Derek is a typographer, photographer, and educator. After graduating from Campbell University in Graphic Design, he started his career designing environmental graphics, producing promotional items, and creating interface design for a Mid-sized architectural firm. In 2004, Black founded a full-service design studio serving a variety of clients from local artisans to corporations. He developed interesting spaces for large medical and educational facilities, including award-winning way-finding and environmental design projects. In 2006, Black’s passion for design education was ignited after he accepted an invitation to lecture in the visual communication program at Ivy Tech in Indiana. To pursue teaching, Black accepted the SCAD presidential fellowship in 2007 and earned his M.F.A. in graphic design in 2010.
Since 2009, he has taught a wide range of disciplines in communication arts, including typeface design, typography, graphic design, interactive design, advertising, illustration, game design, foundation arts, and design. He delivered the course content in the SCAD locations of Savannah and Hong Kong, as well as in the eLearning environments. During his time at SCAD, he developed several online courses of study including the undergraduate Typeface Design course at SCAD, demonstrating the strength and efficiency of teaching macro/micro typography. Between 2013 and 2015, he served as the academic coordinator for the School of Communications (illustration, graphic design, sequential art, and advertising) at SCAD Hong Kong. Then, from 2015-2019, he served as the Associate Dean of Academics for SCAD Hong Kong. In 2019, he was named Dean of Academics at the Academy of Design in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In all of these leadership roles, Black mentored faculty to provide an exceptional education for art and design students while building a supportive community of teaching and learning.
He has advanced his typographic research and consultation, specifically developing algorithms for future variable fonts that will enable those not equipped with technical skills to develop their own functional fonts. Working along with a UXHK, a user experience group based in Hong Kong, he is developing a curriculum “Making Meaningful Work,” which synthesizes his mentoring and leadership work in Academia. The curriculum aims to provide the structure to re-humanize 21st Century work.
Throughout his career, Derek has proven to leverage his astute ability to empathize with the client and the audience combining the ability to synthesize a company’s creative mission, vision, and values across all creative touchpoints and experiences. He has had the opportunity to develop and lead successful projects with companies such as Disney, Delta, Hasbro, Universal Studios Japan, Chanel, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Sony Entertainment, Mira Group, HSBC, Sino Group, Ocean Park, Hong Kong Development Bureau, Asia Art Project, UNICEF, Coca-Cola, and IBM to name a few.