School of Design
Faculty Research & Creative Activity

Students and faculty in the IRL designed and coded 1,700 custom badges for Thotcon, the Midwest’s largest hacking conference. Faculty Jay Margalus and Rudy Ristich led a workshop at the conference about the design and development of the badge, and the code to hack it.      


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. 

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. 


The School of Design Talks series invites leading designers who have created innovative responses to the personal, local, and global challenges of the 21st century. Design Incubation Colloquium 5.1 was one of the many recent events held at CDM as part of the series.  

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. 


Highlighted Projects

screenshot of calendar

The Poor Not Guilty: Fines and Fees Challenges, designed by assistant professor and director of the Matters at Play Lab Lien Tran, are a series of interactive scenarios that highlight how fines and fees for petty offenses create impossible situations for those experiencing poverty and/or homelessness. Each scenario asks the player to make a series of choices in response to an inciting circumstance with the goal of escaping the cycle of financial punishment in which they are trapped.

four young females working around a desk

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 the School of Design/faculty Denise Nacu and Sheena Erete, and Northwestern University/Nichole Pinkard.

hand glove with circuits

PUSH Studio is an interdisciplinary design studio led by LeAnne Wagner where DePaul University students and faculty partner with industry professionals and social impact organizations 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.

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.

Caleb Foss

Game development, interactive media, multimedia.

Jay Margalus

Game development, hardware, data analysis.

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.

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.

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.

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.