Klein Family School of Communications Design
program director, Certificate in Digital Communication
M.F.A., The University of Texas at Austin
B.S., Illinois State University
Jacob DeGeal's website
Prior to joining The University of Baltimore, Jacob spent a decade as an in-house web designer and design manager at Illinois State University. He oversaw the creative and strategic development of the university’s visual web standards, implemented a tailored co-branding web concept for academic departments, and created interactive campaigns for university efforts such as giving, homecoming, and alumni/student marketing.
In 2012, Jacob co-founded a bike advocacy organization for the twin cities of Bloomington-Normal, IL, serving as vice president and creative director. In addition to establishing the visual brand, Jacob lead efforts organizing significant fundraising and community events (Tour de Taco and Bike Movie Nights) supporting the organization’s operational goals through merchandise and memberships, and facilitating a grassroots safety awareness campaign co-funded by dual city governments.
Seeing firsthand the value of collaborative design in the public realm, Jacob went back to school to earn his M.F.A. in Design at the University of Texas at Austin. Through various public design interventions—from improvised scooter parking to pop-up community input boards—he developed ChalkTalk, a participatory design framework for designing public infrastructure.
While in school, Jacob also worked as design consultant for the National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM), facilitating design thinking sessions and providing design support for MHMR of Tarrant County Texas. He has continued to collaborate with NCMM, providing branding for a community transportation program, and serving as grant reviewer.
Most recently Jacob worked at Nelson\Nygaard Transportation Consultants in Boston as a hybrid Planner/Designer. There he collaborated with city staff and planners across the country to create project branding, data visualization, project websites, and final project plans that were interactive, accessible, and engaging.
He has also established an experiential design studio with his wife and creative partner Lauren Smedley, called Creative Blocks. In 2020, they were awarded the Public Artist in Residency (PAiR) in Salem, MA. During the residency, they worked with local businesses and city officials to reimagine public wayfinding and placemaking that promoted public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recent Media Appearances:
Wayfinding with Creative Blocks
The Chaos Within Podcast: Ep. 23 | Aug. 24, 2020