Multi-disciplinary graphic designer and educator creating work that investigates social and cultural systems.

I am interested in the way meaning is constructed by the intentional combination of verbal and non-verbal elements in a pursuit of visual and intellectual agency that reflects or records the human condition. I see this practice as a specific segment of social design inspiring change through tangible messages presented as advocacy, activism, documentation, education, experiential frameworks, storytelling, visual narrative or visual rhetoric.

I focus on meaning and message over style or medium. This focus has allowed me to develop a multi-disciplinary relationship with graphic design, working with talented clients, organizations, colleagues and students across industry and topic.

I began my career as a visual journalist creating editorial design for the Chicago Sun-Times News Group suburban bureau. I then turned my interest in the human condition toward social design and worked in-house at a not-for-profit organization. From there, I founded and worked in a small social design studio in Chicago, serving a variety of inspiring organizations and missions. Ultimately, this led to the founding of my own social design studio, Heart Giants. All of these experiences have been united by a need to elevate humanity through communication.

Since 2010, I have been sharing this experience and instigating young designers to find their own agency and impact through graphic design. I have found that my talents and passion are best served by inspiring students as a professional educator.

I hold a Master of Fine Arts, M.F.A., in Visual Communication from Northern Illinois University. I hold a Bachelor of Arts, B.A., in History with a minor in Studio Art from Northern Illinois University.

Links of Interest

DesignEdu.Today Podcast

I was invited to share my thoughts and practice with regards to “Adding Social Context to Interactive Design Courses” with  Gary Rozanc, University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Anne Berry, Cleveland State University at the 2018 UCDA Design Education Summit.

View More

Frank Magazine

I was interviewed and shared my thoughts on social design in the Design for Good article of Frank Magazine.

View More

Making Thoughts

I maintain an ongoing research project entitled Making Thoughts. Making Thoughts is the physical manifestation of processing the conceptual qualities of type and language. The project explores how we remember fragmented bits of text or conversation. The context references the sub-conscious collision of form and meaning. The content may be rhetorical or pointed—but, the meaning is always defined internally by the viewer.

View More

The Society of Typographic Arts

From 2017–2019, I served Chicago’s oldest professional design organization as Treasurer for The Society of Typographic Arts. The STA focuses on the art and craft of typography, design and visual communication.

View More

About This Site

This site presents my practice as a graphic designer and educator. The goal is to reveal my process, outcome and intent—through individual or collective study, each project and experience a reflection of my agency. The site is powered by WordPress using a hand-coded custom theme adapted from Starkers. Hosting is provided by WebFaction. All code pushed and pulled using Coda 2 from Panic. All text is set in Neue Haas Unica created by Toshi Omagari and released by Linotype.

© Johnathon Strube, 1982–2020.