Graphic Design College of Design


  • Graphic Design Faculty



Barbara Martinson, Ph.D.


Specialties & Expertise

Design Education 
Design History 

Color and Design
Surface Design 
Word and image relationships

Course Titles (resident and outreach teaching)

GDes 1312  Color and Design in Two and Three Dimensions

GDes 4131  History of Graphic Design

GDes 4330  Surface Design Workshop

GDes 5388  Graphic Design Research

GDes 8361  Color Design and Factors of Human Perception


Published Scholarship


Monsen, K. A., Martinson, B., Lawrence, E. C., Maki, T. A., Stromme, A. E., Weirich, E. G., & Martin, K. S. (2016). Toward population health literacy, wellbeing, consumer engagement, and information exchange: Developing Omaha System icons for digital platforms. International Journal of Healthcare, 2, 1, 71-81.

DeLong, M., & Martinson, B. (2012). Color and Design. London:Berg        Publications.

Fraher, R., & Martinson, B. (2011).  Process and Pedagogy in Undergraduate Graphic  Design Education. The Design Journal 14.4.

Zollinger, S., & Martinson, B. (2010). Do all designers think alike? What research has to say.  Institute for Learning Styles Journal, 1.

Fraher, R., & Martinson, B. (2009). A requiem to modernism: The future has arrived. Multi: The Journal of Diversity and Plurality in Design.

Martinson, B., Zollinger, S., & Gardner, C. (2009). The influence of learning styles on design students’ academic progress. FATE in Review 30, 29-35. 

Martinson B., & Chu, S. (2008). Impact of learning style on achievement when using course content delivered via a game-based learning object. In R. E. Ferdig (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Effective Electronic Gaming in Education. Pennsylvania: IGI Global. 478-488. 

Martinson, B., & Chu, S. (2006). Cross-cultural comparison on attributing meaning to corporate logos. In Frascara, J. (Ed.), Designing Effective Communication. Allworth Press. 201-215. 

Gardner, C., & Martinson, B. (2005). Exploring binding in color and object memory. Journal of Visual Literacy 25 (2), 249-257. 

Martinson, B. (2005). The journey to school. In K. Murlock Jackson, (Ed.), Childhood Rituals.Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. 93-99. 

Martinson, B., & Chu, S. (2003). Graphic assimilation: New immigrants and social identity. Visible Language 37 (2), 222-233. 

Chu, S., &  Martinson, B. (2003). Cross cultural comparison of the perception of symbols.Journal of Visual Literacy 23 (1), 69-80. 


Juried Exhibitions

Martinson, B. (2015). Irvine Park. Materialities: Contemporary Textile Arts International Exhibition. Surface Design Association Members Exhibition. Gallery Arrowmont, Gatlinburg, Tennessee. August 27 – October 31, 2015. Work is published in the exhibition catalogue.

Martinson, B. (2015). Shores of Atlantis: Blue and Orange. Wild Fabrications travelling exhibition developed by the Studio Art Quilt Associates.  Venues include three international quilt festivals and a museum exhibition at the Milwaukee Museum of Art.

Martinson, B. (2010). Despair: Hope. Coastal Fiber Arts Exhibition. Clatsop Heritage Museum, Astoria, Oregon. August 6-September 15.

Martinson, B. (2015). Shores of Atlantis: Green and Gold. Wild Fabrications travelling exhibition developed by the Studio Art Quilt Associates.  Venues include three international quilt festivals and a museum exhibition at the Milwaukee Museum of Art.

Martinson, B. (2013). Interdependence. The Quilt: The Art of Our Community. College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, MN. February 25 – April 1.

Martinson, B. (2011) Structures in Cloth. Studio Art Quilt Associates traveling exhibition; Arvada Art Center May – July 2011; Sangre de Cristo Arts Center, Pueblo, CO Oct. 15 – Jan. 21, 2012; Fort Collins Museum of Art, February 15 – April 29, 2012.

Martinson, B. (2007). Urbane Density. Screenprint on fabric, quilted.Art=Quilts=Art, Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center. Auburn, New York.


Refereed Presentations

Martinson, B., & Chu, S. (2015).  Social Comparison Theory and the Design Classroom. Proceedings of the LearnXDesign: The third international conference for design education researchers. Sponsored by the Design Research Society and Cumulus. June 28-30. School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Martinson, B. (2015). Visual Literacy: Developing a Set of Icons for the Omaha System. The Omaha System International Conference: A Key to Practice, documentation, and information management. Sponsored by the University of Milwaukee, College of Nursing. April 16-18. Eagan, Minnesota

Martinson, B. (2014). Intersections in learning: Building bridges between disciplines. AIGA Educators Conference New Ventures.  Sept. 11-13.  Portland, Oregon.

Monson, K. & Martinson, B. (2014). Development of a visual literacy standard to promote health literacy using the Omaha System.  American Public Health Association annual meeting. November 15-19. New Orleans, Louisiana.

Martinson, B. & Monson, K. (2014). Visual semantics of form and color: dual considerations in visual communication for healthcare system. International Visual Literacy Association. November 5-8. Toledo, Ohio.

Martinson, B. & Hokanson, B. (2013). Veering Off the Path: A Manifesto for Curiosity and Creativity Supported by Design-Based Research. Teaching and Learning in Changing Times. University of Minnesota, October 4.

Martinson, B. (2013). The Quick-fire challenge: A valuable catalyst for ideas and discussion. PostHaus: Foundations in Art, Theory, and Education. Savannah GA. April 3-6.

Martinson, B. (2010). The influence of the Swedish Handcraft movement and Mondernism on contemporary Swedish design. American Swedish Institute, January 29. Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Martinson, B., & Zollinger, S. (2009). The influence of learning styles on design students’ academic progress. Proceedings of the European Learning Styles Information Network 14th annual conference. June 17-19. Bulle-en-Gruyère, Switzerland.

Martinson, B. (2009). Teaching color perception: A tutorial on practice-based research in design. Inter-Society Color Council Annual Conference Program. June 7. Rochester  Institute of Technology. Rochester, New York.


Honors and Awards

Outstanding Teaching Award (2014) College of Design, University of Minnesota.

Outreach Award: Designing the Future: Community Strategies. With S. Gahring, M. Bruin, and D. Pitt (2008).  College of Design, University of Minnesota.

E-Teaching/Learning Award (2004). College of Human Ecology, University of Minnesota

Best Fiber/Batik Work (2011). Where Do Your Live? Arts in Harmony National Juried Exhibition. Feb. 7-Mar. 24. Sherburne County Government Center, Elk River, Minnesota.

First Place Award (2006). Clandestine Incantations. Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition. August 24-September 4.

Juror’s Choice Award (2005). Textile Center Tenth Anniversary Poster. Design Educators’ National Exhibition. Virtual Exhibition,



Graphic Design Faculty

362 McNeal Hall
1985 Buford Ave
St. Paul, MN
(612) 624-4239

Contact Information

Undergraduate Student Services
12 McNeal Hall, 1985 Buford Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108
107 Rapson Hall, 89 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
P: 612-624-1717 | E:

General Information
P: 612-626-9068 | E: