My work often straddles the line between creative and academic disciplines. that fact usually prompts questions. Here are some of the most common ones I hear.
Rhetoric, Communication, and Information Design. In simplest terms, I study the nature of creative communication. I want to know how people make things on digital surfaces. I am especially interested in how that creativity can breathe life into all communities (not just those with money).
Not necessarily. I am not opposed to it, either. If you read the last paragraph you will see that I am interested in bringing creativity to everyday folks. This can be hard to do in the academy. Bottom line: I am always looking for opportunities to invigorate institutions by introducing critical thought and digital craftsmanship.
Absolutely. I think people outside of academia often misunderstand what it is and what it does. It trains you to ask precise questions and then to answer them systematically. My own education history is the evolution of a specific set of questions. I have always been interested in the why, how, and what of communicating. My career history is the outworking of those questions through practical design skills. So, what I can offer companies is an information designer who can convert ideas into digital content.
“Informing” means more than just transferring content from one person to another. It means to shape all the elements involved in that process. It means creating ideas as much as organizing them. This is apparent in the term itself: in-form. My specific research in design focuses on how digital design tools can be used in this shaping and forming.
I like to think of information design as akin to architecture. The architect surveys the landscape, takes account of available materials, and draws out living arrangements that might enable new experiences. Therefore, “information architecture” is a more robust discipline than the field it has been replaced by: UX design.
Many designers only commit to technical tools and rarely approach conceptual issues. I center my skills around critical reflection. Theory is not mere "head stuff." It is a way of seeing things. I spend time thinking through lines, shapes, and letters in hopes of seeing new routes for informational construction. Theory opens new questions and guides technical decisions.
I love the mountains. My ancestry begins just a few miles from where I live now. I grew up in the foothills of the Smokies and have always admired their permanence and age. These hills have fostered diverse creativity in jam, poetry, banjos, and clogging. At some point, creativity receded in the face of fabrication. Those crafts and heirlooms became punchlines in the industrial era. And—while Appalachia does have deep problems and painful memories for many—I identify those very issues with the loss of creativity. So, I try to recover it in this the digital age.
I like drawing but I am not too keen on photos. Sure, I appreciate the complexity of the craft but the drawn line, typographic symbols, and shape language drive my visual sensibility.
Hells yes. For starters, everyone loves playing with their kids. Include me in that group. I love to animate and draw. I watch sports but mostly to bicker and complain about logical inconsistencies. I goof around on the guitar. I am a glutton for conversation. I love whiskey but only drink from Tennessee. Bourbon is from Kentucky…we have a long-standing war over this issue. I will not be considered a traitor!