Kent State University

Jessica Barness
Jessica Barness

Jessica Barness is an Associate Professor in the School of Visual Communication Design at Kent State University. Her research resides at the intersection of design, humanistic inquiry, and interactive technologies, investigated through a critical, practice-based approach. She is also involved in ongoing projects connecting sound studies and design. As an educator, she focuses on interdisciplinary projects that connect communication design with the areas of architecture, museum studies, entrepreneurship, and the sciences.

Jordan Kauffman, Kent State University
Jordan Kauffman

Jordan Kauffman is a graphic designer that is experienced in both designing for print & web. Particularly interested in design for the social good and the integration of design and education. He is always looking for new projects & opportunities, and is passionate about education and believe that it is a life long commitment, not something that you just do in school. Jordan believes in design for the social good, meaning he strives to do design work that benefits others.

Josh Graef
Josh Graef

Josh Graef is a current environmental design student and prospective industrial design student at Kent State University.

Josh Graef is a multidisciplinary maker and builder. He is passionate about making things, solving problems and working with great people. He is currently studying Visual Communication Design at Kent State University. He intends to continue his education in graduate school, studying Industrial Design.

Let's talk! [email protected]

Nicole Neauman, Ken State University
Nicole Neuman

Nicole Neuman is a recent graduate of Kent State University with a BA in Visual Communication Design. Nicole enjoys working with others on collaborative pieces, solving problems, and coming up with great design solutions. She is well versed in many areas of design including environmental graphic design, and motion design. She has also recently discovered a passion for photography and enjoys experimenting with movement and abstract compositions.

Justin Morken, Kent State University
Justin Morken

Justin Morken attends Kent State University, where he is pursuing a master's degree in User Experience (UX) design and where he maintains a 4.0 GPA. Justin previously obtained a bachelor's degree from the Metropolitan State University in music, communications, and cultural studies.

Molly Lawrence, Kent State University
Molly Lawrence

Molly Lawrence is a Cleveland-based illustrator and designer. She studied at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she received her BFA in illustration. Currently, she is an adjunct instructor of graphic design and illustration in the school of Visual Communication Design at Kent State University and is an MFA candidate studying graphic design, illustration, and environmental graphic design.

View Molly Lawrence's portfolio at

Rachel Kozy

Rachel Kozy is currently a senior at Kent State University pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication Design. Although she loves all aspects of design, she is especially interested in branding and typography. She is a passionate, hard-working designer who loves collaborating with others. She has interned with MTV in New York City and Go Media in Cleveland, Ohio and is always looking for new opportunities to meet and work with others.

Connect with Rachel Kozy:

Katie Panneton, Kent State University
Katie Panneton

Kate Panneton is graphic designer at Kent State University Office of Student Media

Hello! I am a junior at Kent State University pursuing a BFA in Graphic Design with minors in Advertising and Photo-Illustration. I am a visual learner who loves to make people happy. I take pride in all the work I do and will stop at nothing to satisfy those I design for. Communication, time management and good work ethic are all very important when it comes to being a successful designer. Everyday is a new learning experience in which I consume to make myself a better designer.

Ann Klewer, Kent State University
Ann Klewer

Ann Klewer is a creative and active thinker who enjoys working independently and collaborating with fellow designers. Communication, good work ethic, in-depth research, timeliness and strategy are elements of the design business and she strives to challenge myself to develop these qualities toward a higher level everyday.

Allison Frasier, Kent State University
Allison Frasier

I'm Allison Frasier and I am a Graphic Designer with a passion for all things creative. I am currently attending Kent State University, and in May of 2015 I received my BFA in Visual Communication Design. When I'm not designing you can find me enjoying spicy food, fuzzy socks, good company, and of course Netflix. My positive outlook on life allows me to approach all projects with a smile, and embrace every challenge I am presented with.

Joshua Bird, Kent State University
Joshua Bird

Joshua Bird, Studio Assistant, is a Visual Communication Design student at Kent State University. Josh has been working in the Center for Teaching and Learning for 4 years. Because of his expertise in visual design, Mr. Bird is a powerful resource for providing feedback on classroom presentation design (including Prezi, Powerpoint, and Keynote), scholarly poster design, as well as other forms of visual communication. Joshua Bird is Kent State University’s TurningTechnologies liaison and provides support for its software and student hardware.

Pushing Design's Edges with Sound Interactions
Pushing Design’s Edges with Sound Interactions

School of Visual Communication Design
Kent State University

Sound is temporal, social, invisible, and physical. Though sound has long been part of design, it has not held a prominent place in our discourse. While design education has historically focused on visual communication, the ways we might create, select, and remix sound can positively influence a holistic approach to projects, transform the way we might speak to an audience, and play a role in shaping human experiences.

Hablamos Juntos Universal Health Care Symbols

"We Speak Together"

A groundbreaking research effort produces universal symbols for health-care settings—and underscores the value of evidence-based design.

Patients, family members, and other visitors entering the doors of a hospital or other health-care facility face a daunting environment. Between them and their final destination, they will encounter a series of obstacles: multiple elevator banks, long and often identical-looking corridors, complex routes to distant departments or buildings, and often, ineffective wayfinding signage.

Kent State University Wayfinding Research

Rethinking the Campus

A Kent State University study questions some long-held assumptions about urban wayfinding.

Wayfinding is a complex and site-specific discipline that is only taught by a handful of university-level design programs. A recent course offered at Kent State University not only adopted a research-based approach to teaching the discipline, but also charted new territory in the exploration of symbols, colors, and destinations used in urban wayfinding.

Kent State University
Kent State University

School of Visual Communication Design

VCD offers a personalized design education, allowing students to use theory and research to tackle unframed problems, shape future designers in and out of the classroom, and pursue individual investigation opportunities.



The Alesari project originated with a senior/graduate-level special topics environmental design course at Kent State University. Design students in David Middleton's class teamed with architecture students from the Illinois Institute of Technology and real estate MBA students from The DePaul Real Estate Center in Chicago. Teams of students from each of the three schools worked together in several interdisciplinary groups during the 15-week course, via weekly videoconferences and two in-person group meetings at IIT.

Kent State University Academic Athletic Center

The goal of this project was to create an environment that reflects both outstanding athletic and academic achievement. A collage of images represent each athletic program at the university. Complementing these images are action shots of various student athletes participating in each individual sport and a video display. Moving into the study area, viewers are able to follow an abstract time line honoring past Academic All-Americans and their achievements.

Sankofa Place

In consideration of the neighborhood's troubled past, coupled with a spirit of celebration for the various groups of people who moved through the area, and renewed interest in rebuilding the community, "connecting with one's history in order to move forward" became the concept for this site's branding and identity. In the same vein, "Sankofa," which comes from a West African Adinkrap symbol and translates into "learning from the past," was selected as the name for the new housing development.

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