Foundations of Design Research

After months of hard work, we are very excited to announce the publication of Foundations of Design Research on The course content was written and developed by Andy and his friend and colleague Peni Acayo. We are thrilled with the experience and results and excited to share our expertise with the world.

The course description:

With design research, designs are more meaningful and effective because they are grounded in a real-world context. The goal of this course is to introduce the process of design research and to help designers understand how critical it is to being able to develop great designs. Authors Peni Acayo and Andy Schwanbeck walk you through the various types of research (primary vs. secondary, quantitative vs. qualitative, etc.) so that you get a sense of which are appropriate for the job at hand. They also introduce research tools, planning considerations, and frameworks for presenting your results, such as personas and infographics. Plus, find out how research can directly inform your designs, using generative research, user testing, and rapid prototyping.

Topics include:

  • Using research to add value and credibility to design work
  • Understanding the different types of research
  • Choosing research tools
  • Creating a research plan
  • Presenting research
  • Using research to begin the design process

SEGD Academic Summit 2013

Andy and Miranda both had the opportunity to present research topics at the 2013 SEGD Academic Summit in San Francisco. Andy’s research focused on the impact of environmental graphics on struggling neighborhoods within and urban context. Miranda’s research presented the outcome of a cross-disciplinary course, which was a collaboration between the graphic and interior design departments of La Roche College. The full projects can be seen here, with the other presentations in the SEGD Academic Summit document.

East Liberty Interpretive Study

Study Abstract:

This project explores the value that environmental graphic design elements can create to help promote and improve the perceptions of a neighborhood within a segregated urban landscape.

Urban segregation occurs when a city’s diversities create perceived barriers around concentrated clusters of social groups. When these divisions are extreme enough, communities become shut off from the rest of the city and often fall into a perpetual cycle struggle and degradation. Research has shown that the success of a neighborhood relies in its ability to connect with other neighborhoods and economies throughout a city. It also demonstrates that cross-participation enhances the overall capacity of a community to operate both socially and economically. In a segregated city, there is an opportunity to use environmental graphic design elements to help improve the perceptions of a divided neighborhood and reconnect it back to the greater city population.

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