Design Educators Community

Announcing the Call for Submissions re: Dialectic’s FIFTH issue

May 17, 2018 / By Michael Gibson

Authors are invited to submit works for the FIFTH issue (volume 3, issue 1) of Dialectic, a biannual journal devoted to the critical and creative examination of issues that affect design education, research, and inquiry. Michigan Publishing, the hub of scholarly publishing at the University of Michigan, is publishing Dialectic on behalf of the AIGA Design Educators Community (DEC). The fifth issue will be published between March 15 and April 15, 2019. The deadline for full versions of papers and visual narratives written and/or designed that meet Dialectic Issue 05’s categorical descriptions (see below) is: 5:00 pm CDT, Friday, July 27, 2018.

Dialectic’s fifth issue seeks papers and visual narratives that critically examine, interrogate or reveal how and why design processes informed by various aspects of making have affected (or should affect) the workings of complex systems wherein people “actively participate in generating the content and quality of [their] experiences.” (excerpted from Armstrong, H., Blume, M., Chochinov, A., Davis, M. et al “The AIGA Designer of 2025,” published by AIGA, NY, NY, USA, 2017). Papers and visual narratives that explore design’s evolution from being rooted in the making of artifacts and messages to its expansion into making more human-centered endeavors rooted in experiences, services, interactions and even public policies are welcomed. Submissions are also encouraged that effectively document how design processes can or should affect collaborations that involve broadly informed, egalitarian conversations-cum-collaborations.

Dialectic’s Editorial Board hopes that AIGA DEC “MAKE” conference attendees will consider submitting papers based on their conference presentations and Proceedings publications. We also invite other design educators, researchers and practitioners who wish to share scholarship, research or criticism that aligns with the themes described above to submit their work for possible publication in our fifth issue.

Authors planning to contribute to this issue, be they conference attendees or others, are reminded that their work should be framed in one of the submission types described in the “categorical descriptions” section that appears later in this communiqué. All submitters are hereby notified that all work we publish MUST satisfy our editorial guidelines (, and MUST ABIDE BY FORMAL PARAMETERS SUCH AS WORD COUNTS (see below).

Each piece that Dialectic will publish must be based on fundamentally sound scholarship and inquiry, and be written or designed so that is broadly accessible, and focused on topics relevant to our audiences.

Questions to shape submissions for possible publication in Dialectic Issue 05

The fifth issue of Dialectic seeks papers and visual essays/narratives of interest to a diverse audience of design educators and practitioners. Example prompts for authors include (but are not limited to):

How can research informed by design effectively guide knowledge construction and understanding that help diverse groups effectively facilitate negotiation, especially when agendas conflict?

How can design decision-making processes effectively inform and guide the collaboration and management of interdisciplinary teams?

How can designers best initiate and sustain roles for themselves as curators of events that occur across digitally mediated environments in ways that foster community building?

How can designers design, operationalize and analyze their making processes, and then share knowledge derived from these, to help fuel critical thinking and overcome narrowly informed assumptions and biases?

How can designers involve collaborators from outside design in projects and initiatives that help organizations evolve working practices and procedures from “where they are now (and have been)” to “where they wish (and need) to go in the future.”

Dialectic’s web address for submissions:

Submitters are hereby advised to peruse the contents of the entire Dialectic website to ensure that their submissions meet ALL of Dialectic’s criteria for publication BEFORE they submit work for consideration. Reading the rest of this communiqué CAREFULLY and THOROUGHLY is also STRONGLY encouraged.

Dialectic’s inaugural issue/”Issue 01” was published in March of 2017 and is available online at (, or as an online entity

Dialectic’s second issue/“Issue 02” was published in November of 2017 and is available online at (,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=detail), or as an online entity at or

Dialectic’s third issue/“Issue 03” will be published in June of 2018

All submissions to Dialectic MUST be made through the “Submittable” website hosted by Michigan Publishing listed above. Please DO NOT attempt to send any type of submission as an e-mail attachment to any of Dialectic’s Editorial Board members, its Producer, its AIGA DEC liaisons, or members of its Advisory Committee. Instructions for formatting ALL types of submissions are embedded (per category) in this submittable website. Submissions that are NOT formatted according to these instructions will be rejected. All submissions must be created in keeping with the editorial policy of Dialectic, which is articulated here:

Categorical descriptions of the type of content Dialectic publishes

Dialectic will publish visual essays/narratives and papers that satisfy the following categorical descriptions:

Original visual essays/visually based narratives/visual storytelling: Dialectic invites submissions from designers or teams of designers that are comprised primarily or solely of imagery (photography and/or illustrations), typographic structures, “type-as-image,” or some combination of these that visually communicate one or more types of narrative/storytelling. The logistical criteria specified in the “Illustrations, Graphics, and Photos” section of the “2016-17 Submissions Guidelines for Dialectic” document must be met (re: image resolutions, physical sizes, bleeds, etc.), and submissions that are assessed by the Editorial Board and/or external reviewers to be visually compelling and conceptually provocative will be considered for publication, pending the availability of page space in a given issue.

Research papers (3,000 to 6,500 words): These articles will recount how designers and design teams identified a situation that was problematic, formulated and operated research to understand the various factors, conditions and people involved that were affecting the situation, and then used their analysis of the data gathered from this research to guide design decision-making toward improving this situation. This type of writing should be grounded in evidentiary processes, and should clearly explicate a hypothesis, as well as posit and support a methodology and some form of a measurable data set.

Long-form case study reports or case series reports (3,000 to 6,500 words): These articles will describe how a particular person, group, project, event, experience or situation has been studied and analyzed, using one or more methods, during a specific span of time. These contributions should posit insights that exist as logical subsets of a larger category, and that are at least tangentially generalizable to the category. A case series report collectively describes how a group of individuals have responded to a particular type of treatment, experience or interaction. They can be used to help analyze and assess the responses of a cross-section of individual users to one or more iterations of an interface design, or an environmental graphics or wayfinding system, or a series of data visualizations.

Position papers (2,000 to 4,500 words): These essays will present the readership of Dialectic with an opinion—of the author, or of a specified group of people or organization—about an issue or set of issues in a way or ways that make particular values and the belief systems that guide them known.

Design criticism (as long-form essays of between 2,000 and 3,000 words): The goal of these pieces is to critically analyze design decision-making, and the affects that making and using what has been designed have on the operation and evolution of social, technological, economic, environmental and political systems.

Reviews of books, exhibitions, conferences, etc. (750 to 1,500 words): These shorter articles are written to critically analyze the efficacy of the structure, content, style, and relative merit of their particular subjects in ways that combine the author’s personal reactions and arguments to it with his/her assessment of how effectively it fulfilled or failed in its purpose.

Survey papers (2,000 to 3,000 words): These pieces are written to clearly summarize, organize, and analyze a select, topical grouping of scholarly articles, research papers, or case studies in a way that integrates and adds to the understanding of the work in a given discipline or field of study.

Theoretical speculations (3,000 to 6,500 words): These contributions will consist of attempts by their authors to explain a particular phenomenon, set of circumstances, or situational construct based on their ability to utilize observations rather than hard evidence to fuel speculative thoughts and suppositions. These contributions should be grounded in a viable paradigm, or use theory as a viable justification for what has been observed, and should be internally coherent and advance logical conclusions.

Editorial responses from Dialectic readers (750 to 1,200 words): Dialectic encourages its readers to submit critical responses to specific articles, editorials, or visual pieces that have been published in previous issues. Authors are also welcome to bring any issues that they believe are pertinent to the attention of Dialectic’s readership. Editorial commentary relative to specific published articles and pieces will be sent to their author(s) so they can respond.

Important dates:

The deadline for full versions of papers and visual narratives written and/or designed that meet Dialectic Issue 03’s categorical descriptions is: 5:00 pm CDT, Friday, July 27, 2018.

Initial/Desk reviews of submissions to Dialectic Issue 02 complete: August 20, 2018

External reviews of submission to Dialectic Issue 02 complete: October 1, 2018

Authors responses/revisions to external reviewers’ suggestions re: their manuscripts due: October 29, 2018

Dialectic Issue 05 published: March 15–April 15, 2019

Dialectic’s managing editor:
Keith M. Owens, The University of North Texas

Dialectic’s producer and primary developmental editor:
Michael R. Gibson, The University of North Texas

Dialectic’s editorial board:
Anne Burdick, Art Center
Heather Corcoran, Washington University at St. Louis
Kenneth FitzGerald, Old Dominion University
Deborah Littlejohn, North Carolina State University
Keith M. Owens, The University of North Texas
Stacie Rohrbach, Carnegie Mellon University

Dialectic’s AIGA Design Educators Community liaisons:
Eric Benson, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Amy Fidler, Bowling Green State University
Michael R. Gibson, The University of North Texas

Dialectic’s advisory committee:
Kim Erwin, The Illinois Institute of Technology Institute of Design
Brockett Horne, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)
Ann McDonald, Northeastern University
Paul Nini, The Ohio State University
Elizabeth Resnick, Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt)
Holly Willis, The University of Southern California

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