One would often assume that a UNL College of Architecture graduate would pursue a career in architecture, but we recently discovered a graduate from 1971, whose career took an interesting and notable turn. After graduation, Douglass Scott started in the traditional practice of architecture, but quickly saw his gift in graphic design. Through his 45-year career as a graphic artist, creative director and esteemed educator at numerous east coast universities, he’s developed an incredible portfolio. We asked him to share his distinguished resume with us.
Douglass Scott was, until January 2010, Creative Director at the WGBH Educational Foundation in Boston – a producer and broadcaster of public television and radio programs, where he had worked since 1974. His major projects at WGBH include: Masterpiece Theatre, This Old House, Nova, Evening at Symphony, The Victory Garden, Evening at Pops, The Caption Center, and WGBH Radio. Over those 35 years, he was a designer of identities, promotion, advertising, and television on-air graphics for over 150 public television and radio programs.
He currently runs a design practice doing book and identity design, and is consulting Creative Director of Davis Publications, an art education publisher in Worcester, Massachusetts. Before coming to WGBH, Scott worked for Schmidtke & Layer Architects in Elgin, Illinois; was a principal of two architecture/graphic design ﬁrms in Lincoln, Nebraska – Art Coalition (with fellow students David Murphy, Kent Abraham, and Tom Piper) and Rainbow Studio (with fellow students Shelley Thornton, Greg Scott, and Scott McLaughlin); and has maintained a graphic design practice since 1968 (beginning as a poster designer for the Nebraska Union and designer/art director for the Cornhusker yearbook). From 1971–1977, Scott was a draftsman/cartographer and Operations & Intelligence Sergeant in the United States Army Reserve.
He has designed books for many publishers, including Davis Publications; Little, Brown; Houghton Mifflin; Addison-Wesley; Beacon Press; Alfred A. Knopf; E. P. Dutton, Prentice-Hall; and Harper & Row. Other clients include Suffolk University; Emmanuel College; John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum; Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities; Boston Design Museum; Harvard University’s Library, School of Public Health, and John F. Kennedy School of Government, Yale University’s Schools of Art, Drama, and Engineering; Abt Associates; and Boston Musica Viva.
He has designed exhibitions for the Boston Public Library, Museum of African American History, Mid-America Arts Alliance (working with photographer and editor Bill Ganzel for the exhibit of his photographs and text about people and places first photographed in the 1930s – Of Dustbowl Descent), Nebraska State Historical Society (an exhibit about the 50th anniversary of the Nebraska State Capitol – working with David Murphy, Dale Gibbs, and John Carter), the National Park Service, and the Rhode Island School of Design Library.
Scott currently teaches graphic design, exhibition design, typography, information design, and graphic design history at the Rhode Island School of Design (since 1980), graphic design and design history at the Yale University School of Art (since 1984), and graphic design, typography, graphic design history, and information design at Northeastern University (since 2010). Scott has also taught at University of Massachusetts/Dartmouth, Rhode Island College, Connecticut College, the Boston Architectural Center, Harvard University, Maine College of Art, and at both Rhode Island School of Design and Maine Summer Institutes of Graphic Design Studies.
In 2000, Scott received a Masters Medal from the Chancellor of the University of Nebraska. In 2011, he was the recipient of the John R. Frazier Award for Excellence in Teaching at Rhode Island School of Design.
Since 1978, Scott has given over 200 lectures on the history of design and printing, as well as his own work, at various colleges, universities and symposia. He was a curator of the history of American typography section of the 1989 exhibition Graphic Design In America, which opened at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and traveled to Phoenix, New York City, and London. Scott also curated The Roots of Modern American Graphic Design, a 1987 exhibition at the Art Institute of Boston which included 400 works by 21 American designers from 1930s–50s. He has been a visiting critic at over 35 colleges and art schools.
Scott has been collecting and preserving historical examples of graphic design since the 1960s, and in 2001, he began displaying these pieces in monthly exhibits in the Design Center at Rhode Island School of Design; and since 2012, has been curating design exhibitions of graphic design material at Northeastern University.
Scott’s design work has won awards from the American Institute of Graphic Arts, Society of Typographic Arts, Boston Hatch Awards, New York Art Directors Club, Boston Art Directors Club, Broadcast Designers Association, and Bookbuilders of Boston. He has been a member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts since 1974 and served on its national board of directors from 1989–1992. He was a member of the board of directors of DesignInquiry from 2005–2011. Since 1989, Scott has been actively constructing and exhibiting paper collages and assemblages.
Scott holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Nebraska, a Master of Fine Arts from Yale University, and studied the history of graphic design with Louis Danziger at Harvard University.