Saundra Marcel is a designer and design writer.
Marcel’s MFA Design Criticism thesis, called Living Licensed: Consuming Characters in Girls’ Popular Culture, is about design’s striking influence on young people. She delves with a critical eye into a $600 billion a year industry which is tightly controlled and directed at children—who then become fervent fans and imitators. For kids, design is in the clothing they wear, the decorations in their rooms, the books they read, the television they watch, and the toys they play with. When these things brandish licensed characters—repeatedly and obsessively—they become more than cheap trinkets and throwaways. They become the durable images of children’s culture. Not at all fleeting or benign, they are lasting legacies, and the lessons learned young are not easily forgotten.
Before becoming a D-Critter and honing her writing skills, Marcel has been fortunate to work alongside talented individuals at design studios, and has accumulated a diverse portfolio of work. Armed with almost a decade of experience, a few awards, and amazing connections, she has since pursued a solo career. Marcel is proud to have received design awards on both local and international levels. Two of the advertising industry’s most prestigious trade publications, PRINT and HOW magazines, have featured her work. The book The Best of Business Card Design 9 featured several of Marcel’s identity projects. The AAF recognized her work as “best of show” three times, once in 2006, in 2008, and again in 2009 for various projects. Marcel has also received recognition for the work she’s done for the AIGA Mentoring program while serving as Director from 2004 through 2008. And as an adjunct professor at the University of Dayton in Ohio, Marcel taught career preparation and professional practice to students of design. This course examined aesthetic, ethical, and pragmatic issues related to the profession.
Marcel is a regular contributor for Design Bureau magazine, and has also been published in Metropolis Magazine, AIGA Voice, and Luxury Home Quarterly. Marcel is co-editor of At Water’s Edge, the first in the D-Crit chapbook series. She is also published in The Dress Issue, the second book in the series. Marcel spoke at the AIGA My Dog and Pony: Fresh Blood! event, where she presented a brief commentary related to her thesis. She is currently working on a book called Islander: Life on a Pork Chop, and you should definitely ask her about it.
Marcel is a visual communicator who believes that design is important. As a critic, she hopes to bring a fresh and interesting voice to the public dialogue on design.