• Art + Design

Michael Arnold Mages

Assistant Professor

My research interests include developing a rich understanding of the ways that service design, technology and the material environment facilitate human conversation. I am especially interested in creating work that supports participants’ understanding of their own intersectional identity as a component of a conversation, and creating work that can support conversations that are difficult, or high-stakes, or where one or more participants are in a leveraged position.

During the past 3 years I have formed research partnerships and conducted projects with The City of Pittsburgh, The Heinz Endowments, The Environmental Charter School, The Office of Veterans Affairs (MyVA Communities), and the Obama White House initiative My Brother’s Keeper for Southwestern Pennsylvania. I have worked as a reseracher for Carnegie Mellon’s Program for Deliberative Democracy, and the Metro 21: Smart Cities Initiative.

Formerly, I ran a design consultancy specializing in strategically oriented design practice: research, communications analysis and planning, as well as UI design and development for web, mobile and web-based applications. Our clients included mid-sized regionally-oriented businesses, startups, universities, and Fortune 100 companies. I have taught research-informed design practice to students in business, computer science and fine arts at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Colorado, the University of Denver, and the Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, and now at Northeastern University. Past course projects have included consulting for identity system and branding for Case Logic, business process audit and redesign for the Denver Regional Transportation District, and an extensive experience audit and redesign of all customer-facing business processes for the Denver District Attorney’s office. Other clients have included Oracle, Seagate, The Denver Art Museum, The Denver Botanic Gardens, Celestial Seasonings.

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  • PhD Design, Carnegie Mellon University

Past Clients

  • Oracle Systems
  • DocuSign
  • The Heinz Endowments
  • The City of Pittsburgh
  • The Denver Art Museum
  • PennDOT (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation)
  • The Remaking Cities Institute

Courses Taught

  • Designing Civic Conversations (Masters-level, elective)
  • Senior Studio: SpeakLab (upper-division, required)
  • Information Design (IDEATE, interdisciplinary)
  • Design Thinking (Masters-level, required)
  • Design Studio 4 (Senior Thesis)
  • Practices of Design (upper-division, required)
  • Interactive Design 2 (upper-division, required)
  • Interactive Design 1 (lower-division, required)
  • Design Studio 2 (upper-division, required)
  • Design Studio 1 (lower-division, required)
  • Typography Studio (lower-division, required)
  • Introduction to Digital Design (lower-division, required)
  • Experience Design (upper-division, required)
  • Design Systems (upper-division, required)
  • Sign and Symbol (lower-division, required)
  • Design Concepts and Methods (lower-division, required)
  • Typographic Design (lower-division, required)
  • Electronic Page Layout (lower-division, required)
  • Raster Image Processing (lower-division, required for Graphic Design and Illustration)
  • Advertising Copywriting (upper-division, required)
  • Introduction to Interactivity and Multimedia (upper-division, required)
  • Digital Editing (upper-division, required)
  • User Prototyping (upper-division, required)
  • Web Design (upper-division, required for Digital Media certificate)
  • Interaction Design (upper-division, required for Digital Media certificate)
  • Supervised over 20 week-long workshops in Photography and Digital Media
  • Guest Critic
  • New Directions in Media Arts (graduate, and upper-division undergraduate, required)
  • History and Theory of Digital Art (graduate, and upper-division undergraduate, required)
  • Digital Art Studio 2 (graduate and upper-division undergraduate, required)
  • Digital Art Studio 1 (graduate and lower-division undergraduate, required)
  • Introduction to Visual Meaning (lower-division, required)
  • Interactive Digital Art (graduate, and upper-division, required)
  • Introduction to Interactive Media: Theory and Practice (graduate, and upper-division, required)
  • Designing Social Awareness (upper-division, required)
  • Fundamentals of Design (lower-division, required)

Research/Publications Highlights

Researching Transition Design, article with Dimeji Onafuwa, in Cuadernos del Centro de Estudios en Diseño y Comunicación, Universidad de Palermo, Buenos Aires, special issue on Transition Design, 2018

Designing for Civic Conversations presentation at: Relating Systems Thinking and Design 6, Oslo, Norway, October 18–20, 2017

Redesigning the Town Hall: Deliberative Community Forums presentation at: National League of Cities City Summit, Pittsburgh, PA, November 16–19, 2016

Uber and Language/Action Theory paper presented at: DRS2016: Design + Research + Society – Future-Focused Thinking, Brighton, UK, June 27–30, 2016