Steven Skaggs



Professor Skaggs is head of the Graphic Design BFA track. His research in graphic design theory and visual semiotics explores ways in which verbal and visual meanings intersect. His work over twenty-five years in providing a semiotic theory for graphic design has resulted in the book FireSigns from MIT Press which appeared in 2017. An earlier work, Logos, (1994) tells the story of the development of a single symbol through 254 developmental drawings.

Professor Skaggs also designs fonts for specialized purposes. Rieven, a postmodern romanized uncial with italics, received a major international award, the TDC2 Certificate of Typographic Excellence in Typeface Design, in 2010. Maxular Rx (2017) is the first font designed specifically for people who suffer from macular degeneration.

A longtime proponent of the experimental possibilities of calligraphy, his fine art often explores expressive improvisation. His work is in the permanent collections of the Klingspor Museum, the Sackner Archive of Visual Poetry and the Akademie der Künste, Berlin.

His first volume of poetry, Poems From Elsewhere appeared in 2006; his second, a collaboration with five other poets is called Six Voices and is available starting in October 2017.

Course Offerings

ART 205: Foundation Design Methods
ART 371: Introduction to Graphic Design
ART 571: Letterforms I
ART 572: Letterforms II
ART 573: Identity Systems
ART 574: The Book Form
ART 575: Packaging
ART 579: Directed Study in Graphic Design
ART 590: Visual Semiotics
ARTH 501: History and Issues in Graphic Design

Research Areas and Projects

Graphic Design Theory
Visual Identity Systems

Honors and Awards

FireSigns: a Semiotic Theory for Graphic Design (2017)
Poems From Elsewhere (2006)
Logos–The Development of Visual Symbols (1994)

His typeface, Rieven, available through Delve Fonts, was awarded the Medal of Typographic Excellence in the TDC2 international type design competition in 2010.

Author of Logos–The Development of Visual Symbols (1994), Poems From Elsewhere (2006).

His calligraphic fine artworks are included in the collections of the Klingspor Museum-Offenbach (Germany), the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry (Miami), and the Akademie Der Künste, Berlin.