Meta Newhouse has been named chair of Undergraduate Communications Design in the School of Design. Newhouse joins Pratt from Lesley University, in Cambridge, MA, where she served as a professor and design department chair, overseeing programs in graphic design, interactive design, and design for user experience. She will begin the role at Pratt on August 1. 

“We are happy to welcome Meta to our community. With a distinguished professional career, a long record of successful teaching, program and curricular innovation, and extensive academic administrative experience,” said Anita Cooney, dean of the School of Design, “I am confident that Meta will quickly become a valued chairperson and member of Pratt’s community.”

As chair, Newhouse will helm Pratt’s Undergraduate Communications Design Department, which includes approximately 80 faculty and 575 students. The department offers a BFA with emphasis in either graphic design or illustration, curricula that pair critical, cultural observation with emerging technologies, and tools to help students form their own design processes. 

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with the extraordinary faculty and staff at Pratt—and to champion the boundless creativity of its students. NYC is ‘our oyster’… so, the collaborative opportunities seem limitless. I’m beyond enthusiastic about the future of both graphic design and illustration as disciplines that can move society forward. August 1 can’t arrive soon enough,” said Newhouse.

In addition to her leadership experience at Lesley University, Newhouse held a tenured professor position at the College of Arts and Architecture at Montana State University for fifteen years. There, she also served as founding director of the Design Sandbox (DSEL), a program that pairs the College of Arts and Architecture faculty and students with peers from other colleges across campus, creating interdisciplinary courses and workshops that respond to community and industry needs. One such course, Farm to Market, won the 2017 Core77 Design Education Initiative Award. 

Newhouse’s research centers on branding, guerrilla thinking, design as a social practice, and the intersection of type and culture, and she has taught a diverse range of courses in these subjects, among others. She has received multiple awards, including two Teaching Innovation Awards at MSU and a Fulbright Fellowship in Ireland at University College Cork in 2020. She has helped develop and been a regular participant in symposia at MSU, and has participated in major academic and professional conferences such as AIGA, TypeCon, and ATypi.

Prior to joining academia, Newhouse also worked as a creative director at GroupBaronet in Texas, where she had robust responsibilities as a creative leader and mentor. Her own professional practice, Meta Newhouse Design, includes research, strategy, concept, design, copywriting, and production on projects for non-profit organizations such as the American Heart Association and the Susan G. Komen Foundation, as well as for-profit businesses primarily in the entertainment, travel/tourism, telecom, healthcare, hospitality, retail, and high-tech industries.

Her design work has been included in several publications, including Brand Identity Essentials: 100 Principles for Designing Logos and Building Brands and Logo Lounge, as well as in international exhibitions such as Poster for Tomorrow: Make Extremism History and the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Resolution for Human Rights poster compilation. Her poster, “Climate Change Bites,” has been added to the permanent collections of renowned institutions such as the V&A Museum in London, Les Arts Decoratifs de Paris in the Louvre, Stedelijk Museum Breda in the Netherlands, Lahti Poster Museum in Finland, and Designmuseum Danmark. She has also participated in a number of residencies for her creative work and research, including most recently, the Museum of Typography and Printing (Tipoteca) in Cornuda, Italy.

Newhouse earned her Master of Fine Arts in Communication Design at the University of North Texas and her Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts and Art History at Vanderbilt University.