Monika Krupa | The Open College of the Arts
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Monika Krupa

I am an independent designer and researcher. My current work could be classified as UX/UI Design, as I work with clients to develop digital platforms. However, the actual roles I take on are far more fluid and draw on my varied background.

I started working in a fashion atelier drafting and cutting bespoke patterns. This experience inspired me to formally study fashion. During my studies I was influenced by fields outside of my core area of study. I started to explore graphic design, editorial design, typography and web design. This led me to shifting my focus to communication design and incorporating more digital technology in my work. I earned my BDes in Fashion Communication at Ryerson University in Canada.

Inspiration for my projects comes from travel and extensive research. To design a custom typeface, I travelled to New York and in the library archives found the personal correspondence of dancer Isadora Duncan, tracing her letters to form the basis of the font. A trip through Morocco inspired a series of letterpress posters. An extended stay in Peru and work with the local community opened my eyes to the possibilities of design as a tool for social impact.

As the idea of design for social impact was brewing in my imagination my daughter entered the school system. I found myself morally at odds with the model of education and decided to delve deeper into the disconnect. I earned my MDes in design-based learning from York University in Canada. My research combined what I knew from my own design practice with the Reggio Emilia education philosophy I had discovered when travelling through Italy. The practice-led research included a collaborative project with a primary classroom which was awarded the Social Good Design Award from RGD.

I value design as a force of social impact on two levels. On the surface, communication design can bring clarity and disseminate knowledge. My clients do amazing work in education and research, I bring clarity and beauty to their projects through visual communication. I help disseminate research findings and connect new knowledge to the communities who it will impact. On a deeper level, I believe the design process can inspire positive change, unite people and stimulate dialogue to bring about creative solutions to complex problems. By engaging with the act of design we learn and grow as individuals.

In addition to my design practice I have taught design at the HE level for ten years and have been supporting students in virtual learning environments for most of that time. I understand how challenging and isolating it can be to work virtually. The dynamics of studying design in a classroom are very different form studying design remotely. As a tutor I hope to create a space for students to grow in their own design practice, and I encourage you to embrace the projects you have the opportunity to do as a student. You are not only learning the skills and techniques of the profession, you also have the opportunity to find your voice and what matters to you.

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