2022 was supposed to be a quiet year; a year of settling in after last year’s big move and new job, not to mention the remaining lingering pandemic. Professionally, it was indeed a year for deepening in favor of the new but that was complicated by a series of personal changes in the second half of 2022 when we welcomed our second child and bought a home here in Raleigh. The end of the summer was spent preparing for the baby and coordinating contractors for a remodel before we moved in. The timing worked perfectly: we moved into our new house and three weeks later, we brought home a new baby. Needless to say, it’s been a good year.
It’s hard to believe but I’m already in my second year as an assistant professor at North Carolina State University. The year began with the Spring semester where I introduced and wrote a new class called “Publication and Distribution.” The class operated as a sorta-hybrid seminar and studio where we spent a lot of time reading about the histories, theories, and futures of publishing while also enacting these ideas through experimental projects. I brought in a handful of guests (via Zoom) like Paul Soulellis, Sara de Bondt, and Andrew LeClair to speak about their practices and thinking. The class was a blast (for me, at least) and built upon a lot of the thinking and work I’ve been doing the last few years. It was a nice space to test some ideas and get a group of smart students together to work through them. I’m teaching it again this Spring and am excited for round two.
At the beginning of December, I stepped away from my role as contributing editor at Eye on Design. What started as a three month contract in 2020 turned into a two and half year engagement that proved to be one of the most intellectually stimulating activities of my recent professional life. I am forever grateful to my colleagues there — Liz Stinson, Meg Miller, Maddy Morley, and Zac Petit — all of whom made me a better editor and a better writer. This year, I got to commission, edit, and publish a variety of stories, essays, and interviews like Rick Poynor’s piece on Ed Fella, Nika Simovich Fisher’s essay on early 2000s web design, George Kafka’s look at online exhibitions, Saha Hammari’s personal essay on how social media changed design, Rachel Berger’s look at John Updike’s cover designs, Jacquelyn Orgorchukwu Iyamah’s look at white bias in interface design, among others. Eye on Design has one more project I’m involved with — that I spent the most of my time on these last few months — but let’s not talk about that until next year. :)
As for my own writing, I published two major essays on Eye on Design this year including the AIGA Medalist biography for this year’s winner Andrew Blauvelt and a long exploration on the intersections of cults and branding. Both of these were fun to work on and related to so many of my interests. The cult piece, especially, was one I’d been thinking about for years and it was nice to finally get that out in the world. The biography of Blauvelt, too, was special. Blauvelt is a figure who means a lot to me and has served as model of sorts for the kind of career in design I want to have. To tell his story — and in a subtle way, frame it within my own interests — was a fascinating writing challenge. Additionally, I published a handful of interview on Eye on Design this year including with Sara de Bondt about Belgian graphic design, Kevin Finn about the the Australian design journal Open Manifesto, and designer Morgan Crowcroft-Brown about the art of designing photobooks. Eye on Design also republished my interview with designer and educator Lucille Tenazas about design education that was originally published in 1, 10, 100 Years of Form, Typography, and Interaction at Parsons, the book I edited last year. I also moderated a panel on books and branding for EoD, for one of our online web events, an edited transcript of which we republished this fall.