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The VCFA MFA in Graphic Design Program Blog

Here Be Dragons: The Fall 2018 Residency Guest Designers!

September 6, 2018

We are proud to announce our Fall 2018 Guest Designers at the VCFA MFA in Graphic Design Program: Meredith Davis and Oliver Klimpel!

Meredith Davis is Professor Emerita of Graphic Design at NC State University, where she taught for 27 years and served as Department Head of Graphic Design, Director of Graduate Programs in Graphic Design, and Director of the interdisciplinary Ph.D. in the Design program. Meredith holds an MFA in design from Cranbrook Academy of Art and BS and MEd degrees in art education from Penn State University. She began her career as a K-12 teacher in Pittsburgh; served as curator at the Hunter Museum of American Art; and taught for 13 years at Virginia Commonwealth University, before her work at NC State University.

Meredith is a fellow and 2005 national medalist of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA). She has received numerous teaching awards, including the Alexander Quarles Holladay Medal for Teaching Excellence, Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor, and the College of Design nomination for the UNC Board of Governor’s Award. She is listed in Who’s Who Among American Teachers and Who’s Who in American Art. Meredith was principal in the graphic design firm Communication Design, Inc. from 1979-1989 and is the recipient of more than 50 national and international design awards and exhibitions. Her work has appeared in Graphis, ID Magazine, Print, Graphic Design USA, ACD 100, Creativity, Typography, and other professional publications. She is featured as a “trailblazer” in Women in Design.

Meredith is a former president of the American Center for Design and the founding president of the Graphic Design Education Association. She served on the national board of directors of the AIGA and currently leads the organization’s work on Designer 2025. Meredith has served as the AIGA representative to the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and as a member its Accreditation Commission. She is also a NASAD Fellow. Meredith has conducted more than 90 academic program reviews in the US and in eight countries abroad and 60 external reviews of faculty for promotion and tenure. She has delivered more than 200 lectures nationally and internationally.

Meredith’s research explores the use of design in achieving the goals of educational reform in K-12 schools and the relationship between design and learning. She has served as a member of the development team for the National Assessment of Educational Progress in the Arts and the National Assessment of Educational Progress in Technology and Engineering Design Literacy for the National Assessment Governing Board and Educational Testing Service (ETS). She participated in the Goals 2000 Arts Education Partnership for the US Department of Education, taught for the Performance Assessment Collaboratives with Education (a Rockefeller-funded research unit of the Harvard Graduate School of Education), and served as a consultant to the Departments of Education in Wisconsin and Michigan as well as school districts in California and North Carolina. Meredith chaired the Worldesign Foundation Education Summit and served on the educational advisory committee for the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum/Smithsonian, where she also lectured in the museum’s teacher-training programs. She is the author of the NC State University Quality Enhancement Plan for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, a five-year study of teaching Critical and Creative Thinking across the university.

In 1974, Meredith authored Problem Solving in the Man-made Environment, a design-based curriculum for Michigan Public Schools funded by the Michigan Council for the Arts. Twenty-five years later, she wrote Design as a Catalyst for Learning, a two-year research study of design in K-12 schools for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The book received the 1999 CHOICE Award from the Association of College and Research Libraries. Meredith has served as a grant reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Smithsonian Office of Education and Museum Studies; Institute for Museum Services; US Department of Education; National Science Foundation; and Canadian Foundation for Innovation. Her work has been funded by the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology, and Science; Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise; Kenan Institute for the Arts; National Endowment for the Arts; Worldesign Foundation; and several state arts and humanities commissions.

Meredith is the author of Graphic Design Theory and editor of Typography for Thames and Hudson, LTD. She recently published Visual Communication Design with Bloomsbury and Teaching Design with Allworth Press. Meredith is a member of the editorial boards of Design Issues and She Ji, the journal on design, economics, and innovation located at Tongji University in China. Meredith reviews manuscripts for MIT Press, Wiley, and Bloomsbury and for peer-reviewed journals, including Visible Language; International Journal of Design; Design and Culture; Iridescent (International Council of Graphic Design Associations); She Ji; Design Issues; Design Studies Journal; and Leonardo. She has authored more than 100 articles and book chapters on design, design education, and design research. She is currently working on a book that challenges the continuing relevance of object-centered approaches to professional design education.


Oliver Klimpel pursues a hybrid practice across conventional divides in design, research, and visual culture. After being based in London for many years, he’s now living and working in Berlin currently designing the new foyer interior of Austrian museum Kunsthaus Graz – including exhibition displays and the museum shop. He developed the identity for the exhibition “So Far, So Right” at Kunadu Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan; his graphic scenography and sculptural work for the exhibition “Creative Infidelities” at arc en réve – centre d’architecture Bordeaux, France, is at the moment on show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Leipzig, Germany.

Besides narrative environments and visual languages, the conception and graphic design of publications and books form another important part of his practice, having been trained as a graphic designer at the Leipzig Academy of Visual Arts and the Royal College of Art London.

Klimpel has been teaching internationally at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design and numerous other institutions and was Professor for System-Design from 2008 to 2015 at the Leipzig Academy of Visual Arts. He is interested in the emancipatory role of design in forming institutions and communities – and is the editor of the book The Visual Event – An Education in Appearances (2014).


We are incredibly excited to welcome back Oliver and to welcome Meredith to VCFA. It is going to be an amazing residency!