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VisCom professor Adonis Durado aims to practice what he preaches to students, winning awards along the way

Behind every exhibit to showcase OHIO’s School of Visual Communication students’ work is a team to promote it to the community.

One of the key players in both teaching the students featured in the exhibit and promoting it is Visual Communication Professor Adonis Durado, who has repeatedly won awards for the posters he creates promoting the exhibits, as well as for his other design work.

Durado has a long history with design, working in the industry for more than 20 years as a visual journalist, art director, design manager, and now a professor who continues to practice his craft while teaching. His areas of interest include book and publication design, immersive media and interactive design, and infographic and data visualization.

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Durado's book cover design for two books written by Scripps College of Communication faculty and staff on virtual reality.

He was formerly the design director of Muscat Media Group, publisher of two major daily newspapers in the Middle East that won more than 500 international honors, including for its design. Durado also serve as a freelance design consultant, helping launch and redesign more than a dozen magazine and newspaper titles in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

He came to the U.S. and OHIO to advance his knowledge in the industry, specifically wanting to teach design. While pursuing his Master of Fine Arts in Communication Media Arts at OHIO, he was able to teach classes and upon graduating, work his way up to an assistant professorship and chair of the visual communication gallery.

“I enjoy teaching because I love mentoring other designers,” Durado said. “When I previously worked for the Muscat Media Group as art director, I would mentor designers who were newly hired and see the potential they had, knowing that with time and collaboration, they could be great designers. The same goes for students, I teach so many students with such great potential and by mentoring them, am hoping to educate them to be award-winning designers too.”

Durado has won awards for his poster designs for the School of Visual Communications’ exhibitions, including his recent poster for the Women Photojournalists of Washington (WPOW) annual exhibit. He has also won awards for independent work he is commissioned to do, such as his new logo design for the Athens Rethink organization which won a Hermes Award, as well as work he does for an agency out of Marietta, The Stonewall Group, where he continues to create designs, videos, and annual reports.

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Durado's award-winning logo for Athens Rethink.

“For every design I do, whether it is a poster or video, I always research and analyze the brief of what they need for the project and what their ultimate goal is to accomplish,” Durado said. “I also look at what has already been done and what type of aesthetics have been used before for similar designs and challenge myself on how I can make the existing designs better or make it entirely different and my own.”

In teaching design, Durado uses a concept known as visual conceit to help push his students to think outside the box. According Durado, visual conceit is where designers, or in this case his students, have to design or create something using metaphor or obstruction. He aims to teach his students to always find ways to make an idea different, whether it is through tackling shape, text or color. For obstruction, he poses questions like, “Is it possible to design without any text, yet still send a message?” to his students, then encourages them to still get the message of the design across without using certain tools.

“I not only challenge my students with visual conceit, but use it myself when I design,” Durado said. “For me, it is extremely important to practice what I preach and show students how these methods taught in the classroom are applicable to the industry, and winning awards just amplifies that message that it’s not just theory but effective in practice.”

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Durado's poster design for the 2022 VisCom graduating student show.

Awards Durado have won include the Pixie Award, AVA Digital Award, Viddy Award, Hermes Award, The Communicators Award, The Telly Award, and the Graphis Poster Competition.

“I’m most proud of the work that my students get to see around campus, especially the posters,” Durado added. “It goes back to the idea that I want my students to see that I’m continuing to work in the field of design and work alongside them to create – to me, it’s the best way to set an example.”

His personal works were also recognized by the Malofiej Infographic Awards, Society of Illustrators, Type Directors Club, Communication Arts Magazine, HOW Magazine, Creative Quarterly Journal, Tabbie Awards, and FOLIO’s Eddie Awards.

“I plan to continue to practice my work for as long as I’m able to and what’s so great about not just OHIO, but the School of Visual Communication is that it’s not just research-based, it allows you to continually practice your skill and be creative.”

In 2017, Durado received The President’s Award from the Society for News Design and the Knight Fellowship from The School of Visual Communication at Ohio University.

He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Advertising from the University of San Carlos (Philippines) and a Master of Fine Arts in Communication Media Arts from Ohio University.

July 12, 2022
Samantha Pelham