Berry Appointed Director at UIC Design

Photo: Stuart Meade

The School of Design at UIC announced Anne H. Berry as its new Director, effective July 2024. A practicing graphic designer, writer, and educator, Berry has advanced research on representation and diversity in design, as well as ethnic and racial disparities in the field. As Director, Berry will continue to amplify design’s social impact and advocate for equity and inclusion to a student body that is uniquely diverse in its cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds, and national origins. Berry comes to UIC from the Department of Art and Design at Cleveland State University (CSU), another urban public institution.

Berry brings more than 20 years of expertise and cutting-edge work to UIC Design. She is finishing her term as President of AIGA Cleveland and was a Design Incubation Fellow in 2018. Her edited publications include The Black Experience in Design: Identity, Expression & Reflection, named one of Fast Company’s “Best Design Books of 2022.” The book examines how Black designers have shaped their field professionally and aesthetically through the work of over 70 designers, artists, curators, educators, students, and researchers representing a cross-section of Black diasporic identities and multidisciplinary practices.
“Anne H. Berry is a leading voice in the field, an outstanding graphic designer, and a passionate educator who will work collaboratively with our faculty of renowned professional designers to equip students with the formal, conceptual, and technical skills necessary to make their ideas real and make a difference in a professional setting,” said Rebecca Rugg, Dean of the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts (CADA). “Building upon the work of her predecessor, Marcia Lausen, and her demonstrated commitment to using design as a tool for societal impact, Anne will help continue UIC and CADA’s work to take ideas initiated in our classrooms beyond the university to bring about positive change in the world.”

Berry’s research has helped propel important conversations in the field. In 2021, Berry and collaborator Sarah Edmands Martin co-created the award-winning project Ongoing Matter: Democracy, Design, and the Mueller Report (OM). Focusing on the Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election, the project emphasizes the importance of making information publicly accessible and understandable. Berry’s writing for design journals and magazines includes “The Virtual Design Classroom,” for Communication Arts; “The Black Designer’s Identity,” for Recognize; and the co-authored article “The Intersection of Electoral Politics and Design Education,” for Message. In 2021, Berry was featured in Kelly Walters’s book Black, Brown + Latinx Design Educators.
In her professional practice, Berry designs identities, exhibitions, and print collateral for a wide range of clients. She previously spent eight years as a Principal at LightBox Studio, a creative studio in Goshen, IN, she co-founded.
“Berry’s strengths shone among the outstanding candidates,” said Sung Jang, co-chair of the search committee and Associate Professor at UIC Design. “The search committee was impressed by her proactive poise to navigating the evolving world, drawing on the perspective of an energetic designer with remarkable leadership. Berry effortlessly aligns with the personality and culture of UIC.”

“Over the course of my time in higher education, I have seen the variety of ways in which access to public education has transformed people’s lives,” said Anne H. Berry. “Being able to serve the exceptionally diverse student population and campus community at UIC in a new capacity as Director, alongside Design faculty and staff who are equally passionate about education, is an extraordinary opportunity. I feel privileged to be able to help shape and advance the mission of the school as we prepare students to actively engage with the world around them.”

This appointment is pending approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.