Profile: Diane Lee

by Mark Thompson

Join us in welcoming Assistant Professor Diane Lee to the Department of Design! Diane comes to us from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) where she earned her MFA in Graphic Design and subsequently taught undergraduate graphic design classes. Diane also holds a BSc in Graphic Design from the University of Cincinnati (DAAP) and has taught at Clark University in Massachusetts. 

In her first semester teaching at SJSU, Diane is impressed with the engagement of her students. “This semester, I have been teaching Introduction to Typography, the class that, as a student, made me realize I wanted to become a graphic designer and woke me up to the beauty of the visual form of the written word,” she says. “It has been such a thrill to find shared enthusiasm among my students at SJSU.”

Informing her classroom approach through her professional experience, Professor Lee is a multi-disciplinary designer whose work spans print, video, writing, sound, code, and physical space. She works independently with a diverse range of clients, collaborating with small businesses, non-profits, independent artists, and cultural institutions, as well as firms like Vanderbyl Design and Apple, Inc. Drawing on her experience, she sees an ethical dimension to teaching design in the Bay Area. “Situated, as we are, in such proximity to Silicon Valley’s tech giants, where young designers can find steady, paying work, it is so important not to take for granted that designers have a significant cultural role to play,” she says. “My hope is that I can contribute to developing discerning and critical designers who extend their practice beyond commercial problem-solving.”

Professor Lee also looks forward to working with her colleagues in the college and beyond: “Since design is, by its nature, relational, I’m eager to meet potential collaborator-colleagues whose words or research might benefit from shepherding toward visual, graphic forms.”

We’re sure her students are appreciating the experience and knowledge she brings to an already excellent department.

Welcome, Diane!