School of Design
Research & Creative Activity

Faculty and students in new innovative labs at CDM, Matters at Play, directed by faculty Lien Tran, and PUSH Studio, directed by faculty LeAnne Wagner, are collaborating on the design of a VR experience to train law enforcement in trauma-informed and victim-centered interviewing techniques when investigating sexual assault. 

author posing infront of his published book

Mike DeAnda originally co-developed Golden Mart during the early months of shelter-in-place COVID-19 ordinances. After a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2021, this solo tabletop roleplaying game focused on a customer service employee working the night shift as a magical catastrophe down the street threatens the fabric of society was shipped in September 2022. 

International Design Awards

Nate Matteson led the design team that created the 0xEAE Boost, designed to be a robust, modular, and extensible pedal platform both inside and out. 

teenage girls learning to code

The NSF-funded Digital Youth Divas is an out-of-school program that engages middle school girls, especially those from non-dominant communities, in design-based engineering and computer science activities driven by a narrative story. The program is a collaboration between faculty in DePaul’s School of Design and Northwestern University. 

teacher with two students. One student wearing A R headset

The Virtual and Augmented Design (VAD) Lab hosts classes and projects to research and develop experimental games on emerging platforms. Lab director, Brian Schrank, Ph.D., is currently leading AR project development with Apple pushing the affordances of ARKit on iPhone. The current VR game project explores deformable virtual surfaces via hand and foot trackers. 


Research Labs & Centers

CDM is home to several research labs and centers where faculty and students engage in cutting edge research and design.

Resources for Faculty

Grants and programs provide resources for faculty to encourage and support research efforts.

Student Research Opportunities

Opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to participate in research with faculty are available.

Featured Grants

a few studends creating games

DePaul Originals Game Studio

Allen Turner, Will Myers
Grantor: DePaul Academic Growth Initiative Fund

DePaul Originals Game Studio is an interdisciplinary lab that brings together game artists, designers, engineers, sound designers, and producers to work together in an ongoing large studio experience. Yearly public builds and content packs will be released for public consumption and as a resource for future classes. The studio produces and publishes work that will be shipped to more publicly visible platforms like Steam, Xbox, PS4, and Switch.

hand glove with circuits

PUSH Studio

LeAnne Wagner
Grantor: DePaul Academic Growth Initiative Fund

As emerging technologies present exciting new opportunities to solve problems and shape our future, the need for human centered design approaches, which value ethics, equity, and human needs, is critically important. This grant will launch Push Studio, an interdisciplinary design studio that will involve DePaul University students and faculty partnering with industry professionals (clients) to apply human-centered design methods to emerging technology challenges.

Creative Areas

Shiro Akiyoshi

Digital imaging, illustration, and montage, combining digital and traditional Japanese image making processes.

Sajad Amini

Graphics, animation.

Anna Anthropy

Digital and tabletop game design, accessible game creation, play and the feminine, interactive fiction, game history, zine-making, witchcraft.

Mike DeAnda

Games studies, queer studies, gender and media, design research.

Nathan Matteson

Design, interactive media.

Daniel Mittleman

Collaborative technologies, interactive media, information systems.

Denise Nacu

Design of technology tools, learning, design thinking, data dashboards and visualizations, online social learning networks, learning analytics, design patterns, experience design.

Heather Quinn

Design fiction for ethical worldbuilding—artificial intelligence + metaverse.

Brian Schrank

Game design, virtual reality, augmented reality, physical games, folk games, art games, games and the avant-garde, serious games, political games, experimental games, indie games, game criticism.

Mark Addison Smith

Typography, hand lettering, design thinking, visual narrative, archive, queer activism, scholarship.

Lien Tran

Design, design strategy, social impact design, game design, game development, indie games, transformational games, games for change, serious games, social impact games, tabletop games, interaction design, UX, UI, human centered design, design thinking, web design.

Paige Treebridge

Queer computing & HCI, with research in: sense-of-well-being online, computational boundaries of human experience, oppression and erasure in social media.

Allen Turner

Interactive fiction, exploring culture and metaphor with play.

LeAnne Wagner

Design, education, game development.

Richard Wetzel

Serious games, game design, augmented reality, virtual reality, location-based games, pervasive games, learning experiences, ideation techniques.

Jessica Westbrook

Design, coding, data analysis and visualization, data-driven speculation and futures, multimethod research and mixed methods research, transdisciplinarity, complexity theories.

Dolores Wilber

Design, multi-media installation, art and documentary cinema, photography, photomontage

Lee Zelenak

Graphics, animation, design, branding, typography.