by Design


KUCD MFA SPOTLIGHT: Meet Bill Starkey, 2018 cohort

Why did you decide to go back to grad school for your MFA?
I wanted to explore different methods of storytelling, different processes of story creation, and a different perspectives on subjects and topics relevant to design and its expressions that over 20 years of working in the agency world doesn’t necessarily afford. The thought of having the freedom to research new things and explore and experiment without the fear of failure was also refreshing. This exploration and experimentation will in turn set me up for my ultimate goal – teaching at the university level.

Tell us about your KUCD MFA journey thus far.
My journey to date has me looking inward – trying to find things in me to add to my work; whether it be things about myself or unexplored interests leading to different ways of telling stories which I’m curious or passionate about.

What has been your favorite project to date.
It really changes daily. There are different parts of each exploratory that I enjoy, even some of the ideas that never came to fruition (I keep a running list of all of the ideas that didn’t quite make it to the proposal stage of any project). At this point, my favorite was a project where I took a traditional form folk art and reimagined the stories that the work could tell through the artwork. I used Pysanky (Ukrainian Easter Eggs) as a means to explore a little more about my heritage, modifying and inventing new symbols traditionally used on the eggs to highlight specific happenings, people and history of a country.

Each semester we meet for Journey week, the in-person first week of the semester before going online. Please describe Journey Week for someone interested in the KUCD MFA.
Imagine the most intense, soul-searching, eye-opening, mind-blowing-yet-sleep-deprived experience imaginable, where the only thing more powerful than the feeling of paralysis by uncertainty is the pull of curiosity. That’s pretty much Journey Week. And after the first one, it will be hard to wait for the next.

Fun fact about Bill
I’m about half way through my “see every continent” list.

I hear you have exciting news to share!

Yes! I had my project titled Roger accepted for presentation at the University College and Designers Association’s (UCDA) annual Design Educator’s Summit at East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee. The project was founded in the course Contemporary Topics and delved into the experiences, and neglect, of older users of tech. Here’s a small excerpt from the presentation: “Have we alienated, and are we continuing to alienate, older generations when it comes to the design of technology and interfaces? As designers and educators, we are responsible for bringing beneficial technology to the masses. We must ensure that the products we build are useful to everyone, including an aging population with an ever-broadening range of abilities, interests, and expectations; a fact that is sometimes forgotten by designers, including younger designers, tasked with creating for an older generation with an understanding of technology and skillset that differs vastly from their own.”

Thanks Bill!

Sophomores’ Digital Campaigns Win 3-Awards in Pittsburgh

Context is a new annual event for graphic design students to compete against their peers on a level playing field. The format of the competition is inspired by the former Real Show, the decades-old student competition of The Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington (DC), which dissolved in 2013. Context features four real world design projects, previously completed by real clients of Pittsburgh design agencies.

Of those 130 submissions, our judges accepted 41 pieces into the show (12 gold, 10 silver and 19 design excellence awards.)

Of those 41 pieces, Kutztown took home 3 awards! Below are the names of the students who’s work have been accepted into the show:

Julia Coville
Madison Eckert
Thomas Messina

KUCD participate in Hope & Healing Art Show

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Twenty-two KU students created original artwork around the message of hope and healing to be donated to local hospitals and healthcare facilities, and two students won awards. Their art is currently on display at the Banana Factory in Bethlehem, PA. Graduate and undergraduate students donated their artwork to the nonprofit Healing Through The Arts (, which provides healthcare facilities original and beautiful art. Their mission is to provide free art to inspire hope and calm.

“The more students that participate, the more art we have to share with hospitals and help those who need healing, and there is such high demand for this inspiring artwork,” says Heather Rodale, founder of Healing Through The Arts.

Assistant professor, Dannell MacIlwraith of the Communication Design department encouraged her students to submit art. She is extremely proud of her students for creating original artwork that will inspire art therapy for the community.

The art will be on display from February 23 – April 14, 2019, at the Banana Factory Crayola Gallery; 25 W Third Street, Bethlehem, PA 18015 **Check gallery hours

KU Artists on display:
Saira Miriam Ahmad
Tatiana Amador
Kiera Brown
Kaitlin Cochran
Madison Mae Eckert
Mary Catherine Engel
Danielle Graver
Jalen Grayson
Wyatt Hartz
Kayla Maskornick
Erin McCormick
Thomas Messina
Emma Deruosi
Alyvia Richel
Elline Santos
Zachary Robert Schmidt
Tiffany Spangler – Community Award Winner
Olivia Stentz
Maria Rose Sunick
Darrel Timmerman
Jenny Swartley- Tyrpak
Christopher Weaver – Community Award Winner

Cheers to KUCD Alum!

These KUCD alumni love beer and illustration! Ed Kuehn and Kayla Bryer had the privilege to design a collectible prints for Tröegs Independent Brewing Nugget Nectar First Squeeze! They are rock-stars touring around PA to sign prints.
Ed will be in the Pittsburgh area on Tuesday, January 15th signing prints from 6pm-8pm at brillobox, joined by fellow Nugget Nectar Artists Joe Mruk and Lizzee Solomon. Kayla will be at the Midtown Tavern in Harrisburg Thursday 1/10 starting at 7pm and Friday 1/11 in Lancaster at Tellus360 starting at 5pm if you’d want to swing by and grab a print and a Nugget Nectar.

Watch for more posters and fresh squeezes on Tröegs’ website:

Seniors on Internship!

Kutztown University Communication Design (KUCD) produces some of the finest designers in the field. We like to think it is because we treat our students like real designers from the start and expect professionalism throughout their experience. The capstone of that experience is our internship program.

At it’s best, a KUCD internship is beneficial to both the intern, and the design firm. The benefits to the student are probably a little clearer. They get to hang out with real-world designers and put everything they have been learning into practice. They finally get to work with real live art directors, fill out job-sheets, and meet the infamous “clients.” They can begin to understand the challenges that come in a real design studio whose purpose is not only to make effective and beautiful design, but also to prosper as a business. And, if they are lucky, they will learn the thrill of holding their first real printed piece in their hands and smelling the ink, or they’ll get to see their first real website up and running. It is so much more than a bullet point for their resume that isn’t just waitress, cashier, or camp counselor. It’s their first big toe in the real world.

You can learn more about our amazing internship opportunity: