Susan Verba

Institutional Affiliation 
Associate Professor of Design, UC Davis
Professional Bio 

UC Davis Professor Susan Verba (Department of Design) directs the UC Davis Center for Design in the Public Interest (DiPi), which brings together teams of creative people from different fields to solve problems through better design and to study how interdisciplinary groups work, investigating the question: what does democratic design look like? Susan’s academic background includes a BS in Mechanical Engineering (Stanford University) and an MFA in Graphic Design (Yale University). She also is principal and co-founder of Studio/lab, where she leads research-based projects and advocates for the value of design in corporate, nonprofit, and government communications.

Area of Expertise 

As a design researcher and practitioner, my areas of expertise include typography, visual communication, and information design, as well as research-based design methods and participatory action research.

My work focuses on information design that directly benefits the public in areas such as health, safety, civic/community participation, and accessibility. Using design as a tool to facilitate understanding, I advocate for the collective redesign of everyday things—for example, graphics, signage, public documents, forms, and other systems that need improvement because they are confusing and frustrating to use. My research also looks at how critical making benefits from critical interdisciplinarity.

I direct the UC Davis Center for Design in the Public Interest (DiPi), which brings together teams of creative people from different fields to solve problems through better design and to study how interdisciplinary groups work, investigating the question: what does democratic design look like?
Workshop Locations