresponding relationship between designer and media, the exclusion of any flow means that there is no designer–reader connection, not even through media. Philosophically the designer (or author) is irrelevant in most cases of reading. Text and image are both formats for information. Human cognitive architecture treats them as fundamentally separate codes, each with its own characteristics, limitations, and affordances (Baddeley, 1998; Sadoski & Paivio, 2001). One rather straightforward implication of this is that linguistic and pictorial information, being distinct, beg separate methods for analysis. Rhetoric, a classification system for form in language, has been developed over centuries. Given such a resource for understanding text, it is not surprising that systematic attempts are being made to develop a visual rhetoric, an application of rhetoric to imagery (Scott, 1994; McQuarrie & Mick, 1996). But such efforts must adapt a system devised for one code for use in another. An alternative to retrofitting rhetoric for imagery is to address imagery on its own terms.

Enter Image Function. Cognitive psychologist Joel Levin, when addressing the effectiveness of images in textbooks in the ’70s, inaugurated a body of literature on image function (actually picture function; Levin, 1979; Levin & Mayer, 1993; Carney & Levin, 2002). Image function in the literature extends beyond the “life of the image,” or performative concerns. For instance, Levin’s (1979) original typology includes a remunerative function, acknowledging that textbook publishers utilize images to increase textbook sales. This function addresses outcome, not interpretation. The author has developed a typology of performative image function, which exclusively addresses interpretational processes. In particular, performative image function concerns how imagery involves readers in the construction of knowledge in reasonably predictable ways. Imagery is seen as modeling, or structuring, interpretation. Image functions were determined from a continuing search through illustrated books (which included artwork) and advertising. These 13 distinct functions are briefly outlined in the following section. Performative image function provides a way to look at images anew that is inherently reader- or user-centered. Because it accounts for imagery’s place within compositions, including other imagery and text, it addresses the common reader’s common experience of the image. . . MGD Bulletin 2017


Select Image Function Exemplars Decorative Imagery (Left): The bird is irrelevant and neither rewards nor promotes engagement. (Illustration: Sander Weeks; original: O’Reilly’s Programming PHP.) Constitutive Imagery (Below Left): Mutliple views of mush­­room pictures, including life stages, cohere into a singular mental model of the concept of “mushroom.” (Illustration: Sander Weeks; original source unknown.) Creative Imagery (Below Right): To fulfill the story, the reader must project the hedge trimmer onto the bonsai tree, and “observe” the results. The completed imagery is the responsibility of the reader. (Illustra­tion: Sander Weeks; original: Volkswagen advertisement by DDB, Australia.)

Narrative Imagery (Left): Interpreted not as sex­tuplets in varying stages of distress, but rather as one woman breaking down behind bars (despite the literal appearance of figures in a natural space). The story’s con­struc­tion is predi­cated on a Western left-to-right reading order. (Illus­tration: Kitty Jieng; original: Lady in a Cage promotional image, in Hollywood Horror, Vieria, 2003.)


Invested Research

Cyborg-Centered Design Designing a User Interface for Cochlear Implant Recipients Through User-Sensitive Inclusive Design Alexandra Grossi, MGD 2017 — Final project (excerpted).

Primary Research Question: How can User-Sensitive Inclusive Design be applied to create a customizable user experience for Cochlear Implant users? Subquestions: How can David Rose’s criteria for enchanted objects and the Internet of Things elevate and expand the design mindset towards assistive technology? How can the design of a smart interface that allows users to create settings and share them with others empower its users?

Assistive technology has been slow to adopt the highly regarded methods of human-centered design (HCD), participatory design, and design empathy. In the niche market of assistive technology, design decisions are not fueled by the need to attract and retain users. The Cochlear Implant (CI) is a biotechnological feat that provides deaf and hard-of-hearing recipients digital hearing. CIs act as the user’s connection to the hearing world, making the CI user a deeply invested stakeholder. Unlike mainstream devices (such as laptops) that provide consumers with a wide array of product choices, CI recipients are locked-in users of one company’s devices for life. Research gathered from literature confirmed that aspects of the current user interface do not adhere to HCD principles. For example, the CI remote interface’s linear navigation forces CI users to arduously wade through options to change the volume. A poll revealed that most users end up not using their remote. User-Sensitive Inclusive Design (USID) is a design research method devised by HCD researcher Alan Newell. It combines traditional design methods to foster a rich understanding of users, their experiences, and their emotions, resulting in design that responds to users’ distinct needs. Using this as a method for the design of a more user-centered CI Interface, this study utilizes polls, surveys, and interviews to create personas and corresponding user journey maps. Design explorations range from the basic elements of usability in controls to possibilities in customizable, connected, contextual interfaces. Using David Rose’s concept of “enchanted objects” as a framework, this investigation also looks at how the Internet of Things (IoT) can connect and empower CI users. MGD Bulletin 2017



















There is a physical









switch on the left side of the remote assistant


The user must press “OK”

userslarger to unlock the Mindful offorthe question of what it means to design to modify any variable. For a current bilateral device to make changes. Cochlear Implant user, for disability, these visual explorations seek avenues in which the Remote Assistant designers might include assistive device users as contributors requires seven steps to to the design process. My design investigations look into how adjust the volume for one ear. networked assistive technology can help foster communication between users and designers. Although this study focuses on a a Cochlear Implant user interface (UI) for users who are hearing impaired, the results of the research will benefit all designers J u s t i f i c at i o n | C u r r e n t U s e r E X P E R I E N C E who are creating for users with specific needs. . .

I was born profoundly deaf in 1983, which—much to my chagrin—means I am considered a Millennial. Generational ill repute aside, I consider myself incredibly lucky to have grown up during a time when new technology became available at an extraordinary pace. My parents decided I would go down the oral route (learning to speak and read lips) as opposed to the signing route. I was outfitted with high-powered hearing aids and enrolled in an intensive oral auditory program that centered on speech therapy and hearing training. To my great fortune, new tools became available just as I sought more independence. The technological advance that had greatest impact on my life was the Cochlear Implant, which I received in 1999. Once I learned to hear in this vastly different, digital way, I had access to far more sound than I ever had with my hearing aids. When I got my second implant in 2016, I upgraded my Cochlear Implants from the “Nucleus Freedom” to the “Nucleus 6.” I was thrilled to find that the new system included an external remote. I conjured images of being able to create and change settings on-the-go, quickly upping the volume when somebody spoke softly and increasing the sensitivity when I wanted to hear somebody across the room. However, my dreams of a James Bond–like device were quickly dashed. My personal experience with the remote control was not only counterintuitive and confusing, but tedious. I took


Invested Research

A major component of SoundSpace is a private, built-in social media network called the “SoundSpace Collective,” a forum for SoundSpace users and a service to share settings for specific sound environments and advocate S O U N D S Pfor A C new E C ofeatures. llective


Requests to Cochlear

Cody posted a request: “Please make SoundSpace compatible with my SONOS!” UPVOTE



TODAY 10:34 AM

Travel, Los Angeles, Outdoor Spaces, Cities

Jack posted a new program in “Outdoor Sites”



TODAY 11:45 PM

Travel, Los Angeles, Outdoor Spaces, Cities

Penny created a meet up near you! “Let’s create the perfect program for the loudest restaurants!” Eataly May 13 at 7pm 200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010 RSVP

this poor design as an insult to all CI users who depend on assistive technology for their way of life. The quality of their user experience should be held to the highest standard. My final project investigates the design of a smart, connected, contextual interface for controlling sound settings of Cochlear Implants. This investigation further examines larger questions, such as, “What does it mean to design for assistive technology?” and “How can design enlist user voice?” Cochlear implants grant users hearing, but designers and producers are the ones who should start listening. . . The goal of hearing device design has primarily been to mask the user’s disability. Shifting this paradigm can inspire innovation. Some of my designs explore the question, “What if design raised the benchmark to Super Hearing?” Features such as customized sound programs, selective sound augmentation, and auto transcription might easily be adapted to suit the consumer market. Such features might become new, helpful tools for all in the future. The “SoundSpace Collective” that I propose in this project would give CI users ready access to a community of other users. Connecting CI users to the Internet opens a world of possibilities and empowers them with a voice and the opportunity to think critically about the technology upon which they are so dependent. Currently the deaf population is divided, if not fragmented, amongst those who sign and those who communicate verbally. The SoundSpace Collective might help bridge this divide. My work points to the need for further research that explores possibilities for opening up this type of interface to all hearing device users, not just those who use one brand or who adhere to one philosophy. My design considers anyone who uses hearing technology, and establishes room for subgroups to form and evolve within the larger deaf community. How might people with other types of disability benefit from a social media outlet comparable to the SoundSpace Collective? What innovative features in an interface for blind and low-vision users be designed to help mainstream that group? My explorations seek to push boundaries within user-centered and inclusive design. While I cover a wide range of topics and ideas, I only scratch the surface of limitless possibilities. Further investigations should continue to draw inspiration from the user and continue to dare ask, “What if?,” and “Why not?”

MGD Bulletin 2017




Customization Customization User PROGRAMING User PROGRAMING

The user widens or decreases the depth of sound with a pinching gesture. Since CI sound is digitally produced, users can create and store a variety of sound programs for different kinds of environ­ments.


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Figure 10: Design | Usability 2 Figure 10: Explorations Design Explorations | Usability 2


A Connected Interface 5 6 .5 6 .

D e s i g n EDxepsliogrnatE xi opnl so r| at U si oa nb isl i| tUys a b i l i t5y 5 .

A ROUTINE IN ACTION Here is an example of how a routine works.


“Turning on” initiates a sequence that

Max likes to “warm up his ears” in

Max has previously compiled. This

the morning to ease the transition

specific routine is set to run on work

between total silence while sleeping

day mornings.

and full sound. This routine is set to wirelessly stream a morning playlist.

Max wakes up to his wearable device’s


haptic alarm. He showers and puts on his Processors. His smart watch recognizes this and opens SoundSpace automatically.



The Quick Pause function automatically

Not wanting to stop his pre-set routine,

resumes where the music and the routine

Max uses his wearable device to pause the

left off after 30 seconds.

music and place his caffeinated order.

6 0.

This routine is set to rise in volume and

Still listening to music, Max

transition slowly into environmental sounds

walks to a busy nearby cafe

in a crossfade feature.

for his morning buzz.

Figure 13: Design Explorations | A Connected Interface 2


Invested Research

D e s i g n E x p l o r at i o n s | A C o n n e c t e d I n t e r fa c e

61 .

Perceptions of One’s Self and Others in Virtual Reality Designing Minimal Form Virtual Embodiments that Establish Social Presence, Reduce Bias, and Raise Involvement in VR Environments Luis Zapata, MGD 2017 — Final project (excerpted).

Primary Research Question: How can minimal individual visual representation communicate social presence in a virtual reality environment? Subquestions: How does the visual representation of behavior affect individuals inside a task-oriented space? How does variation in a form’s size, color and texture affect an individual’s ability to distinguish animate objects from inanimate objects? How can the visual representation of an individual influence how they interact with others in virtual reality?

When users enter a digital environment, like creating an account on a computer or playing a game, the application gives them the opportunity to create and customize what they will be represented as in that context (i.e., their embodiment). In games, users can spend hours customizing their characters. This is not unlike an individual spending time picking out an outfit for the day. Giving users this opportunity for customization increases the likelihood of bias and stereotypes. In the attempt to make things more immersive, content creators tend towards the most realistic approach possible. However, photorealistic embodiment inhibits expression of personal information as users begin to connect with one another. My investigation explores ways for users to enter a virtual reality environment and embody a form that reduces bias and stereotypes, while attempting to raise participation with others in the space. I build upon the research Bailenson and Blascovich have been doing at the Virtual Human Interactions Lab at Stanford University, while utilizing Biocca and Harms’ Networked Minds Theory for measuring “social presence.” In my investigation, I use research through design, case studies, interviews and experiments to establish a prototype. My hi-fidelity prototype creates a testing ground for further exploration in minimal form representation in VR. The tool allows designers and psychologists to observe passively, or interact with participants in the space while collecting data for future analysis. . .

MGD Bulletin 2017


Test 3: Cube with Head-Rotation

In the third of five tests, I intended to determine the effect of seeing versus not seeing oneself when one looks down, as welll as the effect of full head tracking, which other participants are able to observe. In Tests One and Two, the camera was situated two units above the digital representation, the cube. The users’ experience is as if they are sitting atop the thing being controlled. For Test 3, I joined the cube and camera so that, when users look down, they do not see themselves.

Lifting the cube off the ground plane allowed for full head tracking. I had encountered problems with this feature in past tests, however, in Test 3 I was able to resolve them. All other variables in this test remained the same: three participants were tasked with pushing spheres into light circles. Nine participants: four males and five females, average age 25.


Invested Research

As a user’s identity is projected into a digital embodiment, whichever attributes are expressed have the potential to result in a form of bias or stereotype. As discussed previously, a gender bias can affect one’s performance of a task and race can affect one’s perception of a situation. We bring social norms and biases into VR with us and take norms and biases along when we leave. In this study, I explored a way that could possibly eliminate certain biases, like gender and race, in order to have a positive Perceived Comprehension 17% influence on the environment. I did not test for this directly, Perception of self 11% but I feel that in creating a minimalistic form for a digital Perception of others 14% embodiment, neither race nor gender had any effect on the way Overall 22% people perceived themselves or each other in the environment. Perception of self 23% I questioned this by asking people to try and identify each other Perception of others 21% based on observed actions. Few could correctly guess this, demonstrating that minimal attributes were carried over into For behavioral interdependence, 41% agreed that they perceived their actions influenced others and others’ actions influenced them. The perception of self and others were the same. the space. VR provides a blank slate for people to work together through minimal embodiments and create shared experiences. Perceived behavioral interdependence 41% In conclusion, when visual representation is reduced to an Perception of self 41% Perceived Comprehension 20% abstracted form for digital embodiment, users are more apt to Perception of others 41% Perception of self 14% disclose information to each other and bring less bias into the Perception of others 17% The average timeenvironment it took for participants to push the blue sphere onto thehelps sphere was 3 with them, which them work better as a team minutes. The fastest time in this was 138 seconds. Overall 21% Results of Test 3, “Cube to reach consensus. Having a means to interact complements Perception of self 22% with Head Rotation,” and our primal desire to be social and together with other individuals. Test 4, “Sphere with Head Perception of others The understanding of20%these four concepts—being together, Rotation and Lighter Face,” respectively. willingness to disclose, collaboration, and reduced bias— For behavioral interdependence, 31% agreed that they perceived their actions influenced others and others’ actions influenced them. The participants’ responses break down into 33% provides a lens for agree that their behavior was influencing others and 30% agreed other participants’ behavior CO-PRESENCE affected them. digital embodiment in virtual reality Perceived behavioral interdependence 31% that encourages Perception of self 33% social awareness Perception of others 30% and social behavior PYSCHO-BEHAVIORAL ACCESSIBILITY The prototype calculated 79% of all behaviors were to be assertive behaviors. One group had without becoming 92 aggressive interactions and 407 assertive ones. This makes for an almost 1:4 ratio. distracted by The average time it took for participants to push the blue sphere onto the sphere was 4 minutes and 14 seconds. The fastest time in this was 45 seconds. One of four of the groups representations. attentional engagement

emotional contagion

perceived comprehension

perceived behavioral interdependence

completed the task in under 10 minutes.




attentional engagement

emotional contagion

perceived comprehension

perceived behavioral interdependence


MGD Bulletin 2017


WE NETWORK Faculty and student involvement with industry, people from other NC State colleges, and other institutions. Participation in events and projects.

Yes And… We Network 2016/17 Posts from the MGD Student Blog Dajana Nedic March 1, 2017 9:00 pm

Clément Bordas February 23, 2017 6:17 pm

Hacker culture (workshop). A couple weeks ago I put together a workshop based on certain readings focused on hacker culture. I presented this workshop to the studio and we tried to hack into personal devices to gain access to documents and, above all, free WIFI! Before we dove into the hacking exercises, we had the opportunity to discuss some ideas that make up what we consider hacker culture. We considered the historical influences that led to the necessity of hacking as well as the question of ethics that so often arises. The image above outlines major themes and sub-themes that seem to comprise the topics of hacking and hacker culture.

Design- and data-minded visualizations. On February 20th, our Master of Graphic Design first year group attended a workshop led by our professor Deborah Littlejohn and the Visualization and Digital Media Librarian at the NC State Libraries Walt Gurley, with the presence of Matthew Peterson. In addition to our group of students, other researchers and PhD students from different disciplines participated in this workshop. Discussions took place around examples of data visualization pieces created by participants of the workshop. Through those discussions, we tried to understand the meaning of data presented as well as any drawn conclusions of these visualizations. What does the creator want us to get from this visualization? In some cases, the creator’s intentions and the visual outcomes were surprisingly different and suggested alternative stories.

MGD Bulletin 2017


This workshop raised the question of legibility and how we can improve the legibility of data using visualization techniques. How do we adjust the visualization depending on the audiences with whom we are communicating? How do we speak to professionals of the field and, conversely, how do we speak to the public? What level of information is the most adaptable for specific audiences? Through the different talks, we also got a sense of how the standardization of the formatting of scientific publication is ultimately limiting the options for scientists to think innovatively and come up with more interesting and visually expressive data presentations. We can then ask ourselves: how do scientists and graphic designers work together to use the strengths of both fields and improve data visualization across disciplines? Scientists helping designers, keeping the truth of data, and designers helping with the improvement of legibility and access to the data. The question of accuracy and truth is important. Through our project we saw how easy it is to use data in a way that creates a totally different story. Lying done accidentally is relevant to the lack of accuracy and knowledge in the treatment of the data; while done intentionally, it shows how easy it is to manipulate data.

MGD at Duke. Second year MGDs were invited to present our data visualization explorations from last spring at the Duke Friday Forum. We presented to a research-based audience to demonstrate the potential of graphic design and creative data visualization. The projects we presented explored data visualizations of disparate datasets as a way of identifying correlations. While the projects explored unsubstantiated conclusions, they demonstrate the potential of visualization as a means to discover new relationships in the data. In addition, they open a discussion around designed data visualizations as a means to engage non-research audiences in understanding research.

Publish your s***. On November 18, MGD students had the pleasure of speaking with Elizabeth Guffey, Juanita and Joseph Leff Distinguished Professor at Purchase College, State University of New York. She is also the founding editor of Design and Culture Journal. She teaches and writes on topics of art and design history, theory, and criticism. In class we discussed the importance of publishing. We talked about what and when we should publish, the importance of these experiences when it comes to landing a [teaching position].


We Network

April Maclaga October 26, 2016 8:00 pm

Bree McMahon November 28, 2016 12:30 am

1. Elizabeth gave us quite a bit of valuable advice. I present them in list form because lists are more fun to read: • Don’t know where to publish? Look at journals you’ve used for your own research. • Publish your thesis! But you may need to slant it to be appropriate for the journal you are submitting to. • Practice framing your thesis into a 150-word abstract. • Hook your ideas up into the “bigger picture.” • Frequently send proposals to conferences and “Calls for Papers/Proposals” (CFPs). • Make it relevant! • Subscribe to ListServs such as Design Studies Forum. • Start small: write a review of a book or exhibition. • Submit to the RIGHT journal. • Carefully examine and read the top articles from specific journals and use that as a frame of reference when submitting. 2. Elizabeth also encouraged us to put together a taxonomy of journals. AKA a list. So while you’re visiting this blog, here’s what I got so far: • Design and Culture Journal • Design History Society • Design Research Society • Design Studies Forum • Journal of Design History • Journal of Modern Craft • Bulletins of the Serving Library 3. Elizabeth emphasized the four main qualities of scholarly work. Here’s one last list for you: • Significance. • Contribution. • Doability. • Readability. >

MGD Bulletin 2017


HA Helen Armstrong RF Russell Flinchum DGC Denise Gonzales Crisp DH Derek Ham DL Deborah Littlejohn MP Matthew Peterson ST Scott Townsend

Selected Faculty Activity 2016/17 Editor/ Board Member

Conference Presenter

Co-editor, Design and Culture Journal, “Design and Academe,” 2016. HA + ST

“The Shifting Landscape of Universal Design,” College Art Association, NY, 2017. HA + RF + ST

Editorial Board member, Dialectic. Review Editor, Communication Design. DL

“Art and Design at NC State University,” at the Mid-America College Art Association Conference, Cincinnati, OH, 2016. RF + DL

Editorial Board member, Design and Culture Journal. DGC Inaugural member, College Arts Association (CAA) Committee on Design. HA AIGA Board of DIrectors, 2017/19. HA Executive Board member, DesignInquiry. DGC

Visiting Lecturer “Designing for a Virtual Environment,” part of AIGA Cincinnati Design Week, OH, 2016. HA “How to Do Things with Pictures,” Boise State University, ID, 2017. MP “Circumstantial Methods in Graphic Design: A work in progress,” San Diego State University Design Week, CA, 2017. DGC “Social Pleasure and Design and Social Innovation: Work in Greece 2015-2017,” Swinburne University, Melbourne, AU, 2017. ST

“Dreaming in VR: A Virtual Reality Prototyping Workshop for Educators,” AIGA Design Educator’s Conference, Montana State University, MT, 2016. HA + DH

Exhibition/Exhibit Solo exhibitions at Ionion Center for Arts and Culture, Kefalonia, Ionion University Corfu, and Allatini-Dessault Gallery, Institut Francais Thessaloniki, GR, 2016/17. ST SXSWEdu 2017, interactive exhibit of Panoform, TX, DH

Workshop Leader “Improv Critique,” San Diego State University, CA; Illinois University Bloomington, IN; Michigan State University, MI, 2016/17. DGC “VR For Everyone,” Miami University, Oxford, OH, 2016. HA + DH


“Seeing Science: Communicating Data with Visual Communication,” multi-disciplinary panel discussion, NC State Libraries, 2016/17. DL “What Does That Say?,” designing for low-vision users, Drake University, Des Moines, IA, 2017. HA “Reinvisioning Wikipedia,” gaze-based navigation workshop with Brad Tober, Boston University, MA, at NC State, 2017. MP

Publication “How Designers Play: The Ludic Modalities of the Creative Process,” Design Issues, 2016. DH “Disciplining the graphic design discipline,” in Journal of Art, Design, and Communication in Higher Education, 2017. DL “Re-reading Design Methodology and the ‘Toolbox’ Metaphor,” Design and Culture, 2017. ST “Virtual Reality. No One Can Tell You, You Are Doing It Wrong. Yet,” Design Observer, 2017. HA “The Culture of Practice: Design-based Teaching and Learning,” co-author of a chapter in Taking Design Thinking to School, Routledge, 2017. DL

We Network

“Schemes for Integrating Text and Image in the Science Textbook: Effects on Comprehension and Situational Interest,” Intl. Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2016. MP

Principal Investigator “Visualization Tools for Communicating Community ‘Data Stories’” study for Institute of Emerging Issues, 2015/18. DL “The Virtual Apiary: Hands-on On-Line Beekeeping Education,” Co-PI with Dr. David Tarpy, NC State Entomology, 2016/17. DH

Other Good Things “Expanded Social Documentary: Strategies, Techniques & Experimental Forms,” Master Class Leader, Ionion Center for the Arts and Culture, Kefalonia, GR, 2016/17. ST Immersive Experience Lab, developing PanoForm, a virtual reality simulation tool for everyone. DH Society of Typographic Designers Jury member, The STD 100 Competition, Chicago, IL, 2016. DGC

EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Tim Allen  MID 2002 Partner Microsoft Design New York, New York

Angela Norwood  MGD 2002 Associate Professor York University Toronto, Canada

Andrew Blauvelt Director Cranbrook Art Museum Bloomfield Hills, Michigan Chair, Graphic Design and MGD Director, NC State, 1991–98

Dennis Pulhalla  PhD 2005 Professor University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, Ohio

Kyle Blue  BGD 2000 Co-Founder Everything Type Co. (ETC.) Brooklyn, New York Meredith Davis Professor Emerita NC State University Faculty, Chair of Graphic Design and MGD Director, variously, 1989–2015 Matthew Muñoz  MGD 2008 Chief Design Officer New Kind Raleigh, North Carolina

MGD Bulletin 2017

Stacie Rohrbach  MGD 2003 Associate Professor Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Martha Scotford Professor Emerita NC State University Faculty, 1981–2013 Danny Stillion  MGD 1992 Executive Design Director IDEO Palo Alto, California Jason Toth  MGD 2006 Experience Design Director Viget Durham, North Carolina


PROGRAM RESOURCES Department Head, Graphic Design and Industrial Design Tsai Lu Liu >

+1 919 515 8340 MGD Graduate Program Director Denise Gonzales Crisp >

+1 919 515 8361 College of Design Graduate Student Services Coordinator Richard Corley >

+1 919 515 8317 MGD Program >

MGD Student Publications Yes And > And So >

Graphic Design Faculty >

The Graduate School Admissions >

The Graduate School Financial Aid >


Editors, Designers: Denise Gonzales Crisp Matthew Peterson Typefaces: Founders Grotesk Text and Mono Feijoa Display, KLIM Type Foundry, AU Produced with support from: The Graduate School at NC State and The Department of Graphic Design and Industrial Design, College of Design Š2017 NC State University, College of Design Printed in USA by Four Colour Print Group, Louisville, Kentucky: 300 copies @ $5.95 each.

To request a print copy, email and include a name and mailing address.

“In the

2017 MGD Bulletin:

“A Year in the Making (and Thinking, and…) “Yes And… Incidentals and Yer Hubness “NOW NOW RESEARCH “Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics “Experiencing Food, Designing Dialogues “Literature Maps, and Why Design Researchers Need Them “We’ll Take the Ceiling,” A Real-Time Exhibit “Yes And… Now Now Research “INVESTED RESEARCH “Scientia potentia est: A Statement of Objective “The Shifting Landscape of Design “Territories of Graphic Design Research:…Big Data “So, You Want to Design in VR? “How Imagery Models Interpretation “Cyborg-Centered Design “Perceptions of One’s Self and Others in Virtual Reality “WE NETWORK “Yes And… We Network “2016/17 Faculty Activity