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Canniffe named chair of ISU graphic design department

June 09, 2014



AMES, Iowa — Following a national search, Bernard Canniffe, graphic design department head at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla., will become the new chair of the Iowa State University Department of Graphic Design. He will begin his appointment July 15.

"Professor Canniffe effectively merges a deep dedication to academic rigor, a strong commitment to creative practice and a profound belief in the power of design to make the world a better place," said College of Design Dean Luis Rico-Gutierrez. "He consistently links classroom activities and faculty research with issues that affect the quality of our daily lives. I look forward to welcoming him as a member of the college's leadership team."

Canniffe currently heads the Ringling College of Art and Design's Department of Graphic Design, Advertising Design and the Business of Art and Design. He also is a cofounder of Piece Studio—a social design studio that partners with community organizations, activists, researchers, scientists, institutions, politicians and artists to define solutions to societal problems and create change—and its academic arm, Blue Collar Design Theory, which emphasizes design education that prepares students "to think critically, globally and strategically to meet the challenges of the future."

And he serves as an adviser on Project M, an intensive summer program that provides collaborative opportunities for young graphic designers, writers, photographers and other creative professionals to generate new ideas and design directions that challenge the status quo.

Canniffe has led design projects and workshops that address socioeconomic and cultural topics and has made presentations on design for the common good at international medical, design and academic conferences througout the world. He has spent the past several years working extensively in the Middle East to develop mechanisms to promote cultural acceptance.

Canniffe earned a bachelor of arts in graphic design with honors from the University of Wales, Newport, United Kingdom, in 1984, and a master of fine arts in graphic design from the Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Ga., in 1999.

He taught graphic design at Savannah College of Art and Design (1995-2001) and Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore (2001-2009), where he co-chaired the graphic design program (2002-2009), and was design chair at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (2009-2013). Canniffe also held freelance design positions from 1993-1995, 1995-2001 and 2001-2007. He previously served as creative director for Dragonfly Design Consultants Ltd. in the United Kingdom (1989-1991).

Canniffe's work has been published in Baltimore Style, Communication Arts, Graphis, How, Metropolis, Print and Print Regional Design Annual, Step and Step Regional Design Annual, and design magazines in South Korea and Indonesia, among many others. He received the Graphis 10 Most Important Designers for the New Millennium Award in 1999, the Baltimore Style 10 Most Influential Designers Award in 2008 and the Joseph Binder Silver Award for communication design in 2010.

Luis Rico-Gutierrez, Design Administration, (515) 294-7428,
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,