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Forbes: This startup is using design to help everyone learn to read

Founded by UC design professor Renee Seward, See Word Design is a Venture Lab success story

A startup founded by a University of Cincinnati faculty member continues to attract national attention.

See Word Design is the brainchild of Renee Seward, an associate professor with the UC College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. Seward's company started as a simple idea: use graphics to assist young readers by providing visual context clues. 

“While it wasn’t the page layout, I did realize that the same strategies that we use to build brands could possibly help teach early reading skills,” Seward told Forbes contributor Liz Engel. “I started visiting private schools, cold calling reading and technology specialists, and asking the question, how can design impact education? Since then, this research has constantly been evolving.”

The Forbes piece delves into the story behind Seward's 13-year journey from inspiration to startup founder and focuses in part on her experience going through the Venture Lab startup pre-accelerator at UC's 1819 Innovation Hub. Venture Lab entrepreneur-in-residence Nancy Koors, which whom Seward co-founded See Word Design, now serves as the company's CEO. 

UC's Innovation Agenda and the 1819 Innovation Hub are key components of Next Lives Here, the university's strategic direction. The Venture Lab pre-accelerator program at the 1819 Innovation Hub helps UC faculty, staff, students and alumni commercialize their ideas.

Two women sitting at a table speaking to someone outside of the frame.

Renee Seward, left, and Nancy Koors. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

Next Lives Here

Next Lives Here, the University of Cincinnati’s strategic direction, defines our moment and our momentum. More nimble and more robust than a plan, Next Lives Here announces our vision to the world—to lead urban public universities into a new era of innovation, impact, and inclusion.