UNT Research, Volume 18, 2009 Page: 38
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SOLUTIONS BY DESIGN
P Ljl SOLVES PROBLEMS
Whether it's through food labels designed to help Haitian farmers sell local goods
or through books designed to help blind and sighted people read together, faculty mem-
bers at UNT are leading efforts to make communication design more effective, efficient
and socially responsible.
Through their research, teaching and plans to build upon the university's strong
communication design program, they are helping change the lives of people in commu-
nities around the world.
"We're thinking strategically about design as a process that solves real problems,"
says Keith Owens, an assistant professor of communication design whose own research
is helping to improve the lives of farmers in Haiti.
M \K a\ AN IM\% \I
UNT's program - recognized by professional associations and others nationwide
as among the elite programs producing communication designers - is expanding its
efforts to provide even more learning and research opportunities for students.
Led by College of Visual Arts and Design Dean Robert Milnes, the faculty mem-
bers are creating plans for a proposed design research center in downtown Dallas. The
collaborative center would help forge relationships with businesses, allowing graduate
students to work on design problems with large corporations. Ultimately, the center will
provide students with more opportunities to give back to the community and work with
high-need areas or with impoverished areas of the country.
38 - SPRING 2009 UNT RESEARCH
Faculty in UNT's nationally recognized communication design program clockwise
from left, Jack Sprague, Michael Gibson, Eric Ligon, Michele Wong Kung Fong and
Keith Owens - are using design to solve real-world problems.
APPL IED RESEARCH
In UNT's proposed design research
center, researchers plan to focus on
corporate, government and philanthropic
efforts - solving problems for Dallas
businesses, earning government grants
to pursue research and helping nonprofit
organizations come up with effective
solutions. A rigorous review process will
determine just which projects the center
Once the projects are identified,
different interdisciplinary teams of experts
will come together to explore solutions.
For example, if the researchers are
charged with identifying ways to design
anti-smoking material that will appeal to
teenagers, a cultural anthropologist may
be on the team to help determine how to
appeal to that age group.
The core group of researchers for
UNT's proposed center now consists of
faculty members from communication
design, business and anthropology.
"Ultimately, the kinds of research
methods we use will be derived from
the types of problems we are trying to
solve," Keith Owens says. "We will
put teams together and say, 'Here is
how we will attack it, and here are
the skills we will need.' It will be
applied research with the goal of
solving a particular real-world problem."
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University of North Texas. UNT Research, Volume 18, 2009, periodical, 2009; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115032/m1/38/: accessed April 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting University Relations, Communications & Marketing department for UNT.