The Vignelli Center’s Design Conversations Podcast features informal discussions with accomplished designers and educators about their work, careers, philosophies, and interests. These design leaders’ perspectives provide thoughtful insight into the state of design. Vignelli Center projects have also been discussed on Intersections: The RIT Podcast


Intersections: The RIT Podcast, episode 28

Since 2010, Metaproject has paired RIT student designers with a client in what has become a signature project for the university’s internationally-ranked Industrial Design program. Vignelli Distinguished Professor of Design Josh Owen, founder of Metaproject, talks with Vignelli Center Founding Director R. Roger Remington about a decade of connecting students to industry.

Episode 1: Marcia Lausen

Using her work in election design reform for the AIGA Design for Democracy initiative, as well as case studies from Studio/lab and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) School of Design, Marcia Lausen has demonstrated ways to harness the power of design to bring about positive change.

Lausen is the director of the School of Design at UIC and founder of the Chicago office of Studio/lab. At UIC, Lausen leads a renowned faculty of professional designers variously engaged in contemporary interdisciplinary theory and practice. At Studio/lab, she and her colleagues integrate four areas of communication design practice: identity, information, publication, and environment. Following the 2000 presidential election, Lausen played a leading role in Design for Democracy, a national election design reform initiative of AIGA. Her book of the same title was published in 2007 by the University of Chicago Press. Lausen was named a 2004 Fast Company Master of Design and a 2010 Fellow of AIGA. In 2015, she received the AIGA Medal.

Episode 2: Peter Laundy

Peter Laundy is a communication designer with well over 20 years of experience working on innovation projects and programs. Most of these years were spent at Doblin, an innovation strategy firm now owned by Deloitte. His typical roles included distilling initial user research, taking a lead in conveying research insights, facilitating project team work sessions, taking a lead in depicting innovation concepts, and testing them with stakeholders.

Since leaving Doblin in 2014, Laundy has focused on working with organizations whose missions he admires, such as the Center for Neighborhood Technology, Brockman Family Farms, and the Center for Collaborative Healthcare Design, as well as on his own website, mimiculture, which is dedicated to covering a topic of special interest to him: innovation in restorative agriculture.

A graduate of Princeton and the Yale School of Art, Laundy spent his formative career in New York working for the late design icons George Nelson and Massimo Vignelli, as well as hanging out his own shingle at Laundy Rogers Design. From 1996-2010, he was an adjunct professor at IIT’s Institute of Design.

Episode 3: Alan Heller

Alan Heller is an international furniture manufacturer with production in the U.S. and Europe. Incorporated in 1971, Heller's first product was a line of stacking dinnerware designed by Massimo Vignelli. Winner of a Compasso d'Oro award in Italy, it is included in New York’s Museum of Modern Art permanent design collection.

Heller launched its furniture division in 1998. The Bellini Chair (1998), designed by Mario Bellini, won the Compasso d'Oro ADI 2001. More chairs have followed: The UltraBellini Chair (2006), the MB 1, MB 2, and MB 5 (2003), and Tavollini (1999), all by Mario Bellini; the new Arco (2006) by Mario Bellini and Claudio Bellini; Calla (2002) by Willliam Sawaya; Selene (1969/2002 reissue) by Vico Magistretti; Joe (1970/2003 reissue) by De Pas, D'Urbino and Lomazzi; The Frank Gehry Furniture Collection (2004) by Frank Gehry; The Vignelli Chair (2004) by Lella and Massimo Vignelli; Kiss (2004) by Studio 65; Bocca (1971/2004 reissue) by Studio 65; Capitello (1971/2004 reissue) by Studio 65; UltraCube (2006) by Frank Gehry; and The New Gaudi (2007) by Vico Magistretti.

Episode 4: Norman Ives

Well known as a painter, printmaker, graphic designer, and publisher of portfolios of prints and photographs, Norman Ives was born on March 23, 1923, in the Panama Canal Zone. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1950 and from the Yale School of Art in 1952.

A faculty member of the Yale School of Art since 1952, Ives was made professor of graphic design in 1974. He had also been visiting professor of graphic design at the Royal College of Art in London, University of Hawaii, and Rhode Island School of Design. Ives was active in book and magazine design, and in 1958 he went into partnership with Sewell Stillman in a firm that published portfolios of work by Walker Evans, Ad Reinhardt, Herbert Matter, and others. He also designed two major publications by Josef Albers: “Interaction of Color” in 1963 and “Formulition: Articulation” in 1972.

Episode 5: Little Angels of Honduras

Due to a lack of resources, technology, and physical space in the country’s largest public hospital, Escuela Hospital, infants are suffering brutal injustices. Chief neonatologist Dr. Alejandro Young addresses the problem of infant mortality in Honduras and at Escuela Hospital. Missionary Katie Castro discusses the deep gaps she and her husband discovered in newborn healthcare and share the story of establishing the not-for-profit organization Little Angels of Honduras. Healthcare designer Christian Perry presents the organization’s solution for battling maternal-infant health by developing a strategic 4,200-square-foot addition to Escuela Hospital, which would drastically decrease infant mortality by simply providing more physical space.

Episode 6: Keith Godard

Keith Godard is a British-born graphic artist and designer who practices in New York City. He is the principal artist at StudioWorks.

Godard was born in London during World War II. His father was a heraldic engraver. In 1951, his father took him to the Festival of Britain, which exposed him to 1950's modern design by the work of FHK Henrion, Abram Games, James Gardiner, and the architecture of the “Dome of Discovery” and the “Skylon.” He studied and graduated from the London College of Printing and Graphic Art in 1962 and continued his studies on a full scholarship from the London County Council for an MFA, majoring in graphic design at Yale University’s School of Art and Architecture in 1967.

His first employment was with George Him, a Polish designer and illustrator. He then worked for Town Magazine, where he was responsible for typographic layouts. He briefly worked for The Weekend Telegraph Magazine from 1964-1965 before going to Graduate School at Yale University. After graduation, Godard worked at Fortune Magazine for six months.

Godard, with Craig Hodgetts, Bob Mangurian, and Lester Walker, formed Works design Group in 1968. Their first design was the Creative Playthings store. Godard designed the graphics component. 

From 1975 to 1985, he worked with new partners, Hans van Dijk and Stephanie Tevonian. During that tenure he designed, in collaboration with Edwin Schlossberg, the Macomber Farm outdoor exhibit, The Brooklyn Bridge Centennial Exhibition, The U.S. Custom House Pavilion, “In the Picture” for the Jewish Museum, aspects of The P.T. Barnum Museum exhibits, Manhattan Children's Museum installation “Children's Art from Armenia,” and four traveling exhibits for United Nations Agencies.

In 1986, Godard established StudioWorks, where he is the principal designer, specializing in exhibition design, wayfinding, and public art. He designed and built “Steel, Stone and Backbone, Building NYC Subways 1900-1925” for the Brooklyn Transit Museum and signage systems for the Lincoln Center and banners for the Lincoln Center and signage for Cornell University Performing Arts Center for architect Sir James Stirling. “Memories of Twenty Third Street,” a mosaic mural for the MTA, Arts for Transit installed in Subway Station on the R line in 2003. 

From 2000 until 2009, Godard designed a series of die-cut architecture lecture posters for the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. In 2015, he designed scannable graphics for apps in print and mural forms. 

Episode 7: Michael Burke

Michael Burke is a British graphic designer and educator. He has taught extensively in Germany, namely at the HFG Schwabish Gmund. He was on the design team for the Munich Olympic Games with Otl Aicher. He has also been a visiting lecturer at RIT’s Vignelli Center for Design Studies.

Episode 8: Steven Heller

Steven Heller wears many hats (in addition to the New York Yankees): For 33 years he was an art director at The New York Times, originally on the OpEd Page and for almost 30 of those years with The New York Times Book Review. Currently, he is co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author Department, Special Consultant to the President of SVA for New Programs, and writes the Visuals column for The New York Times Book Review.

Episode 9: Mark Jamra

Professor of Graphic Design Mark Jamra has designed and produced typefaces for more than 30 years. His lettering and typefaces have been widely exhibited and have received awards from the Association Typographique International and the Type Directors Club. He owns TypeCulture® LLC, an independent digital type foundry and academic resource, and has served as a typographic consultant to the Hewlett‐Packard Research Laboratories in Bristol, England, and to URW Software & Type GmbH in Hamburg, Germany. He earned his BFA from Kent State University and completed his graduate studies at the School of Design in Basel, Switzerland.

Episode 10: Joe Doucet

Joe Doucet is a designer, artist, entrepreneur, and inventor who lives and works in New York City.

Doucet was born in Houston, Texas, to an artist mother and an ironworker father. He grew up in the city of Terrell, Texas. In 1999, Doucet completed his studies at Art Center College of Design in the field of communication design.

Doucet began his career in advertising, working primarily as a graphic designer for which he has received numerous awards. His portfolio encompasses furniture, consumer electronics, corporate identity, jewelry, fashion, technology, children's toys, photography, renewable energy, and architecture. In 2016, Doucet launched Othr, a homewares brand that collaborates with designers to create new products technologies like 3D printing.

Episode 11: Philip Burton

Philip Burton is a professor and studied at Kunstgewerbeschule, Basel, and has a BFA in graphic design from Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts).

Burton has been instrumental in developing the University of Illinois at Chicago’s graphic design program. Since joining the faculty in 1989, he has established a pedagogical foundation that prioritizes the rigorous study of essential and timeless design components. 

At the invitation of the University of Houston, Philip began his academic career in 1975, becoming head of the design program in only six months. During his time in Houston, he also taught in the Qualifying Graduate Program in the School of Architecture at Rice University. Together with Alvin Eisenman, Paul Rand, Bradbury Thompson, and Armin Hofmann, he taught graduate and undergraduate design students in the School of Art at Yale University over the next nine years. Between 1975 and 1996, he served as a coordinator and core faculty member in the five-week summer design workshop in Brissago, Switzerland, directed by Armin Hofmann. Other core faculty included Paul Rand, Herbert Matter, Pierre Mendell, Richard Sapper, and Wolfgang Weingart.

Burton was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Graphic Arts in 2003 and awarded the Julius Adams Stratton Prize for Intercultural Achievement by the Friends of Switzerland/Boston in 2016. In addition to his career as an educator, Philip has maintained an active freelance design practice. Recent clients have included SilverPepper Hedge Fund, The McKinsey Quarterly and Aviation Capital Management. Since 1992, he has served as design consultant to Morningstar, Inc., a global financial investment research company headquartered in Chicago. 

Episode 12: Inge Druckrey and Hans Allemann

Inge Druckrey received her state diploma in graphic design from the Kunstgewerbeschule, Basel, Switzerland, in 1965. She was a student of Armin Hofmann and Emil Ruder. Her education included studies in art history and languages at the University of Basel. From 1965 to 1966 she was a designer at the Agency Halpern in Zürich, Switzerland. She is married to the celebrated political scientist and theorist of information design Edward Tufte.

From 1966 to 1968, Druckrey taught at the Kansas City Art Institute, from 1968 to 1970 at the Werkkunstschule in Krefeld, Germany, from 1971 to 1973 at Philadelphia College of Art, from 1973 to 1995 at Yale School of Art, from 1984 to 1985 (part-time) at University of Hartford, from 1987 to1994 (as visiting critic) at Rhode Island School of Design, and from 1994 to 2010 at University of the Arts. In 2007, Druckrey was honored with the Mary Louise Beitzel Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Druckrey has done freelance work for both European and American clients including Scholastic Inc., the Schoenberg Institute, IBM, New Jersey Transit, the University of Hartford, the Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology, the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, and the Porcelain Manufactory Fuerstenberg, Germany.

Her work has been published in Graphis, Industrial Design, Design Quarterly, The 20th Century Poster, The Thames & Hudson Encyclopedia of Graphic Design and Designers, Graphic Design-World Views (Icograda), and is included in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and Museum für Gestaltung.

In 2012, Andrei Severny made a documentary film about Inge Druckrey's work called “Teaching to See.” The film was produced by Edward Tufte.

Druckrey is currently working on a book on early 20th century influences on typography and type design.

Hans Allemann joined the faculty in graphic design at the University of the Arts in 1973 and has been instrumental in the shaping of the department's core programs. He served as chairman from 1976-1979. He has lectured on graphic design and design education both here and abroad. 

Together with two partners, he formed the firm of Allemann Almquist & Jones in 1984, a design and strategic communications consultancy involved in the planning, design and production of visual communications for print, the environment, and electronic media. The work of Allemann and his firm has been recognized by leading professional organizations and publications worldwide. Several of his posters are in the permanent collections of the Design Museums Basel and Zurich, Switzerland; Brno, Czech Republic; National Design Archive at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) New York, USA, and the Design Collection of the National Library of France, Paris, France. Most recent honors include Allemann's induction into the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) in 1998 and the receipt of the AIGA Fellows Award in 2000.

As an adjunct professor since 1985, Allemann has been primarily involved in the teaching of senior project courses, studies aimed at preparing students to confront the theoretical and pragmatic issues involved in communication design.