The Design Center

The Design Center at Kean University was created in 1998 by Professor Alan Robbins as a collaboratory for students and faculty to expand the role of design education in the community.


Students and faculty working with the Design Center produced products, publications, and digital and physical exhibitions that won numerous

grants and awards, and led to many articles in the media.




Using design to improve lives was part of the Design Center mission and led

to a series of innovative products created with students.


The TalkChart is a visual communications aide, a pointing chart for people

in hospitals who cannot speak.  The chart won the Sappi Ideas That Matter award in 2000 and is being used in hundreds of hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout the country.


For copies of the TalkChart, contact me to request information.


Public education was an important part of the mission of the Design Center.  To that end, students and faculty produced a design newsletter called Ampersand that was sent to thousands of designers and educators.


Each issue contained articles, essays, graphics, and games relating to a wide variety of design topics like the history of the fork, the significance of the letter A, the use of bamboo in modern architecture, and other fascinating design-related topics.


Students and faculty produced a series of exhibitions - both traveling and online versions - to educate the public about the role of design.


These included exhibitions about the design of technology, written language, movie posters, imaging, and many more.

The exhibitions brought thousands of visitors to the campus

of Kean University.



The Design Center produced dozens of publications about design to fulfill its mission.


These included extensive catalogs for each of the exhibitions as well as other publications about design topics.


The Design Center won many awards and grants for the innovative work produced by students and faculty.


These included operating grants and awards for many of the products, publications, and for the website.


Dozens of articles and reviews in local and national media helped to publicize the work of the Design Center.


These included stories about the innovative work in The New York Times, The Daily News, The Star-Ledger, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and many more.


Students working with the Design Center also produced professional quality design work for non-profit clients as a service to the community.


This included posters for theatre companies, logos for museums,  brochures for foundations and much more.


These experiences served as valuable in-house internships for the students while providing the non-profit sector with quality work free

of charge.