Maria Rogal’s trans-cultural background and perspective influences her work, in which she explores the potential of design and visual communication to positively shape the human experience. She is the founder of Design for Development (D4D), an initiative in which graphic design faculty and students work with indigenous entrepreneurs in rural Mexico and subject matter experts on grassroots economic development projects. By working collaboratively in rural communities they design products and business strategies relevant to the context and constituents. In integrating her research and teaching, her intent is to orient the graphic design discipline toward methods and socially conscious outcomes that are sustainable and responsible with people in their communities.
Rogal is the recipient of several grants to support her work in Mexico, including a 2014 Sappi “Ideas That Matter” grant, the inaugural American Institute of Graphic Arts Design Research Grant and three Fulbright grants. She shares the processes and findings at numerous conferences, including the AIGA H3 Biennial Conference, the AIGA New Contexts/New Practices Social Economies thread (AIGA Design Education Conference October 2010), GLIDE ‘10: Global Interaction in Design—where she was awarded best paper—and at MX09 Design Conference: Social Impact of Design (Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City). Her article “Identity and Representation: (Yucatec) Maya in the Visual Culture of Tourism” was recently published in the Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies Journal and she was one of 24 international educators to contribute to the Icograda Design Education Manifesto Update. Her creative design work has appeared in national and international juried exhibitions in the UK, Hungary, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico, and the US. She has worked as a senior designer for Sapient (Atlanta) on the design of large-scale websites for international clients, including the Dutch bank ING and at other design and marketing firms as well as with the US Government.