TE Lecture Series: Polymodal Tendencies with Silas Munro & Brian Johnson



  • Friday Apr 12, 2024
  • 01:00 PM - 02:00 PM EDT


Online (Zoom)

About This Event

Type Electives Lecture Series:

Polymodal Tendencies with Silas Munro & Brian Johnson

Polymode leads the edge of contemporary graphic design with a mission of equity. Our vision addresses aesthetic and social progress equally. Through our process—poetic research—we draw upon current and historical references that cross thresholds of exclusion. We unearth and amplify. We actively engage with the realities of our time, purposefully shining a light on marginalized lineages. Built on this deeply connected research, we design typographic, graphic, and communication systems. This presentation will demonstrate finding a balance between thought-provoking experiences and the joy in making cool shit for clients in the cultural sphere. We show value in both honoring design history and willingness to throw the Bauhaus under the bus to facilitate BIPOC centered design education. We offer ways to bring a biting sense of humor and unruly optimism as we face of discrimination, oppression, and racism. Through all of our design work, we explore ways to engage in Polymodal Tendencies.

Each talk will be about 30–45 mins long followed by a short Q&A.

The event will be hosted online via Zoom.

We look forward to having you with us!

Silas Munro

Silas Munro (he/they) is a designer, artist, writer, and curator. He is the founder of the LGBTQ+ and minority-owned graphic design studio Polymode based in Los Angeles and Raleigh that works with clients across cultural spheres. Commissions and collaborations include: The New York Times Magazine, MIT Press, Nike, Airbnb, the Brooklyn Museum, Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Art Institute of Chicago, Dia Art Foundation, and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. Munro is the curator and author of Strikethrough: Typographic Messages of Protest which opened at Letterform Archive in 2022–2023. He was a contributor to W. E. B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America and co-authored the first BIPOC-centered design history course, Black Design in America: African Americans and the African Diaspora in GraphicDesign 19–21st Century. Munro is faculty co-chair for the MFA Program in graphic design at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson, an award-winning designer and partner at Polymode, passionately champions marginalized voices through his work. He delves into interdisciplinary approaches, using poetic research, impactful design, and immersive learning to amplify forgotten narratives. With a rich background in scholarship, Brian has shared his expertise through lectures and workshops at institutions from the Art Institute of Chicago to AIGA National Design Conferences. Co-founding BIPOC Design History underscores his commitment to inclusive education. He also is a member of the Monacan Indian Nation and holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. As a curator, Brian is poised to unveil an upcoming exhibition at Poster House in 2026 centered on Indigenous-created works, aiming to combat erasure and decolonize design.

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