Graphic designer to speak in Cullowhee, Asheville

A writer, curator and graphic designer who directs the master of fine art program in graphic design at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore will visit Western North Carolina to give public presentations at Western Carolina University and at the Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center in Asheville.

Ellen Lupton will deliver a public presentation, “How to Think Like a Designer,” at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, in Room 130 of WCU’s John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center in Cullowhee. Her talk, sponsored by WCU’s School of Art and Design, will focus on the thought processes of designers, and she also will review products and media that contemporary designers are creating.

On Friday, Oct. 25, Lupton will give a noon lecture titled “Welcome to Busytown: Or, What Ever Happened to Graphic Design?” at the Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center, located at 56 Broadway St. in Asheville. She will assess the current state of graphic design – one in which designers are becoming authors and entrepreneurs while the general public has increasing access to design tools. The lecture is being co-sponsored by the WCU school and the museum and arts center.

Lupton, who also directs the Center for Design Thinking in Baltimore, was a 2007 recipient of the American Institute of Graphic Arts’ Gold Medal, one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon a graphic designer or design educator in the United States. As curator of contemporary design at Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, a Smithsonian Institution museum located in New York City, she has produced numerous exhibitions and books, including “Mechanical Brides: Women and Machines from Home to Office,” “Mixing Messages: Graphic Design and Contemporary Culture,” “Letters from the Avant-Garde” and “Skin: Surface, Substance + Design.” Her book “Thinking with Type” is used by students, designers and educators worldwide.

For more information on the presentations and Lupton’s visit to WNC, contact Jon Jicha, professor of graphic design in WCU’s School of Art and Design, at 828-227-3597 or