Designer, scholar, and writer of interactive things.

Jessica Barness is an Associate Professor in the School of Visual Communication Design at Kent State University. Her research resides at the intersection of design, humanistic inquiry, and interactive technologies, investigated through a critical, practice-based approach. Further, she is involved in ongoing projects connecting sound studies and design.

She is the co-editor of Visible Language journal special issue “Critical Making: Design and the Digital Humanities” (with Amy Papaelias). Additionally, she is co-chair of the AIGA Design Educators Community conference “CONVERGE: Disciplinarities and Digital Scholarship” (June 2017) at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts (with Heather Corcoran, Sarah Lowe, Amy Papaelias, and Holly Willis).

Barness has published articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Design and Culture, Visual Communication, Dialectic, Message, SEGD Research Journal: Communication + Place, and Currents in Electronic Literacy. Her work has been presented and exhibited, nationally and internationally, at venues hosted by organizations such as AIGA, DHS (Design History Society), FILE Electronic Language Festival, HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory), ICDHS (International Committee for Design History and Design Studies), SEGD (Society for Experiential Graphic Design), and UCDA (University and College Designers Association). Her creative works have garnered awards from entities such as Project Passion, College Book Art Association, UCDA, and the STA 100.

She has an MFA in Design with a graduate minor in Writing Studies from the University of Minnesota, and an MA and BA in Studio Art from the University of Northern Iowa. Previously, she taught design courses at the University of Minnesota College of Design, worked in design and research with Conway+Schulte Architects in Minneapolis, MN, and practiced professionally for a number of years as a senior product designer and design development manager in Chicago, IL.

Recent News

Recipient of the 2017 Design Incubation Educators Communication Design Award in the category of Published Research for Visible Language 49.3, special issue “Critical Making: Design and the Digital Humanities” with collaborator Amy Papaelias.

Glosses was awarded recognition in the 2017 STA 100 competition, The Society of Typographic Arts, Chicago.

First Issues, First Words: Vision in the Making (about inaugural issues of design periodicals) published Winter 2017 in the inaugural issue of AIGA Design Educators Community journal Dialectic 1(1).

Guest presentation with Steven McCarthy, “Critical Practices as Design Scholarship: Opportunities and Strategies” at the Design Incubation Research Colloquium 3.3 at Kent State University in March 2017.

Glosses is featured in the Structure Unbound juried exhibition at Wright State University in Dayton, OH (Jan/Feb 2017), and in the Text, Type, Typography juried exhibition at The Marymount University, San Pedro, CA (Nov 2016 – Jan 2017).

My design brief Connecting / Interacting is published in Taking a Line for a Walk, edited by Nina Paim and Emilia Bergmark, published by Spector Books (Leipzig).

Designing the Emigre Magazine Index: Theory and Practice in an Alternative Research Tool published July 2016 in Design and Culture 8(2).

[more news in the archives...]

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Email jbarness [at]

Curriculum Vitae