Katherine McCoy cochaired Cranbrook Academy of Art’s Design Department for 24 years, was a Senior Lecturer at Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute of Design in Chicago from 1995 to 2004, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Art in London from 1993 to 1996. She began her work in design at Unimark International in 1967. Other professional practice includes graphic design for Chrysler Corporation, MIT Press, Xerox Education Group, and major advertising agencies. As a partner of McCoy & McCoy Associates, projects include communications and signage design, design marketing, exhibition design, and the interior design of furniture showrooms and executive offices. Past and current clients include Tobu Stores Tokyo, International Design Center Nagoya, the Chicago Bears, Cranbrook Educational Community, Formica Corporation, Unisys, Philips Electronics, Detroit Institute of Arts, the Denver Art Museum, the U.S. National Forest and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. With her husband Michael she organizes High Ground Tools and Strategies for Design professional education programs, including the ImageSpaceObject Conference, held in partnership with AIGA annually at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design in Denver. She is currently the Hall Distinguished Professor at Kansas City Art Institute.
Katherine received an Honorary Doctorate from Kansas City Art Institute in 2004. She is a 1999 Medallist of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, an elected member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale, a Fellow and past president of the Industrial Designers Society of America, past president of the American Center for Design, and served 2 terms as an AIGA national vice president. She has been a member of the Aldus Graphic Arts Advisory Board, the Design Issues Advisory Board, and a Contributing Editor of ID Magazine. She served on the Design Arts Policy Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts and chaired the Design Arts Fellowships Grant Panel for three years. She was a 1982 IBM Fellow of the International Design Conference at Aspen. Jointly with Michael McCoy, she received the Industrial Designers Society of America Education Award in 2000, the Society of Typographic Arts Educator Award in 1987, and the Joyce Hall Distinguished Professorship at Kansas City Art Institute in 1987. In 1994 they were jointly awarded a Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design, and in 2005 the first Design Minds Award by the Smithsonian Museum’s National Design Awards.
Katherine writes frequently on design criticism and history, co-produced the public television documentary ‘Future Wave: Japan Design,’ and chaired the first ACD Living Surfaces Conference in 1993, the first national conference in the U.S. on multimedia in graphic and industrial design. She coauthored and designed the book, ‘Cranbrook Design: The New Discourse’, published by Rizzoli International in 1991, and curated the exhibition ‘New Dutch Graphic Design’, which traveled to thirteen cities including Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, Seattle, Montreal and Vancouver from 1986 to 1990. Recently she has focused on documenting the influence of Swiss graphic design in the U.S., including the Print Magazine article ‘Bits and Pieces of Basel at Kansas City Art Institute,’ and the 40-year history of the Philadelphia College of Art graphic design program.
Her graphic design has been published internationally, including the book ‘Women Designers in the USA 1900-2000′, published by Bard College/Yale University Press, ‘Graphic Design in America: A Visual Language History’ by the Walker Art Center and ‘Women in Design’. Her teaching methodology has been featured in the ABC Editions Zurich books ‘Graphic Design International’ and ‘Graphic Design Education’, Eye Magazine, Novum Gebrauchsgraphik and Print Magazine.
A major exhibition, ‘Cranbrook Design: The New Discourse’, traveled to New York and Tokyo in 1991, featuring posters and books by Katherine McCoy, as well as those by her students and alumni. Other exhibitions include ‘Mixing Messages: Graphic Design in Contemporary Culture’ at the Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design, ‘Graphic Design in America: A Visual Language History’ at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and ‘L’ image des Mots’ at the Centre Pompidou Centre de Creation Industrielle, Paris; the Design Museum, London, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, the International Design Conference at Aspen, the Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum, and the Pacific Design Center; the Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Isreal Museum, Jerusalem, and the Cultural Palace, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Her graphic design is in the permanent design collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt Museum, Denver Art Museum, Walker Art Center and Cranbrook Academy of Art.
International lectures include five ICOGRADA and four ICSID congresses, the Stanford Design and Aspen conferences, the Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design, the New York Architectural League, Harvard University, the Rietveld Academy of Amsterdam, and JIDA and JAGDA, Japan. Juries include the AIGA Communication Graphics, ACD 100 Show, IDSA Industrial Design Excellence Awards, ID Magazine Annual design review, Interiors Magazine ‘I’ Awards, and 1984, 1988 and 1991 United States Presidential Design Awards.
Design awards include the ID Magazine Annual Design Review, the AIGA Communication Graphics Show, the STA 100 Show, the Print Regional Design Annual, the Type Directors Club of New York TDC Show, the New York Art Directors Club One Show, the Society of Publication Designers, the Interiors Magazine ‘I’ Awards, and the Industrial Designers Society of America IDEA Awards.