UW–Madison’s Taekyeom Lee, an assistant professor in the School of Education’s Art Department, has won a 2023 Communication Design Award.

Lee has been inspiring young graphic designers and educators by using diverse mediums for extended design practices and research infusing emerging technologies into his creative practice. He brings the tactile experience and 3D printing to the realm of graphic design and brilliantly uses his design methods for accessibility and play, according to the award’s announcement.

Lee initiated the Tangible Graphic Design project when he was an MFA candidate in Graphic design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Unexpectedly, he had to go through two eye surgeries caused by retina detachment during his graduate study, which is a procedure threatening vision loss. These surgeries required a face-down recovery for more than two months, meaning he had to stay face-down at all times while partaking in all daily activities. Although he regained his vision after months of recovery, the surgeries left minor vision issues.

“The experience changed my personal and professional life forever. I learned to appreciate the difficult experience and find a silver lining in a dark cloud,” Lee says.