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On February 3, the Design Educators Community sponsored a panel as part of the 104th College Art Association Annual Conference in Washington D.C. Starting last year, the DEC is invited to organize a session as an affiliated organization. The topic was “Designers as Writers, Authors and Makers,” and provided three different perspectives and projects related to being a graphic designer and engaging with and crafting texts. This year, the panel included two former DEC Steering Committee members (previous co-chairs Helen Armstrong and Julie Spivey) and two current members (Ned Drew and session chair Kenneth FitzGerald).

In “type/image/structure: A Bookish Experiment in Collaborative Teaching,” Julie Spivey, Associate Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Georgia, related the process and products of three jointly-scheduled courses. Design majors came together with varied art majors in a book arts class, along with Photography majors in a special course devoted to photo books.

Professor Ned Drew of Rutgers University-Newark presented “Fulfilling the Aspirations of Designer as Author.” His initial contemplation of the idea of “designer as author” led to a collection of design artifacts—focusing on book cover design—and, ultimately, a collaborative letterpress children’s book with Brenda McManus.

Associate Professor of Graphic Design Helen Armstrong of North Carolina State University concluded the session with “The Digital Book: An Inquiry.” Her talk detailed the aspects of transforming a physical middle school textbook into a digital format.

The DEC welcomes suggestions for a panel presentation at next year’s CAA conference. Contact Steering Committee member Kenneth FitzGerald at with proposals or for more information.

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