I believe art and design have the power to stimulate thoughtful discussions, to critique social conditions, and to motivate audiences toward positive outcomes.

Jonathan Frey

Using design to accomplish social good is just one of the many ways Professor Jonathan Clyde Frey, art & art history, views his work and teaching a little differently.

"You can use your work to express your point of view; to convince others of your position," says Frey. "We need multiple perspectives to evaluate our evolving culture, and I believe art and design have the power to stimulate thoughtful discussions, to critique social conditions, and to motivate audiences toward positive outcomes."

Frey, a graphic designer and a studio artist, enjoys researching the relationship between art and design.

"I like having the freedom to jump back and forth between the two, and to merge them," he says. "There are a lot of people that think they are very different, but for me, it's all about communication. I start with the message, then I determine the best medium for communicating that message. Sometimes it's a sculpture or a painting; sometimes it's a book, or a poster or a video." 

Frey's research typically explores issues of identity. That could mean directly dealing with the practice of creating a representation, such as a portrait or a logo; but often identity serves as a more overarching theme, relating to personal narratives, communal rituals, cultural heritage or even universal systems.

A primary interest of Frey's is "understanding the ways that art and design can be used to build positives representations of people and places, while avoiding representations that lead to myths, stereotypes and exclusion." 

Design thinking, which shifts the emphasis of a studio practice from acquiring technical skills towards solving problems and facilitating outcomes, is another idea Frey explores. He integrates this mindset into his teaching, creating assignments that develop formal skills and cultivate strategies for effective visual communication. Frey's projects, which address themes that range from advocacy and identity to typefaces, require students to take a leadership role in the development of the content, and to carefully consider how identity is being communicated through their formal decisions.

Frey is excited to contribute his perspective on art and design to the Bucknell community. He appreciates Bucknell's strong liberal arts tradition, and feels there is a rich potential for visual communicators to engage in cross-disciplinary collaboration across campus. 

Posted Oct. 7, 2016

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