John Caserta

Curriculum Vitae
b. 1973, Durham, NC, USA



2022— Dean, Division of Architecture + Design Rhode Island School of Design
Position Summary & Highlights:
  • Four year interim appointment starting July 1, 2022
  • Operational oversight of seven academic departments: Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Architecture, Furniture Design, Industrial Design, Graphic Design and Apparel Design; as well as RISD oversight of the Brown/RISD Masters of Design Engineering program
  • Assure academic excellence through approval of courses, grants and program materials
  • Evaluate faculty dossiers and make recommendations for reappointment, critical review, and promotion
  • Co-managed Department of Architecture, including hiring part-time faculty, staff and transitioned department out of receivership
  • Modeled co-leadership structure for Department of Industrial Design
  • Oversaw divisional implementation of college-wide Social Equity and Inclusion requirement for each undergraduate program
  • Worked with deans and Provost on undergraduate credit reduction and faculty teaching reduction with related academic and budget implications
  • Participated in fundraising events with Institutional Engagement
  • Evaluated capital and operating budget requests
  • Participated in the Leadership Development Program (Academic Impressions)
  • Search Committees for Provost; Asst. Dean of Brown/RISD Programs and Program Manager; Chief Marketing Officer
  • Financial Optimization Committee
  • Budget Finance Committee
  • Lifelong learning advisory committee
  • Co-Chair, Brown/RISD Programs cross-institutional committee


2014–17, 2018–19 Department Head, Graphic Design Rhode Island School of Design
Highlights from 4 years:
  • Researched, scripted and implemented new undergraduate core curriculum
  • Led faculty rewrite of required three-semester typography sequence
  • Supervised three staff members
  • Oversaw hiring of five full-time faculty, four term faculty and two staff
  • Initiated 1-credit workshop format for College
  • Initiated and led renovations to graduate studio workspace
  • Initiated and led creation of exhibition/event space for Department
  • Commissioned and oversaw schematic designs for student and faculty spaces
  • Staffed 110 courses/year; Added 15+ new electives into curriculum
  • Oversaw NASAD accreditation process for BFA Program
  • Scripted 2018 Academic Program Review response
  • Twice oversaw launch of Department website,
  • Garnered press and fostered substantial social media following
  • Led effort to generate faculty departmental decision-making protocols

Faculty Appointments

2016– Rhode Island School of Design, Associate Professor
2012–16 Rhode Island School of Design, Assistant Professor
2006–12 Rhode Island School of Design, Critic
2011–12 University of Connecticut, Adjunct Faculty


Electives Design & Politics, The Web & Democracy, HTML Output, Call for Proposals, Graduate Open Research
Workshops Web Programming, Digital Bits, Expressive Form with HTML/CSS, Serendipity in the Digital Library, Data-Driven Design
Core courses Graduate Typography 1, Typography 1 & 3, Senior Degree Project, Graduate Studio 1, Graduate Thesis 2, Design Studio 1, 2 & 4, Form & Communication, Visual Systems, Making Meaning, Relational Design


  Academic Policies; Brown/RISD Dual Degree Oversight Committee; RISD Research Committee; Search Committees for Dept. of Furniture, Registrar, RISD Design Director and Creative Director


2004 MFA in Graphic Design, Yale University School of Art
1995 BA in Journalism (Visual Communication), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


The Design Office

2007–21 Founder and Director of a work and project space for designers in downtown Providence
  • Co-working space housing 70+ independent practitioners since inception
  • Shared working library
  • Publisher & distributor of projects
  • Post-graduate fellowship program
  • BIPOC fellowship program
  • Open-source software projects
  • Public events and workshops
  • Support for member projects & critiques
  • Archived at
  • Closed on July 1, 2021. More

Custom Flow Solutions

2009–12 Partner and Designer for company designing automated charts and graphs for media companies including Thomson Reuters and The New York Times

John Caserta Design

2005–12 Principal of a solo design practice focusing on information design and websites for new media; Providence, R.I.
  Clients: Rockefeller Foundation, Antenna International, Creative Time, Max Protetch Gallery, Canary Project, American Battle Monuments Commission, Thomson Reuters, Watson Institute at Brown University, The New York Times, Macromedia/Adobe, Visa USA

Early career

2000–01 Quokka Sports, Creative Director
1996–99 Chicago Tribune, Design Director, Interactive News
1995–96 Atlanta Journal-Constitution, News Graphics Staff



2021 Eye on Design “What Leading Designers, Educators, and Writers Want to See in 2021.” January 2021.
2020 Reimagining Elections.” Video essay for Common Cause R.I.
2018 Talk Listen Door. with Schumann, Verity, eds. The Design Office
2017 “Dear Class of 2017,” Design Observer.
2017 “Question the Classroom.” Design & Culture. Vol 4, #1
2016 “Kingdoms of God” with L. Widder. Manifest #2
2015 “Which 2016 Candidate Has the Worst Logo?” Politico
2015 “Thesis Book Project.” Design Observer
2015 Two browser-based images, Printed Web #3
2014 “Documentary Icons.” Icons and essay for The Noun Project
2014 “The iPhone is the new Model-T.” Essay for
2013 “Insights per Minute: On Obfuscation,” Design Observer
2012 “Can one size fit all?” The Noun Project blog
2010 “Instructions,” and “Khmer Rouge.” The Encyclopedia Project. Vol. 2, F–K
2010 Ira Rakatansky: As Modern As Tomorrow. with Lynnette Widder, eds. William Stout Publishers
2009 “It’s a Jungle Out There: What do Meat Labels Mean?” Meatpaper, Issue Six
2007 “Keys.” Tuesday: An Art Project. Issue 1:2
2007 “Pig slaughter, Montenero Val Cocchiara.” Meatpaper, Issue Zero
2004 “Black and White, then, Color.” Multi-purpose. Winterhouse Editions
1999 “Consistency vs. Variety.” Design. Vol 71
1999 “Online Newspapers.” Design. Vol 70

Quoted / Cited

2022 Boston Globe “Graphic design professors unimpressed by R.I. license plate choices”
2022 Washington Post “A Missouri county’s ‘cluttered’ seal was ridiculed online. It prompted a global search for a replacement.”
2021 Eye on Design “Many of the Design Community’s Gathering Places Shuttered During the Pandemic. What Did We Lose?” July 2021.
2021 Noun Project Blog “Creator Spotlight: John Caserta”. June 2021.
2021 Mold “Graphic Design and Local Food Ecologies”. March 2021.
2021 Eye on Design “How Polished Branding is Shaping a New Generation of Public Parks”. February 2021.
2020 Communication Arts “Redesigning Creative Workspaces”. March 2020.
2019 Fast Company “Are traditional design degrees still relevant?”
2019 Eye on Design Design Education is Moving Toward Specialization—Can Colleges Keep Up?
2019 Providence Journal “…plan to replace ‘wave’ license plates”
2019 Texas Monthly The Texanist Column
2018 Eye on Design An Idealistic Answer to Faceless, Rent-a-space Co-working
2018 Christian Science Monitor The story behind the 2018 Winter Olympics emblem
2017 Textiles Revolution Looms Large
2017 AirBnB Design. “Modern Pictograms for Lottie.” Salih Abdul-Karim
2017 Noun Project blog. “Icons in Motion”. Modern Pictograms
2017 Scratching the Surface podcast (No. 36). Interview Jarrett Fuller
2017 Texas Standard. “New NBA Team Logo Spurs Critiques.” Michael Marks
2016 Billboard. Graphic Design Experts Weigh In on Pandora’s New Logo” Lyndsey Havens
2016 Eye on Design. “Design in 2016 Should’ve Been…” Madeleine Morley
2016 Eye on Design. “How Does RISD Teach Graphic Design…” Katie Chang
2016 Linux Insider. “Google’s New Fonts Chip Away at Written Language Barriers.” John P. Mello Jr.
2016 Graphic Magazine. “Notices” and RISD GD part of alumni profile
2016 “Physical and digital spaces of daily interaction.” Interview with Jonathan Pierini
2016 Associated Press. “Designers weigh in on Rhode Island’s new logo?” Michelle Smith
2016 Providence Journal. “Local designers say logo gave wrong message” Mark Patinkin
2015 ThinkProgress. “Why Did The ‘Peace For Paris’ Image Go Viral?”
2015 Boston Globe. “A slow climb back for Providence” (The Design Office)
2015 Through Process. “Episode 25: Go Be Brave: With L. Hitchcock & J. Caserta”
2015 Quipsologies. “Modern Pictograms” website
2014 Box it up. “Letterboxes” Basheer Graphic Books, Singapore
2014 Deskmag. “Coworking in Providence, Rhode Island” Amanda Gray
2014 Providence Phoenix. “DesignWeekRI” Philip Eil
2014 Type Object. Barbara Brownie. Included “Spatial Typography” and “Letterboxes”
2014 Providence Phoenix. “Let’s work together” Philip Eil
2013 Bauwelt. Journal Issue 20.13 “Ira Rakatansky” review
2012 Quipsologies. “Locally Made”
2013 Providence Phoenix. “Locally Made” Philip Eil
2013 Providence Phoenix. “What to do with the Superman building?” Philip Eil
2013 Pictos. “Modern Pictograms.” Index Books, Barcelona
2012 Downtown Providence. “Independent Design at 204 Westminster”
2012 The Next Web. “This new typeface was made just for interface designers”
2012 Quipsologies. “Modern Pictograms”
2012 Apartment Therapy. “The Design Office’s Vintage Modern Workspace”
2012 Rising in the East: Contemporary New Towns in Asia. Newtown Publishers
2011 Quipsologies. “Flatfile”
2011 Architect’s Newspaper. “Life Drawing”. Review of Rakatansky book
2011 Quipsologies. “Fall Leaves”
2011 GoLocalProv. “The Design Office: RI’s Creative Collaborative”
2010 Apartment Therapy. “Rakatansky’s Mid-Century Modern Masterpiece”
2010 Architecture Research Quarterly. “Books Received”
2010 Apartment Therapy. “New Book, Ira Rakatansky”
2010 ReadyMade. “As Modern As Tomorrow”
2010 3D Typography. Mark Batty Publisher. “Letterboxes”
2010 idN Magazine. Eco-Graphics Issue. “Letterboxes”
2010 Providence Journal. “Still Modern at 90”
2010 San Francisco Chronicle. “Providential Find”
2009 Apartment Therapy. “Letterboxes by The Design Office”
2009 Coudal Partners Blog. “Case Study: John Caserta”
2008 Providence Business News. “R.I. artist Recognized for Map of WWII invasion”
2008 Providence Business News. “Design Community is Growing in Ocean State”
2003 Digit. “Smart Art”
2002 Macromedia Showcase: Flash Interface Design. Macromedia Press
2002 eDesign. “XML in Flash.” Profile of work from Quokka Sports
2001 Communication Arts. “Quokka Sports Network, Nothing But Net”
2001 Color Harmony for the Web. Rockport Publishers
2000 The New York Times. “Motion Without Sickness: Web Animation Comes of Age.”
1997 Redesigning Print for the Web. Hayden Books

Public Lectures / Panels / Juries

2015–21 Providence Public Library, D.B. Updike Prize, juror
2020 Common Cause R.I., “Reimagining Elections”, panel
2020 Youth Arts Movement, Zoom autobiographical lecture
2020 Design × RI “Design Week”, portfolio reviewer
2019 XXXI NYC, Web to Print workshop and discussion
2019 Cooper Hewitt, “Maximizing the platform: Publishing strategies for discoverability and agility”
2018 RISD NY Alumni Club, “Design & Politics”
2017 Yale Odds & Ends Book Fair, “Bindery.js: Web to Book”
2017 DesignWeekRI, “Creating Collaborative Community” lunchtime conversation
2017 Design × RI Hall of Fame Award, juror
2016 NCMPR (Comm College Marketing/PR) Dist. 1 Keynote: “Growing in all directions”
2016 AIGA NY, “Designing the Future of Design Education” panel
2016 “Make it Yours” lecture with Design Office members, R.I. Commerce Corporation
2015–17 National Screening Committee, Design, Fulbright-Hays Program, U.S. Dept. of State
2015 AIGA Biannual Design Conference, “Browser to Book” lecture & panel
2015 University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, lecture of recent work
2015 University of Delaware, Visiting Designers lecture
2015 RISD, “Artisan-Toolmaker” panel
2015 California College of the Arts, “Browser as Tool” lecture
2014 DesignWeekRI, “Organizational Systems” lecture and panel
2014 RISD Museum, “Critical Encounters: Design & Education” panel. Moderator
2013 Brown University Library Digital Scholarship Lecture Series, “Data-Driven Design Systems for the Web”
2013 AIGA Rhode Island, “Making of Modern Pictograms” lecture
2013 RISD “Intersection of Design and Manufacturing” panel
2013 RISD Museum, “Pedagogies Past/Present/Future” panel
2013 Michigan State University, “Visiting Scholars Lecture Series”
2012 RISD Research Colloquium, “Teaching Digital” lecture
2012 WordCamp Providence, “Wordpress for Teachers” lecture
2012 RISD Museum of Art, “Designers on Design” lecture
2012 Harvard GSD, “GSD Talks: Ira Rakatansky” panel
2011 A Better World by Design. Moderator, “Graphics that Inspire” panel
2011 Design Innovation Grant, RI State Council for the Arts. Judge
2011 Pecha Kucha, Providence. “Office Furniture”
2010 RISD Alumni Lecture Series with Ira Rakatansky
2010 Providence Preservation Society. “20th Century Buildings of Providence” panel
2010 Queens College, CUNY. “Vernacular Architecture of the Alto Molise”
2010 Pecha Kucha, Providence. “Favorite Photographs of Ira Rakatansky Buildings”
2005 Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. “Works in Progress”
2004 The American Press Institute. Panelist, “Assessing Online Story Design”
2003 AltPick Awards. The Alternative Pick’s Awards for New Media Design. Judge
2002–04 SNDies. Society for News Design’s monthly and annual competition. Judge
2001,02 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Speaker, “Multimedia Bootcamp”
1999 University of California, Berkeley. Panelist, “Online Journalism”
1998 The Poynter Institute. Speaker, “Visual Edge” photography conference
1997,98 Society for News Design’s annual conference. Speaker and panelist
1997 AIGA Biannual Design Conference. “The Future of News” lecture & panel
1994–97 NPPA Electronic Photojournalism Workshop

Academic service / External class visits

2023 Qatar University, author of new BFA in Graphic Design curriculum (in progress)
2023 Parsons Communication Design, Senior Project critic
2021 Program reviewer for Drexel Graphic Design BS Program
2020 Program reviewer for FIT Graphic Design BFA Program
2020 Parsons Communication Design, Senior Project critic
2017 Tama Art University, Exchange Program visit and lecture
2017 N.C. State class lecture & critique, “Graduate Seminar”
2017 CalArts class lecture & critique, “Design Entrepreneurship”
2017 Review of book manuscript for Fairchild Books (Cezzar)
2016 Review of book manuscript for Focal Press/Routledge
2016 Program Reviewer for Department of Design, Lebanese American University
2015 Met School Providence, Class visit
2015 Lecture to RISD Museum Docents, Faculty Biennial
2015 Univ. of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, Visiting Critic, Senior Degree Project
2015 Univ. of California at Davis, Class visit
2015 Program Reviewer for BFA Graphic Design Program, California College of the Arts
2014 Boston University, Visiting Critic, Junior Reviews
2013 Brown University Creative Scholars Group, Ian Gonsher adviser
2013 Boston Architectural College, “Proposals and Presentations” class talk
2013 RISD Painting Department: Junior Year Reviews, Holly Hughes
2013 RISD Advanced Architecture Studio: Computing Drawing, Carl Lostritto
2012 Univ. of Connecticut, Visiting Critic, Senior Degree Project
2012 Boston University, Visiting Critic, Senior Degree Project
2010,11 Roger Williams University. Professional Practice Lecture
2009 Clark University. Presentation of my work

Grants / Awards / Recognition

2018 AIGA 50 Books, 50 Covers, Talk, Listen, Door w/The Design Office.
2012,14 RISD Professional Development Fund
2014 Print Regional Design Annual. Winner, “Locally Made”
2014 R.I. State Council for the Arts. Winner, “Design Innovation Grant”
2014 Communication Arts Typography Annual 4. Winner, “Locally Made”
2013 AIGA Best of New England. Winner, “Poster & Bookmarks”
2012 Providence Revolving Fund Storefront Grant
2007,11 RISD Part-time Faculty Association Technical Development Grant
2008 Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts with  l. widder & Risd
2008 Society for News Design Malofiej Awards. Best of Show, “Sector Snapshot”
2004 AIGA 50 Books/50 covers. Winner. Multi-purpose
2004 J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Fellowship in the Arts
2004 Institute of International Education. Miguel Vinciquerra Fellowship for Research
2003 Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism. Winner
2001 Communication Arts Interactive Design Annual 7. Winner, Information Design
2001 Flash Film Festival, New York. Winner, technical merit, “NCAA Brackets”
1998 How Magazine, International Design Annual. Merit award for multimedia
1997 Editor & Publisher. Best Overall News Site, “Chicago Tribune”
1997 Editor & Publisher. Best Design, “Lost Mariners”
1997 Newspaper Association of America. Best Online Newspaper, “Chicago Tribune”
1997 The Society for News Design. Winner, Page Design
1995 UNC-Chapel Hill. Stuart Sechriest Award for the top graduate in Visual Journalism

Group Exhibitions

2017 AIGA Rhode Island, “SeeUs”
2016 RISD Expose, “Uncommissioned: Recent works from The Design Office”
2015 Providence Preservation Society. “Most Endangered Properties 20th Anniv.”
2015 RISD Architecture Gallery. “Six Lines”
2009–18 RISD Faculty Biennial, RISD Museum
2011,12 Providence Preservation Society. “Most Endangered Properties”
2012 Mota Italic Gallery. “New Vintage Digital Vernacular Letters”
2007–11 AS220, Providence. Photo Lottery Biennial
2007 Newspace Center for Photography, Portland, OR. “Among Us and Curious”
2007 Missy McLamb Gallery, Pittsboro, NC. “Progeny”
2005 Town Square Meeting Hall, Montenero, Italy. “Untitled Art Show”
2004 S.F. Center for the Book. “Reading the Future: Experimental Books from Yale”
2004 “Multi-purpose,” Graphic Design MFA Exhibit, New Haven, CT


2020– Board of Directors, DownCity Design (Providence)
2016–19 Member of Common Field
2015–19 AIGA Rhode Island Advisory Board
2012– Member of AIGA
  Citizen of Italy & USA
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Index of everything


Interim Dean of Architecture + Design and formerly Department Head of the Graphic Design Department at Rhode Island School of Design. Founded The Design Office, a workspace for designers, in 2007, and ran it until its closing in 2021. Hear an interview that covers my teaching and design career. Read an overview of my work from The Noun Project. This site is updated regularly and outputs to a book with Bindery. Get in touch via email.