Anthony Acock (MFA, BFA) was born in 1978. He received his MFA from Pratt Institute, and his BFA from Oregon State University.
After a decade in the design industry in New York City and Connecticut, he joined Cal Poly Pomona in 2013 with the College of Environmental Design, as Assistant Professor of Graphic Design. Anthony also serves on the board of directors for the Los Angeles chapter of the AIGA as Education Co-Director.
His areas of research are; design as advocacy, design for non-profits, and deign as a political tool.
Skateboarding into middle age, being comfortable with spraypaint, and chasing his two delightful but not particularly useful children, are his other interests.
The Misrepresentation of Punk Identity in Design, Advertising, and Media
Paper Presented at the Popular Culture Association National Conference
When a culture or community like Punk celebrates their isolation from mainstream society, their designed representation in the media may be at best, misguided, at worst, malevolent fabrications. In this paper I will explore how outside marketing and design elements attempt to co-opt the energy and vibrancy of punk culture, while at the same time, demonizing the very elements that make the culture so unique.
By exploring the art and design work of the more radical fringe communities within punk, and juxtaposing those with how they are portrayed in the media, I will expose a lack of empathetic design process and understanding of these counter-cultures. I will further look at the roles of punk aesthetic when used in marketing and design, and how when done without basic understanding, expose marketing ignorance and can alienate the very communities they are attempting to attract.
Design is Design: Interdisciplinary Collaborations Between Landscape Architecture
and Graphic Design
Paper presented at the AIGA Design Educator National Conference, and the Design Principles and Practices International Conference
In this paper I will write about the collaboration between Cal Poly Pomona’s Landscape Architecture, and Graphic Design programs working to redesign the Landscape Architecture of the Chancellor’s Residence at the University of California, Riverside. This collaboration is the culmination of effort by three professors, undergraduate and graduate students, four design studios, and two university systems, using a multifaceted approach showing that design is design, regardless of discipline.
This project developed four strategies:
1) Atypically Suburban:reimagining the California suburban environment.
2) Beautiful Resilience:the marriage between the aesthetic value and climate appropriate materials in landscape architecture.
3) Food for Thought:transforming the suburban lawn for food production.
4) Habitat is Everywhere:the coexistence between urban and desert environments.
This effort resulted in the presentation of both digital and analog scholarly research into each of the 4 approaches utilizing motion graphics, the production of a research and process journal, digitally rendered designs, and digitally archived versions of the physical journals. In this paper I will discuss the processes involved in navigating multiple university systems, the collaborations between design disciplines, and class levels, and the final digital and analog designed deliverables. This case study will show that design is design regardless of discipline or format, and that design education can flourish in a multidisciplinary studio environment.
Graphic Design Professor as Political Agitator: Encouraging Radicalism Through Design Education in the Trump Era
In November of 2016 the Electoral College, chose Donald Trump to be the next President the United States. This marks a notable break from 239 years of tradition by appointing the first person with zero political experience to the highest office in the country based solely off of their one-year campaign communications. Communications that often contradicted each other.
Trump’s election shows the power of communication, and the influence of Internet culture into the general zeitgeist of American culture. This also puts the role of communication designer into perspective. Those with the ability to communicate, or purposely miscommunicate, into a position of power, or at least that of being useful to those in power.
Graphic Designers and those involved in irreverent Internet cultures such as 4chan, reddit, and their ilk, are becoming the “useful idiots” of the new century. Ironically, serving the far Right instead of the Left, as Lenin had originally coined the term.
How does this then frame the role of graphic design education, and in turn, the role of graphic design educator? In this paper, I will advocate for the inclusion of leftist ideology in higher education to combat the rise of American fascism.
Empathy as a Design Methodology
Paper Presented at AIGA Design Educator Conference, Connecting Dots
The success of a professional designer is intrinsically tied to their ability to empathize with the client or issue. In my paper, I will discuss a methodology to best empathize with both sides of a polarizing issue in effort to holistically understand the challenge, and grow as a professional.
Using an example from a class in which the students were to pick a controversial topic of their choice, and create a: logo, poster, and website mockup. In this process they would write a short annotated research paper covering the issue as passionately as possible.
Unbeknownst to them, once complete, they would then do the same task, for a new organization that was diametrically opposed to the first. This proved challenging as the first topic was based off of their personal passions, now they had to challenge those with equal vigor. The prolife students had to design for the prochoice community. The pro death penalty students, had to design for the anti death penalty community.
In the end, they would write a third paper, outlining ways in which both sides can come together to find common ground. They would then use design thinking to organize a conference in which both organizations would be present. They were tasked with designing a poster, logo, website, and brochure for the conference. They were also challenged with picking a logical location for the conference, as well as a selection of speakers, from both sides.
By requiring the students to start from a place of personal passion, and then counter design against their very being, the class grew as a whole. The critiques ranged from political debate, to formal design conversations. In the end, the students felt their empathy towards the opposition had grown, and in some cases, the students had major philosophical changes on the issue.