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Ford, Ann E., MFA

Chair, Associate Professor - Graphic Design

Art and Design

Phone: (804) 524-1153
Location: 216D Harris Hall


Fall Semester Spring Semester
VCAD 202 - Typography II VCAD 200 - Graphic Design History
VCAD 203 - Graphic Design I VCAD 312 - Print Production II
VCAD 499 - Special Topics in Graphic Design VCAD 416 - Advertising Design

Ann Ford ArtEducation

2008 – Virginia Commonwealth University, School of the Arts, Richmond, Virginia
Master of Fine Arts in Design / Visual Communications Thesis title: Typographic Performance: bringing the stage into the design process.
Thesis Research: Collaboration with performance artists, directors and faculty to obtain a greater understanding of performance as an experimental approach to the creative problem solving process.

1997 – Virginia Commonwealth University, School of the Arts, Richmond, VA
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Arts and Design—Magna Cum Laude

Additional Education

Summer 2007 – Arts in Florence — Independent Study
A month–long intense program touring throughout Italy and Switzerland. Observations and documentation through photography and drawing.

2005 – 2006 – Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
School of Graduate Studies
Master of Interdisciplinary Studies courses in Graphic Design and English
Preparing Future Faculty in the Professions
"The Preparing Future Faculty in the Professions module provides a special emphasis on preparing faculty for positions in professional schools. This series of Preparing Future Faculty courses is modeled on the national Preparing Future Faculty Program created by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.”


  • GRAD 601 The Academic Professions (1 credit)
  • GRAD 602 Seminar in College Teaching (1 credit)
  • GRAD 604 Seminar in Teaching the Professions (1 credit)
  • GRAD 605 Professional Specialty Seminars (1 credit)

1992 – 1994 – J Sargeant Reynolds Community College, Richmond, Virginia
Liberal Arts / General Academic Studies

2003 – Printable Technologies
A leader in web to print and Variable Date Printing (VDP) for commercial and digital printing service providers on a global scale. Certified Site Administrator—detailed hands on training to manage and maintain my company’s site, along with, design and develop variable data, one–to–one marketing products.


Academic Appointments

2008 – present – Virginia State University, School Liberal Arts and Education, Department of Art & Design
Petersburg, Virginia
Assistant Professor / Department of Art & Design
teach courses in Typography, Print Production, Graphic Design, Web Design, HTML, Publication Design, Senior Thesis and Computer Graphics.

2002 – 2008 – Virginia Commonwealth University, School of the Arts Richmond, Virginia
Adjunct Faculty / Department of Graphic Design
teach courses in Typography, Electronic Preyerss, Systems in Design, Electronic Imaging, Commercial Printing and Art Direction.

2007 – Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Mass Communication, Richmond, Virginia
Graduate Teaching Assistant
assist the faculty with projects for class and academic research.

Professional Practice

2001 – present – Chambers Design, Ashland, Virginia
Creative Director and Principal
day to day operations and graphic design. Abbreviated client list: Bon Sectors Richmond Health System, City of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University, Adviser Compliance Associates.

2005 – 2007 – Virginia Commonwealth University, School of the Arts in Qatar, Richmond, Virginia
VCU Qatar Liaison
served as liaison between VDU Qatar and VDU Richmond in procurement, travel, public relations, financial operations and graphic design.

2002 – 2003 – Choice Communications, Inc. Richmond, Virginia Director of Creative and Prepress Services
coordinate all aspects of internal graphic design, variable data design and programming and preyerss production workfolk.

2000 – 2003 – Virginia Commonwealth University, School of the Arts, Richmond, Virginia
Director of Graphic Design & Public Relations, Department of Theatre
design and develop promotional pieces for all theatre productions, newsletters, brochures, ads, and web page. coordinate and oversee public relations.

1998 – 2000 – James River Press, Richmond, Virginia
Graphic Designer
book concept layout and design, brochures, stationary systems, newsletters, business cards, book covers and catalog design.

1997 – 1998 – The Wright Agency, Ashland, Virginia
Graphic Designer
develop and design brochures, logos, ads, newsletters, annual reports, magazine and book design.

1996 – 1997 – TheatreVirginia, Richmond, Virginia
Graphic Design Intern
design and produce brochures, postcards, posters and ads.

1996 – 1997 – Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, Richmond, Virginia
Lab Assistant
generate output from computer files, assist with corpsman and track system photography, effectively opaque negatives, initiate and color correct slide scans.

Honors Program Brochure, Freelance Project, January 1997, Spring Semester 1997 lecture/class brochure. Portfolio Acceptance Day Poster, Freelance Project, October 1996 design for the School of the Arts Portfolio Acceptance Days.



  • Web Graphics I • VACD 210
  • Web Graphics II • VACD 211
  • Typography I • VACD 201
  • HTML • VACD 304
  • Print Production I • VACD 302
  • Print Production II • VACD 312
  • Web Design I • VACD 305
  • Publication Design • VACD 315
  • Web Design II • VACD 410
  • Senior Thesis Project • VACD 451
  • Computers For Artists • ARTS 108
  • Electronic Imaging • GDES 419
  • Communication Design: Systems in Design • GDES 410
  • Art Direction I • GDES 341
  • Intermediate Typography • GDES 213
  • Typography I • GDES 211
  • Communication Design Computer Techniques • GDES 209
  • Print Mediums • GDES 352
  • Studio Management • GDES 356
  • Electronic Pre-press • CARD 401

Course Development

Commercial Printing Processes • GDES 491

Upper Level Studio / Lecture. An in-depth exploration on commercial printing production processes and techniques, including their integration with traditional production methods, and their use in preparing design work for production.

Typical Course Content Areas: projects emphasizing traditional mechanical techniques, incorporating basic mechanicals, electronic techniques, preyerss operations and production.

Student Development

2004 – 2011 – Commercial Printing Tours
Visit various local commercial printers to expose students to printing industry practices.

2009 – 2011 – CreateAthon onCampus Participation
Coordinate groups of Virginia State University students in collaboration with Virginia Commonwealth University Mass Communication students, prior to and following, the 24-hour event to provide design solutions for non-profit organizations.


2008 – present – Faculty Advisor, AIGA | the association for design
Virginia State University student group

2008 – present – Student Internships
Contact and arrange internships with local design community such as, Virginia Bar Association, Virginia Living Magazine and Sycamore Rouge Theatre.

Speakers and Exhibitions

2008 – 2011 – Lecturer, Beth Schumacher, BW Wilson paper company
Speaker for Print Production I class. She speaks every semester the course is offered.

2009 – Visiting Artist, John Jennings exhibition and workshop
Coordinate visit, workshop, lecture and exhibition of artist John Jennings, a prominent African-American comic book artist.

Community Service

Spring 2009, 2010 – CreateAthon onCampus
CreateAthon onCampus is an expansion of CreateAthon, a nationwide 24-hour, work-around the clock creative blitz begun in 1998 by RIGGS Advertising in Columbia, SC.

2002 – 2007 – Hanover Arts & Activities Center
A local non-profit arts organization representing the Town of Ashland, Virginia. The center is responsible for community events, including; a semi-annual variety show, a holiday historical house tour, 4th of July celebration and parade, where no motorized vehicles are permitted, and a French film festival.


Currently investigating subjects pertaining to traditional print publications and e-publications and the result of education the future graphic designers.

Explorations of alternative methodologies to educate and encourage students to become design thinkers and problem solvers. How a designer’s collaboration, early in a project, can be benefical for the end result. Subjects of interest are the firm IDEO and their work with Kaiser, Schwinn, etc., as well as, the work currently active with the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation.

Ongoing and prolonged research of Graduate Thesis project topic, “Typographic Performance,” continuing to explore memory and how the memory effects the learning process as well as the emotional experience of the written word. Ongoing research, and content collection, for two new books currently in development; 100s Visual Design: Type & Grids and 100s Visual Design: Information Design.


2011 – Sketchbook Project, Brooklyn Public Arts Library, traveling exhibition

2008 – MFA Thesis Exhibition, Virginia Commonwealth University

2007 – Juried Student Design Exhibition, Virginia Commonwealth University, Anderson Gallery

2003 – Give:2 poster competition, Richmond AIGA

1997 – The Real Show poster competition, The Art Directors Club of Washington, DC

1997 – Juried Student Design Exhibition, Virginia Commonwealth University, Anderson Gallery

1996 – Money Exhibit, NationsBank in cooperation with the Richmond Arts Council, displaying dollar bill designs from department charette

Permanent Collections

2008 – Virginia Commonwealth University, Cabell Library
Thesis: Typographic Performance: bringing the stage into the design process. Collaboration with performance artists, directors and faculty to obtain a greater understanding of performance as an experimental approach to the creative problem solving process.

2007 – Virginia Commonwealth University, Cabell Library
Visual / Verbal Response
Collection of visual and verbal responses to a series of provided readings on linguistics, education and design

2005 – Virginia Commonwealth University, Cabell Library
A collection of tweleve research topics relevant to graphic design.


Packaging Templates: Paper Engineering for Professional (author / designer)
Ann Ford. Angela Patchell Books: March 31, 2009.
The first in a series of ebooks designed for Angela Patchell Books new Vizebooks application for iPhone and iPad.
100s Visual Ideas Packaging & Labels
Ann Ford & Matt Woolman. Angela Patchell Books: March 31, 2009. 100+ innovative international examples of packaging and label design. This book gives the visual inspiration needed to create a design which meets the clients needs. (autho r/ designer)
100s Visual Ideas: Logos & Letterheads
Matt Woolman. Angela Patchell Books: October 15, 2008 (production designer)
100s Visual Ideas: Formats, Folds & Bindings
Matt Woolman. Angela Patchell Books: October 15, 2008. (production designer)
Typographic Performance: bringing the stage into the design process
Ann Ford. Virginia Commonwealth University, Cabell Library: May 2008.
Collaboration with performance artists, directors and faculty to obtain a greater understanding of performance as an experimental approach to the creative problem solving process.
Color Management for Packaging: A Comprehensive Guide for Graphic Designers
John T. Drew & Sarah Meyer. RotoVision: March 2008 (production designer)
Working With Computer Type 4/Experimental Typography
Rob Carter-1998 experimental & expressive typography studies: pages: 85, 86. Wiley, 1997. (works included)
Digital Color and Type
Rob Carter-2002 experimental & expressive typography studies: pages: 225, 226. Wiley, 2002. (works included)

Publication Citation

2010 [fall] – Virginia Commonwealth University MATX Doctoral Program
MATX 601/Texts & Textuality
Typographic Performance: bringing the stage into the design process.
Required text for course.

Visiting Guest Lecturer

2010 [fall] – Virginia Commonwealth University MATX Doctoral Program
MATX 601/Texts & Textuality
Discuss the concept development surrounding my thesis project evolutions.

Professional Memberships

2010 – present – AIGA Richmond Board – Education Director

2008 – present – Southeastern College Art Conference – SECAC

2008 – present – AIGA – VSU Student Group Faculty Adviser

2006 – present – College Art Association – CAA

2004 – 2005 – AIGA Richmond Board – Educational Outreach Liaison

2004 – present – AIGA | the association for design – Richmond Chapter

1997 – present – The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi

1997 – present – Virginia Commonwealth University Alumni Association (Lifetime member)

Undergraduate Reviewer

2009 – Student Portfolio Reviewer
Semi–Annual National Conference Memphis, Tennessee

Peer Reviewer

2010 – External Professional Tenure and Promotion Reviewer
Leigh Thomson, Georgia Southern University

Philosophy of Design

Graphic design is a powerful form of visual language. It is the visualization of ideas. To be an effective visual communicator one must fully understand the roots of the profession. Studying the history of graphic design and typography, we establish an understanding of the past, and become more effective visual communicators in the present. At the center of all successful graphic designers is focus and determination.

A critical component to a successful graphic designer, is the ability to think visually. Can solve design problems is instrumental to the success of all graphic designers. As we enter the era of globalization and multidisciplinary collaborations, the need for critical thinking skills is even more important.

Experimentation is also a vital part of my design philosophy. By experimenting, with new and unconventional forms, it allows us to expand our creativity. Design methodology is useful in identifying the needs of a client, while discovering opportunity, developing insight and driving innovation toward a solution. Every project begins with a design process, or methodology. By analyzing whom the message is intended will determine how the audience will receive the message. It is then, the message can be crafted and delivered in coherent and effective means. Ultimately, communicating the idea or concept.

Designer is a language or strategy which speaks to the promotion of a product. Communicating the importance and appreciation of design to consumers, requires a steadfast commitment to championing and advocating the cultural understanding and appreciation of design.

Philosophy of Teaching

There is a difference between a job and your work; a job is a place you go to receive a salary or a paycheck and your work is something you are proud of at the end of a long day.” – Akira Ouchi

The above-mentioned quote came from a professor of mine. They are words of wisdom I attempt to achieve on a daily basis. I find these words instrumental in my own personal learning experiences and an influence of my teaching style and philosophy. I am truly passionate about teaching design and typography. I hope my enthusiasm is contagious, encouraging students to take a vested interest in their own passion to be lifelong creators. Graphic design is an ever-changing profession in a complex world. I believe all students should have a firm grasp on design methodology and the design process, equipping them with the resources to think conceptually, ultimately contributing to their methodological self-awareness. Flexibility is key to professional practice. A designer must have the ability to multi–task on various levels from concept to implementation, adapting to changes in tools, media and audiences. My role in this process is to broaden the horizons of the student’s knowledge and skill. It is imperative that students understand the history of graphic design, conceptual thinking, design philosophy, as well as study previous and current trends. Education is as a lifelong journey to be experienced every day. I strive to create a positive and innovative learning environment.

My goals for my students are they become innovators in the field of design. Therefore, it is important to push the students to experiment and the desire to go one step further. It is crucial students assume the role as an equal partner in their education. No matter how talented a student, one without passion, drive and determination will just be a talented student. However, an average student with these qualities will surpass the student with more talent, simply because they have the desire, drive and true passion to improve.

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