Karen Cheng

Educator photo

Professor Karen Cheng is the author of Designing Type, a comprehensive, systematic guide to the design of letters, published by Yale University Press. Since its initial publication in 2006, Designing Type has been translated into German, Spanish, French, Chinese, and Korean, and it has been ranked #14 on a list of "Top 50 Typography Books of the Last 50 Years" in the journal Visible Language. A new, fully revised second edition of Designing Type was published in October 2020, and discussed on this podcast from the League of Moveable Type. Cheng also discusses teaching type design on this Type Wknd presentation
As a researcher, Cheng has investigated how scientists can collaborate with designers to aid public and interdisciplinary communication. She organizes the Design Help Desk, a tutoring center where students, faculty, and staff receive assistance with visual design from design students. She is co-author of the popular "A Brief Guide to Designing Effective Figures for the Scientific Paper" and recently published a study on the positive impact of visual design on scientific communication in the Information Design Journal. Cheng discusses this study at the 2016 Information+ conference.
Cheng has her Master’s Degree in Design from the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Washington in 1997, she worked in Brand Management at the Procter & Gamble Company . She has an Honors Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Penn State. A general presentation of her work (for promotion to Full Professor) may be viewed here.