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Internationally Known Designer/Educator Appointed Interim to Endowed Chair in Signage Study

UCís Craig Vogel, an internationally known designer, educator and author, has been appointed as an interim to fill the Terry Fruth/Gemini Chair of Signage Design and Community Planning. In that role, he will initiate the framework for further collaborative research and teaching related to issues of signage at the university.

Date: 12/11/2011
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Dottie Stover
Internationally recognized designer, educator and author Craig Vogel, professor and associate dean for graduate studies and research in the University of Cincinnatiís College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), has been named as an interim to fill the collegeís Terry Fruth/Gemini Chair of Signage Design and Community Planning.
UC's Craig Vogel

In that role Vogel, recently named one of the nationís most-admired design educators in the DesignIntelligence 2012 architecture and design rankings, will seek to build a university-wide framework for research and teaching related to signage and its role in design fields, in business disciplines, in the social sciences, in law and more.

Explained Vogel, ďIím not a candidate to permanently fill the chair; however, we want to commit to this opportunity to further the universityís potential to become the first comprehensive site to study communication in the environment in terms of architecture,  design, engineering, marketing, law, planning, psychology and safety.Ē

He added, ďMy role as interim chair is to optimize all the opportunities around the university to connect programs and faculty to explore issues related to signage, whether it be in terms of cultural norms, technology, legal issues or communication theory.Ē That will include encouraging the presentation and publication of signage research and hosting events related to academic research on signage. Itís expected that Vogel will fill the chair for two years, working with a team of faculty from the School of Planning and the School of Architecture and Interior Design.

Itís a start-up role that Vogel has already filled at UC in terms of the Live Well Collaborative, the Center for Design Research and Innovation, and UC Forward.

In a way, this new role will serve as a return to Vogelís roots when, as a graduate student, he worked in the signage industry in New York City for several years, specifically for Arthur Blum Signs in Brooklyn where he designed, completed technical drawings, fabricated, sold and obtained variances for commercial signage.

Recalled Vogel, ďI loved every minute I worked in the signage industry in New York. It was such a wide range of experience, with every facet of design and business involved. I worked with large corporations and entities like Swissair and Texas Chicken on their signage to small Brooklyn ĎMom and Popí businesses. I learned the tremendous impact signage has on the world, even though that impact is not well understood outside of the signage industry itself.Ē

And itís where he learned in a hands-on, applied way the truism that the worse the economy, the more important the signage.

Still, signage as a specific field of study in and of itself has been neglected. Thatís where the Terry Fruth/Gemini Chair of Signage Design and Community Planning in DAAP and the James S. Womack/Gemini Chair of Signage and Visual Marketing in UCís Carl H. Lindner College of Business come into play. These two academic chairs, made possible by donors James and Sharon Weinel, owners of Gemini, Inc., the largest producer of dimensional letters and logos in the world, are dedicated to signage research. (The James S. Womack/Gemini Chair of Signage and Visual Marketing is filled by James Kellaris, professor of marketing.)