Visiting Designer

Design for Social Change 2013

January 23, 2013
Helen Armstrong

We’ve been busy preparing for the 2013 senior year. This year, thesis projects will have a general theme of “Design for Social Impact.” To support this concept, we are bringing in exceptional speakers/critics to work with the seniors. (photo: portrait of Hancock)

Final Critic Dawn Hancock
As managing director and founder of Firebelly Design, Dawn Hancock cultivates the studio’s culture and inspires the best work with vision, compassion and an infallible gut instinct. It’s that gut feeling—the fire in the belly—that motivates Hancock to challenge the status quo. And it’s ultimately what caused her to renounce the safety net of corporate America and start her studio in 1999 and create “Good Design For Good Reason.” From fledgling nonprofits and hungry start-ups to major corporations looking for complete brand overhauls, clients of every size and industry trust Hancock’s independence, ingenuity and proven approach to authentic, broad scope branding. The studio has won awards in nearly every American design journal and was made part of the Newberry Library’s permanent collection and the Society of Typographic Arts’ Chicago Design Archive. Hancock serves as the community outreach chair for AIGA Chicago and also spends time on the lecture circuit, speaking at design schools and conferences as far away as Doha, Qatar. In addition to inspiring others with her unconventional approach, her other endeavors include the annual Grant for Good, the Firebelly Foundation, Reason to Give, the 10-day intensive Camp Firebelly, and Firebelly U, an entrepreneurial incubator program teaching people with a social awareness and a focus on design to make a more just society. One of our Miami student alums, Liz Chmela, was a fellow at Firebelly U.


Early Semester Critic: Andrew Shea

Andrew is a graphic designer and writer. He earned his MFA in graphic design from Maryland Institute College of Art, where he advised undergraduate design students who worked with community organizations. Shea has taught graphic design at MICA, Fordham University, and Parsons The New School for Design.

Shea’s writing has also appeared online at Designer’s Review of Books and Core77, where he writes about subjects from sustainability initiatives and unique funding strategies to book and product reviews. He was recently granted a Sappi Ideas That Matter award and his solo and collaborative design work has been featured in Print Magazine, Core77, Adbusters, and Metropolis Magazine P/O/V. Shea values collaborations of all kinds and looks for opportunities to use graphic design in ways that might spur lasting social changes.

Our class is using Shea’s recent book, Designing for Social Change, in our thesis course this semester.

Midterm Critic: Liz Chmela

Liz Rose Chmela is the founder of for-benefit design studio Made By We. She is wildly enthusiastic about learning new techniques, methods and processes and applying these skills to the social sector. She has worked as a creative in the packaging, branding, web and print worlds and is currently also Art Director for the branding and interactive agency CHIEF. With every project she approaches, Liz Rose puts tremendous effort into considering the impact it will make culturally, environmentally, socially and economically. She brings a passion for, and knowledge of, traditional design practices and hand-based print media to the studio, in addition to her web experience. She is an active member of the AIGA, and is currently a mentor for the young design community through the Washington, DC chapter. In the past, she was Treasurer and Living Principles advocate for the Central PA chapter. She is a graduate of Firebelly University and holds a BFA Cum Laude in Graphic Design from Miami University. You can follow her at @lchmela and learn more about Made By We at

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