Cate Roman is an accomplished educator, designer, and storyteller whose work in education and for private clients spans more than 20 years. Her professional experience ranges from brand strategy and packaging design to exhibit graphics. Clients have included Mattel, Inc., the UCLA Events Office, Caruso Affiliated, and the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. Cate has taught classes in Nonprofit Branding, Information Design, Packaging Design, Typography, and Portfolio Presentation. Before joining Woodbury University as full-time faculty, she taught in the Communication Arts Department at Otis College of Art and Design.
Cate’s experimental work explores language as visual structures that replace verbal communication. The abstracted and ambiguous objects use both the presence and the absence of letterforms to articulate a visceral experience of communication. Before turning her attention to the study of design, Professor Roman was a successful actor and dancer who performed in New York, London and Los Angeles. She toured with the Cambridge Theatre Company and brings many aspects of her theatre background into the classroom. Cate holds a B.A. in Art from Pitzer College, Claremont and an MFA from Claremont Graduate University.
HOW AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO MAKE EDUCATION A MEANINGFUL PART OF YOUR CAREER?
Someone once taught me to see the world through the lens of design. And when my eyes adjusted to that light, I was connected to a rich and deep curiosity that remains undeterred. I can’t think of anything more rewarding than to inspire curiosity in others, so they can tackle some of the most challenging problems of our time. Design is as much about meaningful relationships as it is about solving problems. These relationships are a critical part of making meaningful design, and the relationships I build with my students form a mutual exchange of ideas and inspiration.
IS THERE A SPECIAL CHALLENGE TO EDUCATING STUDENTS IN 2017 IN LIGHT OF TODAY’S POLITICS OR ECONOMICS OR TECHNOLOGY OR CULTURE OF THIS MOMENT?
Engaging students in deep design inquiry always presents challenges. However, this year marks an extreme political and social sea change. The current political climate is, of course, impossible to ignore; and I see it as an opportunity to engage students in a more meaningful personal conversation of social and global responsibility. Devising research driven experiences where students can explore current issues that affect them and their families engages their curiosity, while the stories they share with each other builds an empathy that leads toward developing informed designers, makers, and thinkers.
Typography Background in Photo: Special thanks to graphic design students Sunde Thomas, Patricia Hajjar, Briana Pong, Marineh Markarian, Elaine Chicas, Laurel Fosnight and the rest of my Typography 3 class.