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Ellen Lupton is a writer, curator, and graphic designer. She is director of the Graphic Design MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, where she also serves as director of the Center for Design Thinking. As curator of contemporary design at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum since 1992, she has produced numerous exhibitions and books, including Mechanical Brides: Women and Machines from Home to Office (1993), Mixing Messages: Graphic Design and Contemporary Culture (1996), Letters from the Avant-Garde (1996), and Skin: Surface, Substance + Design (2002).
She recently has focused on bringing design awareness to broader audiences. Her book Thinking with Type (2004) is a basic guide to typography directed at everyone who works with words. D.I.Y.: Design It Yourself (2006), co-authored with her graduate students at MICA, explains design processes to a general audience. Her newest project, D.I.Y. Kids (October 2007), co-authored with Julia Lupton, is a design book for children illustrated with kids’ art. “It’s never too early,” they explain, “to talk to your child about design.”
Books in the works include Design Your Life (with Julia Lupton) and Graphic Design: The New Basics (with Jennifer Cole Phillips). She is the co-author with Abbott Miller of several books, including The Bathroom, the Bathroom, and the Aesthetics of Waste (1992), Design Writing Research (1996), and Swarm (2006).
Lupton is a 2007 recipient of the AIGA Gold Medal, one of the highest honors given to a graphic designer or design educator in the U.S.
Ellen Lupton has contributed to various design magazines, including Print, Eye, I.D., and Metropolis. Her editorial illustrations have been published in The New York Times. A frequent lecturer around the U.S. and the world, Lupton will speak about design to anyone who will listen.
Other exhibitions she has curated and co-curated include the National Design Triennial series (2000, 2003, 2006), Feeding Desire: Design and the Tools of the Table, 1500–2005 (2006), Solos: New Design from Israel (2006), and Graphic Design in the Mechanical Age (1999), all at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.