Over the course of fifteen years, I have written curricula that has supported entirely new design programs (in 2005 and 2012) while teaching a breadth of coursework focused on undergraduate design education. Along with my colleagues Kelly Monico and Peter Bergman I was involved in two major curricular rewrites, the most recent in 2012 when MSU Denver instituted the new BFA in Communication Design degree with portfolio entrance requirements. Courses I have written and taught include: Typographic Syntax, Typographic Pragmatics, Integrated Production Techniques, Identity and Systems Design, Narrative Design, Dimensional Design, Community-Based Design I and II, Senior Experience: Portfolio Development, Senior Thesis, Communication Design Internship, History of Communication Design, Design Research Methods, and Studio M—our entreprenuerial student-operated design studio on campus.

The NASAD Accredited Communication Design Program at MSU Denver is one that emphasizes community outreach and service learning. Our Community-Based Design coursework embodies both of these aspects of design development allowing me to integrate my research in public interest design practices.

Brief descriptions of featured courses follow (learn more):

CDES 2225 Typographic Syntax: This course provides an introduction to the study of the letterform as a cornerstone of communication design. It focuses on how typography can be used as a communicative device as well as a graphic, compositional and expressive element. Areas explored include letterform anatomy, letterform analysis, measuring systems, typographic identification, and practical issues of setting and using type effectively.

CDES 2625 Typographic Pragmatics: This course explores visual problem solving by experimenting with typographic form, function, meaning, and aesthetics. Students refine their typographic skills while expanding conceptualization and intent within given assignments. Emphasis is on broadening the student’s ability to assert meaning through typography experimentation.

CDES 3225 Integrated Production Techniques: This course offers a more advanced study of typographic design with an emphasis on the production of design solutions for offset lithography and integrated media. Students design complex material that explores the function of typography in context. Prepress production techniques are applied to final design solutions allowing students to participate in the full scope of designing for print applications with online and time-based manifestations.

CDES 3623 Identity and Systems Design: This course focuses on the historical and contemporary development of identity marks, branding, and identity systems design. Students will investigate branding processes, create communicative identity marks, and apply an intentional system of thought to design strategy. Emphasis is on creating strong, clear conceptualization processes over a series of related communication pieces for a given identity problem.

CDES 3625 Narrative Design: This course explores designing for linear vs. non-linear narrative structures. Diverse design principles and ideaologies are covered. Exploration focuses on inventive formulation of form and content and may be two-dimensional, three-dimensional, or digitally-based.

Dimensional Design: This course challenges students to create solutions for various three-dimensionally oriented design problems.  Students experiment with notions of form, function, and visual communication as related to the exploration of packaging, wayfinding systems, exhibition design, or other related dimensional design problems. (no longer offered)

CDES 4100 and CDES 4101 Community-Based Design I and II: This course challenges students to formulate design solutions that function to create positive change in a given social environment.  By assessing the narrative history of people, places, events and issues that are regionally accessible, students create highly conceptual solutions that respond to social and cultural concerns within local communities.

CDES 3225 Design Research Methods: This course examines ways in which designers can conduct ethnographic research in order to produce relevant and meaningful visual communications solutions. Students learn how to harness meaning and potential in their work by applying investigative processes, formulations, and strategies while working in teams.

ARTH 3690 History of Communication Design: This course presents a comprehensive study of the global developments of visual communication throughout history beginning with the earliest of communication marks and extending to contemporary design issues. Learned content and design concepts will be applied to develop informed design sensibilities.

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