Professor Penelope Dean has received a Faculty Fellowship from UIC’s Institute for the Humanities (IFH) for the 2023–24 academic year. IFH’s faculty fellowship program supports the research of six faculty from across UIC’s humanities and associated disciplines, releasing them from teaching and administrative duties. During the fellowship year, fellows are expected to research and write full-time, deliver public lectures on their research, and lead seminars for other institute fellows.
While in residence, Dean will work on her book project Management as Design, which asks, how, exactly, did design and business culture co-evolve to such an extent that today it is often impossible to determine when one ends and the other begins? To answer this question, Dean tracks the efforts of a group of Chicago-based designers: Jay Doblin, and the network of designers he brought into his fold—Charles Owen, Richard S. Latham, Robert Vogele, Patrick Whitney, and Larry Keeley—who assimilated management theories to advance the standing of designers inside corporate structures between the mid-1950s and late 1980s. Tracing the exchanges between American business (marketing, management, consumer research) and international design (graphic, information, product), Management as Design unfolds a complex and often contradictory narrative of how designers came to speak the same language as business executives, and how business executives came to frame creativity, design thinking, innovation, and strategic design as their driving missions.
Unimark International, JCPenney Identity, 1967. Image courtesy of the Chicago Design Archive (https://chicagodesignarchive.org/project/18h-52).