Creativity and Innovation

RIT is where creative potential is unleashed
and ideas become reality.

Whether it’s through university initiatives that inspire inventive ways for people to connect, offering places and spaces where imaginative ideas soar and makers redesign the future, or providing access to partnerships that fuse ingenuity with artistry and enterprise.

Students meeting in a lounge


on the list of “most innovative schools” according to U.S. News & World Report.


Key Facts


Pulitzer Prizes awarded to Photojournalism alumni


Annual visitors to Imagine RIT: Creativity and Innovation Festival


Nationally ranked programs in art, design, visual communication, and photography


100,000+ sq. ft. hub of creativity and innovation opening in 2023

Key Initiatives in Creativity and Innovation

Places and Spaces for Creativity and Innovation to Thrive

Student Hall for Exploration and Development (the SHED)

Launching in fall of 2023, the Student Hall for Exploration and Development (the SHED) will connect the Student Alumni Union with the Wallace Library to become the center for makers or doers on the RIT campus. The complex will include a black box theater, stages for performance groups, 24/7 open areas for project work, music practice rooms, a recording studio, new dining experiences, state-of-the-art classrooms, and central faculty meeting spaces.

MAGIC Spell Studios

Part commercial film production and media development studio and part academic laboratory, MAGIC Spell Studios is a 52,000-square-foot building for creative endeavors in film, animation, gaming, and more. Five state-of-the-art classrooms enable students to engage in hands-on learning in game design, 2D and 3D animation, and digital design. There is a 7,000-square-foot sound stage and post-production sound mixing and color correction facility suites for both educational and commercial productions. A tiered 40-seat color correction room doubles as a screening room.

Studio 930

A collaboration between the Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, Saunders College of Business, and the industrial design program of the College of Art and Design, Studio 930 is where many access and health technologies products have incubated and become reality.

The Construct

A makerspace where hobbyists and tinkerers can combine science, engineering, design, and tech know-how with infectious enthusiasm to create something new, bold, and inventive. Students have access to a variety of high-tech and low-tech equipment, including a CNC router and mill, laser cutters, 3D printers, drills, saws, soldering irons, electronic circuitry, and woodworking and metalworking supplies. All majors and skill levels are welcome, and the communal space can be used for self-directed projects, entrepreneurial ventures, and even tasks as seemingly mundane as fixing high-tech gadgets when they break.

Vignelli Center for Design Studies

An international hub for education, research, collaboration, and advocacy, the Vignelli Center for Design Studies is a world-class facility housing the archive of renowned designers Massimo and Lella Vignelli, whose graphic and product work are icons of international design. The center serves as a global design museum and premier educational resource, adding significant depth to RIT’s community of creators and innovators. It’s also a distinctive and accessible archival resource that creates a dynamic learning environment for RIT’s art and design students and a vibrant epicenter for international researchers.

Cary Graphic Arts Collection and other Archives

The Cary Graphic Arts Collection is one of the country’s premier libraries on graphic communication history and practices. It has grown into a comprehensive compilation of primary and secondary resources on the development of the alphabet and writing systems, early book formats and manuscripts, calligraphy, the development of typefaces and their manufacturing technologies, the history and practice of papermaking, typography and book design, printing and illustration processes, bookbinding, posters, and artists’ books.

RIT’s Galleries and Exhibition Spaces

A variety of gallery spaces, both on and off campus, feature the creative work of students, faculty, alumni, visiting artists, and more. Bevier Gallery is the main on-campus exhibition venue. RIT City Art Space, located in the heart of downtown Rochester, is RIT’s premier exhibition and event venue. University Gallery is a multipurpose space that serves as a prominent exhibition space and event venue for RIT and the greater Rochester communities. The William Harris Gallery is RIT’s primary venue for the interpretive display of photography, photo-based art, and moving media.

Creativity and Innovation News

Creative and Innovative People

Mike Battle ’02 (film and animation) has been watching The Simpsons for almost 30 years. For about half of that time, he has had a behind-the-scenes view of new episodes.

Patricia Moore ’74 (industrial design), an internationally renowned designer, gerontologist, and leading authority on consumer lifespan behaviors, received the prestigious Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in New York City in October.

Matt Taylor ’02 (film and animation-production option) was the co-supervising sound editor of a Warner Bros. sound team that won an Emmy Award for its efforts on Barry.

Adam Kubert, ’79, ’81 (medical illustration) is a comic book artist known for his work for publishers such as Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and DC Comics, including work on Ultimate X-Men, Ultimate Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, Wolverine, Spider-Man, and Superman. Kubert was rated by Wizard magazine as one of the “Hot 10 Writers and Artists” in the industry in 2008.

Glynis Sweeny ’84 (graphic design) is an illustrator and nationally recognized caricaturist who is known for lampooning political and business figures. She has illustrated for Time, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, The Village Voice, The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Atlantic, Fortune, Rolling Stone, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe.

Eric Avar ’90 (industrial design) is vice president of design innovation at Nike. He is the creator of some of Nike’s most innovative and award-winning designs, including the Kobe Bryant series of footwear.

Kwaku Alston ’94 (photographic illustration) is a celebrity and political photographer. His photos have included Hollywood stars like Will Smith and Robert Downey Jr., athletes like Shaquille O’Neal, and President Barack Obama and the First Family during the historic 2008 campaign for the U.S. presidency. His work includes editorial and advertising photography for Crate & Barrel, Coca-Cola, Target, Sports Illustrated, and Time.

William Snyder ’81 (photojournalism), professor in RIT’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences, is a four-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and the former director of photography for the Dallas Morning News.

Teresa Drilling ’83 (art and design) is a stop-motion animator recognized for her work on feature films including Coraline, Wallace & Grommit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and Chicken Run. Drilling has won two Primetime Emmy awards for her work. 

Brian Cantwell ’99 (film and animation) was part of a three-member team from Industrial Light & Magic who received an Academy Award for developing a system that enables high-fidelity facial performance transfer from actors to digital characters in large-scale productions.

Scott Vosbury ’04 (film and animation), Rich Enders ’02 (computer graphic animation), and Jen Stratton ’05 (film and animation) won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for their work on Life of Pi. The team, who works for Rhythm & Hues, a character animation and visual effects studio in Los Angeles, created the digital Bengal tiger and other special effects for the film.