this
    is
brian
     james
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medium & message
work
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I am an educator and creative researcher exploring the possibilities and limitations of language at the intersection of digital media, design, and teaching. In addition to my courses and writing, I think through making projects such as:
Brute Force Manifesto
Design Hero
Real-Time Workshop
Recursor
Interface
Studio Work
Industry Experience
My professional experience includes work at award-winning studios like Sosolimited, C&G Partners, and Fathom Information Design for clients ranging from educational institutions to global corporate brands.
Technical Capacities
HTML, CSS, JavaScript,
Java, Python, C++, Swift, Open/WebGL

Portfolio Inquiries
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logos, pathos
writing
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A design should speak for itself, but writing is an important way I clarify my thinking, recall my excitement about a project, and share my thoughts and findings with others.
MUGEN: Teaching code to design students through game-making
// Research Paper
This article, presented at the International Association for Societies of Design Research 2020 Conference, and published in the proceedings, outlines a pedagogical tool I am developing to teach computer coding in design through game-making. It covers the theoretical underpinnings of the approach, along with a case study of the resultant MUGEN tool and its initial pilot test.
IASDR 2020 Conference→ read more

Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia (MoMA)
// Exhibition Review
Toward a Concrete Utopia reflects the architectural projects it documents: idealistic, complex, and ambitious. The exhibition introduces viewers to the frequently overlooked realm of Yugoslavian design through the works of some 175 creators, represented by over 400 artifacts, including a number of new photographs and models commissioned by MoMA.
Design and Culture, forthcoming→ read more

Thinking Machines: Art and Design in the Computer Age (MoMA)
// Exhibition Review
Defining “The Computer Age,” let alone giving a representative sample of its works, is a monumental task, giving rise to thorny questions. Is the Computer Age best characterized as an historical period, or as a nexus of technological and theoretical concerns? Is it more illuminating to think of computation as a medium, or as a technique that artists apply to their media?
Design and Culture 10, no. 2 (2018): 219–23→ read more

Ettore Sottsass: Design Radical (Met Breuer)
// Exhibition Review
Ettore Sottsass (1917 – 2007) is not a household name, but the Italian architect and designer left his mark on the popular style of multiple decades with pieces like his Pop-infused Valentine typewriter for Olivetti in 1969, and his work with the Memphis design collective, which he co-founded in 1981, and whose colorful patterns and geometric forms helped define the look of the eighties. A recent retrospective exhibition gave viewers a much deeper view of Sottsass’ lengthy career on the centenary year of the designer’s birth.
Design and Culture 10, no. 1 (2018): 103–6 → read more

Transmogrification
// MFA thesis
The proliferation of digital creative tools has transformed the media landscape around us in ways that give graphic designers an important role in the cultural discourse of our time — if we choose to engage with it. This thesis presents a historical and technological framework for understanding the importance of that transformation, in an age when computers have become mediators of nearly all other media. → available at the RISD library

The Architecture of Typography
// Fathom Information Design blog post
Typography has become part of the public consciousness like never before. An ever-increasing variety of people, aside from graphic designers, are discussing kerning, rags, and favorite (or most hated) typefaces. This dispersion of design across a variety of audiences resonates strongly with Fathom, as we intentionally pursue projects that cross creative domains. → read more

Radio Redefined
// Fathom Information Design blog post
Some of us at Fathom are easily sucked into geeky hobbies. When I first came across a site dedicated to SDR, or software defined radio, I turned my desk into a makeshift communication outpost for several days to learn the basics. It turned out to be surprisingly relevant to our core interests of data visualization and programming. → read more

Real-time Workshop
// Fathom Information Design blog post
We recently returned from a whirlwind road trip to SUNY New Paltz, to present at their inaugural Design Week… The goal was to provide a point of departure for getting involved in code and data, and we were quite happy with the results. The students, many of whom had little or no prior coding experience, hacked, tweaked, cut-and-pasted, and coded from scratch to create a variety of digital timepieces. → read more

How to Share 20,000 Maps
// Fathom Information Design blog post
The social–sharing experience is a crucial and often overlooked element of information design. In addition to updating content and the UI/UX of our latest site, we are constantly developing its “shareability.” → read more

Brace Yourselves… Reddit is coming
// Fathom Information Design blog post
Last Wednesday afternoon we noticed a massive traffic surge on the Fathom website, with all visitors loading one specific image of the All Streets project from 2008. How random! A quick glance at the referring page data showed us the cause: someone had come across All Streets and shared it on Reddit’s dataisbeautiful subreddit. And it was blowing up on the front page. → read more
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ahoy-hoy!
me
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As an assistant professor of graphic and interaction design for the Art and Design Department of St. John's University in New York City, I teach emerging designers to be aesthetically and critically engaged media practitioners, while conducting creative research to further the field of design at the intersection of technology and visual language.

If you are interested in more information about my work or interests, please say hi at hellobrianjames@gmail.com!