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 co-edited Visible Language journal special issue “Critical Making: Design and the Digital Humanities” (with Amy Papaelias), a project that was awarded the 2017 Design Incubation Educators Communication Design Award in the category of Scholarship: Published Research. Additionally, she was 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.

Barness has published articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Design and Culture, Visual Communication, MATLIT: Materialidades da Literatura, Dialectic, Message, SEGD Research Journal: Communication + Place, and Currents in Electronic Literacy. Her work has been presented and exhibited at venues hosted by organizations such as AIGA, 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

Sound composition “Like a Letter, You” from my hEar Pixels project with Vince Giles is published, with an abstract, in peer-reviewed journal MATLIT: Materialidades da Literatura.

Presentation ”Everyday Design Conversations and Our Public Sphere” at AIGA national conference, Minneapolis, MN, focused on my recent pilot study of design blog commentary and design criticism.

“Critical Practices as Design Scholarship: Opportunities and Strategies”, co-authored with Steven McCarthy, published by Design Incubation. The paper expands on our guest lecture from spring 2017 and is available in hypertext and pdf formats.

My critique and analysis of the experimental digital project Network Effect (Jonathan Harris and Greg Hochmuth) is published in Spirale magazine’s issue on Art and Knowledge. The published version in French may be accessed here; for English language readers, my original manuscript is available here.

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).

[more news in the archives...]

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Email jbarness [at]

Curriculum Vitae