The KU Design Symposium Lecture Series (formerly the Hallmark Symposium) was established in 1984 to enrich the education of all KU students, and in particular those in the Department of Design, through exposure to designers, artists and educators from the United States and around the world. In this 35-plus year history, the series has grown to become a cultural asset to the local creative community beyond campus. Each year, students and area professionals are able to view groundbreaking work, explore provocative ideas, and learn from the practitioners who are expanding what is possible through art, design, and creative action.  

All lectures begin at 6 p.m. Free and open to the public.  

All Fall 2021 Lectures will be presented virtually using the following link: 

Passcode: 5555

Fall 2021

Aug. 26, 2021 | Marshall Vandruff

Marshall Vandruff began as a commercial illustrator, but quickly found a love for teaching. Marshall has been a teacher of art and storytelling for over 35 years. He’s worked at Fullerton College, Cal State Fullerton, and Laguna College of Art and Design, among others. He’s also been an instructor and speaker for clients like Blizzard, Rockstar, Sony Online Entertainment, MAD Magazine, Dark Horse Comics, Insomniac Games, etc.


Sep. 23, 2021 | ClayVon Lowe

ClayVon Lowe is Design Director at Greentouch Home and maintains an independent freelance studio, D Brand Designs. He has designed everything from infant developmental toys for Baby Einstein/Kids II to home decor products in lighting, kitchen/bath and the nationally acclaimed KOBALT tool brand for Lowe’s Home Improvement.


Oct. 14, 2021 | Daniel Wong

Daniel Wong is Professor of Web Design in the Communication Design Department at New York City College of Technology. Since 1999 Professor Wong has been working in the field of Medical Communications. He has worked as creative director of design and marketing in educational publishing, pharmaceutical marketing, and continuing medical education (CME). He has launched corporate products, directed design services, and created technology solutions for both established global companies and start-ups.


Oct. 28, 2021 | Rob Smigielski 

Robb Smigielski is Chief Design Officer, NA at VMLY&R. He leads the implementation of large-scale design and interactive platforms and integrated, digital marketing experiences for companies like Bentley, Virgin Active, PwC, Xbox, Premier League, Kashi, Microsoft, HSBC, Lenovo, Nintendo, Colgate, Bear Naked Granola and the House of Marley. 


Nov. 5, 2021 | Diana Markosian

Diana Markosian (born in Moscow, 1989) takes an intimate approach to her photography and video storytelling, in work that is both conceptual and documentary. Her projects have taken her to some of the remotest corners of the world, and have been featured in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Vogue Magazine. Marksosian's exhibition Santa Barbara is currently on view at the San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art.


Nov. 11, 2021 | Rodrigo Valenzuela 

Rodrigo Valenzuela is a multimedia artist and professor at the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture. Valenzuela is an artist working in photography, video, painting, and installation. Using autobiographical threads to inform larger universal fields of experience, his work constructs narratives, scenes, and stories that point to the tensions found between the individual and communities. Much of his work deals with the experience of undocumented immigrants and laborers.


Dec. 2, 2021 | Liz Jackson & Alex Haagaard

Liz Jackson and Alex Haagaard lead The Disabled List, a design collaborative and consultancy that engages in Disability as creative practice. They created Critical Axis, a community-driven project that collects and analyzes disability representation in media.