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People  •  Art + Design  •  Associate Professor

Ann McDonald

Ann McDonald studied at the Institute of Design in Chicago, earned a BFA from the University of Washington in Seattle, and subsequently received a MFA in graphic design from Yale University. Her research and project-based inquiries investigate the potential for increased engagement, meaningful correlation, and learning offered by dynamic information systems.

Exhibit and interactive design work for The Boston Symphony Orchestra, The New England Aquarium, The National Health Sciences Consortium and the American Society of Plant Biology have offered wide audiences access to complex topics. Ongoing projects in academic planning and environmental science areas explore the potential of interactive and participatory information systems to assist individuals and communities in better linking their everyday decision-making to broader social impacts and consequences.

Research/Publications Highlights

  • CAA 2018 conference presentation, “Speculative Spatiotemporal Notational Diagrams to Anticipate Agency and Improvisation”
  • 2018 AIGA Design Educators conference: MAKE, “Scores as Tools for Understanding Varied Timeframes: Connecting Macro to Micro in Visualizing Experience” (upcoming June 2018)

Professional Affiliations

  • AIGA
  • CAA.

Designer for 15 plus years for environmental graphic design, exhibit design, industrial design and architectural design firms. Clients included Bryn Mawr College, City of Philadelphia, Drexel University, Pennsylvania Convention Center, University of Pennsylvania, University of Maryland Medical Center, The Space Science Institute, The Consortium of Science Centers, The Center for Disease Control, The Adler Planetarium.


Art + Design


  • MFA, Yale University


  • Core 77 Design Awards, Design Education Initiatives: Sticks+Stones Project
  • MacArthur Foundation-funded Digital Media Learning Lab Award: No2NOx

Past Clients

  • Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • New England Aquarium
  • Advisestream
  • Synpoteon

Research Focus

  • Design
  • Information design to synthesize and understand experiences
  • Visualization as a tool revealing overlooked or invisible connections in macro/micro experiences

Courses Taught

  • ARTG1250 Design Process, Context & Systems
  • ARTG3462 Experience Design 1
  • ARTG4552 Environmental Information Design
  • ARTG5120 Notational Systems for Experience
  • ARTG5620 Information Design Research Methods