VCD/KSU Graduate Program

Graduate student blog /

Check out what is happening in the graduate studio

Design for Good: Supporting great causes: from Education Enrichment to Water & Sanitation

AIGA Cleveland and the School of Visual Communication Design at Kent State University invite you to an evening event to discuss socially responsible design concepts in our community and abroad. This event supports the Design For Good national AIGA initiative, which provides a platform to build and sustain the implementation of design thinking for social change.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Ken Hejduk, Partner and Creative Director of Little Jacket. Ken will share Little Jacket’s work with Open Doors Academy, an education enrichment program that supports children through middle school, high school, college and life. He will be discussing the role that the students play in the design process, and how that interaction has allowed Little Jacket to help the organization fulfill its mission.

Ken’s presentation will be followed by a group of KSU/VCD graduate students who will be sharing their efforts to improve the W.A.S.H. curriculum, the most broadly used tool for teaching basic water safety, sanitation, and hygiene around the world.

For registration, visit:

Non-members: $15
Student Non-members: $5
Members: $10
Student Members: Free


Thursday, April 24, 2014
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative
1309 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, OH 44115

VCD Students collaborating in improvement of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene program in Africa and South East Asia

This year, the VCD MFA Candidates are taking part in a joint effort with communication agency Rule29. Led by Professor Ken Visocky O’Grady, The project focuses on the improvement of the WASH curricula developed by LifeWater International. WASH is a program that looks for the fulfillment of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene needs for an adequate and sustainable standard of living and its part of the Millennium Development Agenda of UNICEF.

Graduate students are tackling this problem by following structured methods of research that include interviews, photo ethnography, and literary review of the material available on the WASH program. Due to the importance of this program and the hugeimpact it has on adults and children all over the world, students have immersed in understanding the main issues the current curricula has by doing self ethnography and teaching to their peers parts of the WASH program.
At the moment, a research summary is being developed and will be presented to the academic community including the director of Kent State VCD school AnnMarie Leblanc during the third week of October. Following the presentation of their findings, the VCD Graduate students will start woking on developing several prototypes of the new curricula during the second part of the fall semester of 2013, and have scheduled testing their prototypes in the first quarter of 2014 in communities in Subsaharan Africa in collaboration with the team of LifeWater International.

More information on the advancements and findings of this research will be posted in this blog in the following weeks.

Design For Good

Why I (a non-designer) am attending this event. A guest post by Anne Dudley

I help people plan events almost every day. I plan them in groups, I plan them myself, I promote them and sometimes, I even attend them. I’ve learned that if an event is planned well enough, the planner often doesn’t even need to be present. And there are so many events to choose from, skipping out can seem preferable.

But this event is different.

I am attending Design for Good: Empowering a Better Future from Africa to Cleveland because I want to learn about creative problem solving. I want to see how a few people impacted many.

This year, I’ve learned that at the root of great design is an understanding of a problem very well. But it’s not only the problem; it’s everything around the problem, too. It’s the stakeholders, the influencers, the culture, the relevance and maybe even the humor.

A small group of students were given a problem existing across an ocean, in a different language, under a different government and healthcare system. They weren’t given a creative brief, any money or even a Swahili for Dummies book.

And they still made an impact.

People believe things they want to believe, and seek information to support their existing beliefs. If you already know that design can solve a world of problems, you might think you don’t really need to attend this event. I disagree. Attend this event to get out of your own box. Attend it to support the project’s cause itself, Malaria prevention. Attend it to connect or reconnect.

VCD and AIGA Cleveland invite all interested do-gooders, designers and thoughtful professionals to the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative on April 18 at 6:30 for happy hour and three Design for Good presentations from VCD graduate students and Justin Ahrens, of Rule29, who will discuss his work with Life in Abundance. For more information click here.

News /

Check out what is happening in the graduate studio

Collaborative Fashion Photography Exhibit Debuted in Rockwell Hall

Fashion Photography, a photography exhibit by Bryan Rinnert, Master of Fine Arts in Visual Communication and Design candidate and VCD adjunct professor, is on display in the Rockwell Hall Atrium, first and second floors until the end of Fall 2013 Semester. A public show was held on Sept. 20. The exhibit is a joint effort between Rinnert and several faculty and administrators in the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising at Kent State University.

Design for Good: Empowering a better future from Africa to Cleveland

AIGA Cleveland and the School of Visual Communication Design at Kent State University invite you to an evening event to discuss socially responsible design concepts in our neighborhood and abroad.
Click here to view the entire article

Graduate Student Daniel Echeverri to present at the Designing Design Education for India (DDEI) Conference

Echeverri’s paper focuses on students of difference design disciplines, like fashion, architecture, urban, working together in the same class.
Click here to view the entire article

Alumna Interns for NASA

Aimee Crane, alumna of the Master of Fine Arts in the School of Visual Communication Design (VCD) at Kent State University and current internship coordinator for the School, recently served as an intern at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Crane followed fellow master’s alumnus Jason Goupil and current graduate student Adina Feigenbaum in the internship program, which is an initiative of Cleveland State University that was started by Jennifer Visocky-O’Grady, Kent State alumna and chairperson of the Art Department at Cleveland State University.
Click here to view the entire article

Get Out and Vote Posters

Students in Bob Kelemen’s Type High Press class designed posters around the topic of voting for the upcoming Presidential Election. Kelemen’s assignment charged students to create a non-partisan poster encouraging students on the Kent campus to vote. The posters will be hung around campus before Election Day.
Click here to see the posters

VCD Alumni LinkedIn Group

Need to network? Connect with more than 200 VCD Kent alumni from across the country. Join the Visual Communication Design at Kent State University LinkedIn group now!
Click here to join

Prototypes tested in South Sudan

See the videos of our design prototypes being tested in Rumbek South Sudan. Various healthcare communication pieces were designed from our spring 2012 graduate studio course. Last summer they traveled to location in Africa for some real feedback directly from the field.
Click here to learn more.

Graduate Studio - NFP Collaboration

Students will be assisting Neighborhood Family Practice of Clevelend to better serve their community by helping to identify their audience and developing effective ways to communicate to them.
Click here to learn more.

AIGA - Design for Good

AIGA Kent and AIGA Cleveland teamed up to provide KSU VCD students an opportunity to speak about their research studies last spring.
Click here to view the presentations.