The AIGA DEC Symposium Lens 2023 took place this October 12 in New York City, within the AIGA National Conference. Assistant Professor Omar Sosa-Tzec participated in the panel "Making Space for Graphic Designers as Visual Essayists." In this panel, Dr. Sosa-Tzec discussed the notion of the visual essay as a multimodal argument and outcome of research-through-design and the application of poetics, semiotics, rhetoric, and aesthetics as critical approaches to peer-review the visual essay in graphic design academia. Sosa-Tzec also discussed sketchnoting as a form of pre-writing and content for visual essays. Accompanying Dr. Sosa-Tzec were Patricia Childers (CUNY/CityTech/Pratt), Heather Corcoran (Washington University in St. Louis), and Joshua Unikel (University of Houston). All the professors were AIGA DEC Design + Writing Fellowship members in 2022. This panel and their work from the fellowship seek to legitimize the visual essay as a research product in graphic design academia and pluralize and diversify its voices.
The AIGA Design Educators Community (DEC) introduced a new design and writing fellowship for 2022. Assistant Professor Omar Sosa-Tzec was selected along with another 15 design faculty across the United States to form this fellowship's first cohort. From January to June, these design faculty worked individually and collaboratively to discuss and investigate the visual essay. Dr. Sosa-Tzec utilized sketchnoting to reflect on the nature of visual essays and explore theoretical approaches that could facilitate their production and peer-review––namely, poetics, semiotics, rhetoric, and aesthetics.
Posters showcasing the fellows' projects will be exhibited at Surface––the AIGA DEC Mini-Conference––which takes place during the events of the 2022 AIGA Design Conference. Below is Prof. Sosa-Tzec's poster.