BGSU graphic design’s Jenn Stucker named to 2018 watch list

By Julie Carle

Jenn Stucker, associate professor and chair of graphic design, at Bowling Green State University is being watched.

Her eye for design and laser-focus on teaching as artist, practitioner, scholarship of engagement and sustaining design have landed her on Graphic Design USA's "People to Watch 2018."

The "People to Watch" designation is the publication's method of identifying individuals who "embody the spirit of the creative community" and are known for "a combination of talent, leadership, success, newsworthiness and community service."

For Stucker, who earned a B.F.A. in graphic design from BGSU, an M.F.A from Eastern Michigan and started teaching at her alma mater in 1998, community service has long been a part of her teaching pedagogy. At the heart of the program, Stucker and her colleagues urge students to align their work to their values.

They stress the importance of design theory and collaboration, and they like to say, "Graphic designers — those who help make sense of the information that surrounds us daily — are equal parts visualizer, collaborator and leader."

As a co-founder and leader in the design organization AIGA Toledo, Stucker has shared that mantra for two decades. She has had her hands in many "design for good" projects including Sit&Tell, You Are Here Toledo, and Urban Forest Project Toledo. With each project, she becomes completed engaged and involves her students. Many of the projects have won awards and recognition for their importance in making a difference.

The Sit&Tell project — a huge collaboration by Stucker and her students, AIGA Toledo, the Professional Association for Design, the Toledo Arts Commission and MTS Seating — won a platinum award in the Creativity International Print and Packaging Design awards and a Communication Design Educators Award from Design Incubation. Iy also received recognition in Creative Quarterly 46, The Journal of Art & Design, an American Graphic Design Award from GD USA, a merit award in the respected design publication HOW Magazine's International design Awards, and a Community Partner Award from BGSU's Center for Civic and Community Engagement.

Her work has been published in several books, including "Graphic Design: The New Basics," "Introduction to Graphic Design" and "Collab + Design Education."

"I have aspirations to continue to do great things with this program that will put us on the map," she said. "I care about the graphic design program as a product of this university."

Stucker, who also has her own design practice, SiSU Design , is honored to have made GDUSA's honor roll.

"Being on the 'People to Watch' list is an acknowledgement of my skills and relevancy as a design practitioner," she said. "In our complex and changing world of technology, cultural and social issues, means of communication, along with style and trends, a designer must maintain a fervency for observation, understanding and action to recapitulate and respond to those changes. As a design educator, the 2018 GDUSA list is an affirmation toward my leading the way for the future designer.

"I hope this recognition helps lead to more exposure for our program, and eventually for more awards."

To quote mentor and fellow BGSU alumnus and team teacher Rick Valicenti, Stucker is reminded, "Sometimes we are the mirror, sometimes we are the reflection."

Whether she is the mirror or the reflection, Stucker is the one to keep an eye on in 2018 and beyond.