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Leslie Atzmon

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Leslie Atzmon received her MFA in graphic design at EMU, and her PhD in design history at Middlesex University in London, England. Atzmon has published her work in a number of journals, including Design and Culture and Design Issues. She edited the collection Visual Rhetoric and the Eloquence of Design (Parlor Press 2011), and co-edited Encountering Things: Design and Theories of Things with industrial designer Prasad Boradkar of Arizona State University (Bloomsbury 2017). Atzmon also co-edited The Graphic Design Reader (Bloomsbury 2019) with Teal Triggs of The Royal College of Art, and she is currently editing the collection Design and Science (forthcoming from Bloomsbury 2020).

Atzmon curated the exhibition Open Book: An International Survey of Experimental Books with colleague Ryan Molloy. The two were awarded a related National Endowment for the Arts ArtWorks grant from for 2012-2014 to run experimental book design workshops, and to edit, design, and produce the book The Open Book Project, which explores the history and future of the book through scholarly essays plus an exhibition catalogue. Atzmon also curated the exhibition Design and Science—which explores the overlap between these two fields through three distinct lines of inquiry: merging science and design through biodesign, data manifestation, and visual metaphor—which ran at EMU’s University Gallery in fall 2019 and traveled to The Esther Klein Gallery at the Science Center in Phildelphia in winter 2020.

Atzmon was in the UK in 2016 on a Fulbright fellowship at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. Her Fulbright research was on Darwin and design thinking. In 2017, Atzmon and Molloy were awarded a prestigious Sappi Paper Ideas that Matter Grant ($41,000), which supports design projects that change lives for the better. For this grant, they worked with EMU graphic design students to rebrand Ypsilanti, Michigan’s non-profit Riverside Arts Center as a community arts hub, and to design a creative-project “Toolkit” for school children.

Artist Statement

Atzmon's recent work is concerned with the overlap between design and science. She is also interested in how design makes meaning through it material or immaterial form and function, and how deep investigation of making processes--and investigation of practice processes in general--should play a more central role in design history, theory, and criticism.

recent exhibitions and publications

  • Roger Green, exhibition review _Open Book: An International Survey of Experimental Books_, April 3-June 15, 2010, University Gallery, EMU, curated by Leslie Atzmon and Ryan Molloy,, _Sculpture_ magazine, May 2011, Vol. 30 No. 4

  • Visual Rhetoric and the Eloquence of Design. Anderson, South Carolina: Parlor Press, 2011

  • Encountering Things: Design and Theories of Things, editors Leslie Atzmon and Prasad Boradkar, London: Bloomsbury Press, 2017

  • “Intelligible Design: The Origin and Visualization of Species,” Communication Design, Volume 3, Number 2, Fall 2016.

  • The Graphic Design Reader, editors Leslie Atzmon and Teal Triggs, London: Bloomsbury Press, 2019

  • "Dimensional Typography and the Unbearable Flatness of Being" Eye: The International Review of Graphic Design,, September 2009

  • "What We Mean when We Talk about Form," Eye: The International Review of Graphic Design,, August 2009

  • Exhibition review, “Dimensional Typography: A Survey of Letterforms in Space and Time,” I Space Gallery. Chicago, Illinois, USA, January 9 – February 7, 2009, _Design and Culture_, March 2010, Vol. 2 No. 1

  • The Open Book Project, Editor, Leslie Atzmon, Co-Art Directors Ryan Molloy and Leslie Atzmon, cover design Ryan Molloy, 2014