Denielle Emans

Denielle Emans
Denielle Emans, Ph.D.Assistant Professor of Graphic Design Communication

Contact Information

Areas of Expertise

Visual Communication Design; Intercultural Collaboration; User Experience Design; Communication for Social Change; Faculty-led Study Abroad


Ph.D. Communication for Social Change, University of Queensland 

M.G.D. Master of Graphic Design, North Carolina State University 

B.A. Communication Studies, Media Studies Emphasis, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 

Dr. Emans is passionate about intercultural collaboration, visual communication, and empowering teams to fuel creative action. She describes her own design practice as a language that works across industries in order to create engaging experiences and inclusive environments. Having taught at the university level for over 17 years, she encourages students to think of themselves as influential craftsmen and storytellers with the ability to lead change.

Dr. Emans is the co-author of Intercultural Collaboration by Design: Drawing from Differences, Distances, and Disciplines through Visual Thinking (Routledge, 2020). Based on her ongoing research with Associate Professor Kelly Murdoch-Kitt at the University of Michigan, this peer-reviewed handbook helps people work, learn, and communicate across cultures using creative approaches. Their ongoing research, which supports diverse international teams in addressing collaboration and sustainability topics, has been recognized by the Design Incubation Teaching Awards.

Her current collaborative projects include: Creative Resilience (an edited volume), The ORBIT Project (Online Resource for Building Intercultural Teams), and Tasmeem Doha Conference 2022: Radical Futures.

Prior to joining the Feinstein School of Humanities, Arts and Education faculty, Dr. Emans spent more than a decade teaching in the Gulf Arab Region of the Middle East. She served as an Associate Professor of Graphic Design at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar and taught as an Assistant Professor at Zayed University in Dubai, UAE.

Courses Taught 

  • DSGN 110: Intro to Typography
  • DSGN 200: History of Design Communication
  • DSGN 300: Web Design Communication

Academic affiliations

  • IAMCR: International Association for Media and Communication Research
  • CAA: College Art Association of America
  • AIGA: The Professional Association for Design in the United States

Recent Publications 


Murdoch-Kitt, Kelly and Denielle Emans. “Improving Intercultural Collaboration with Visual Thinking” in Proceedings of LEARNxDESIGN 2021: 6th International Conference for Design Education Researchers, Engaging with Challenges in Design Education, Shandong University of Art & Design, Jinan, China, 24-26 September, 2021.

Murdoch-Kitt, Kelly and Denielle Emans. “Making the Virtual Tangible: Using Visual Thinking to Enhance Online Transnational Learning.” Virtual Exchange: Towards Digital Equity in Internationalisation, edited by Müge Satar., 2021, 1062–1081.


Murdoch-Kitt, Kelly and Denielle Emans. Intercultural Collaboration by Design: Drawing from Differences, Distances, and Disciplines Through Visual Thinking. 1st Edition. London: Routledge, 2020. ISBN 9780367219314.

Emans, Denielle and Kelly Murdoch-Kitt. “Sustainability & Interactive Experiences: A Cross-Cultural Collaborative Project.” Collaboration in Design Education, edited by Marty Maxwell Lane and Rebecca Tegtmeyer. London: Bloomsbury, 2020. ISBN 9781350059016.

Emans, Denielle. “Under Construction: Reimagining Health and Safety Communication for Multilingual Workers in Qatar” in Boess, S., Cheung, M. and Cain, R. (eds.), Synergy - DRS International Conference, 11–14 August, 2020, 1009-1024.

Murdoch-Kitt, Kelly, Denielle Emans, and Bruna Oewel. “Designing Six Dimensions of Intercultural Teamwork: A Next-Gen Challenge in Co-Creation Processes" in Boess, S., Cheung, M. and Cain, R. (eds.), Synergy - DRS International Conference, 11-14 August, 2020, 1062–1081.

Murdoch-Kitt, Kelly and Denielle Emans. “Expanding Horizons: Interactive Spaces Meet Intercultural Engagement in the Design Classroom.” AMPS Proceedings Series 18.1. Experiential Design – Rethinking relations between people, objects and environments. Florida State University, USA. 16–17 January, 2020, 95-105. ISSN 2398-9467.


Emans, Denielle and Basma Hamdy. “The Design Powers System: Cultivating Design Competencies in Collaborative Endeavors.” Dialectic, Volume 2, Issue 1, (Summer 2018).;rgn=main

Emans, Denielle and Kelly Murdoch-Kitt. “Connective Methodologies: Visual Communication Design and Sustainability in Higher Education.” In Handbook of Sustainability and Social Science Research, World Sustainability Series, edited by Leal Filho, Robert Marans, and John Callewaert. Springer International Publishing, 2018.


Emans, Denielle and Kelly Murdoch-Kitt. “Intercultural Collaborations in Sustainable Design Education.” In Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Design, edited by Rachel Beth Egenhoefer, 135-147. London: Routledge, 2017