Communication Design Faculty

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Dennis M Puhalla

Title: Professor Emeritus
Office: 3435 Aronoff Center
Tel: 513-556-6434

Dennis Puhalla is a Professor of Design at the University of Cincinnati. His academic appointment resides in the nationally acclaimed School of Design within the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. Currently, he teaches undergraduate courses in color theory; principles of two and three dimensional design; visual language design and motion design. He is also the designated advisor to all first year design students. At the graduate level, Puhalla serves as a thesis advisor while teaching courses color and form systems. His research interests include color visualization/perception, visual language and information systems. He holds a B.S. in Design and an MFA from the University of Cincinnati, and a PhD in Information Design from North Carolina State University. Puhalla served ten years as Director of the School of Design. During his tenure as Director of the School of Design, many significant initiatives came to fruition. Most noteworthy achievements include: the establishment of an undergraduate degree program in Digital Design, and co-authoring an interdisciplinary medical instrument design curriculum with the Department of Bio-Medical Engineering. New curricular tracks in transportation design and product development were also initiated during his administration. He was also instrumental in creating a video conferencing/distance learning program for transportation design. Puhalla is credited for integrating digital technology into the first year design curriculum and initiating digital rapid prototyping into the industrial design curriculum. He was awarded the DAAP Professor of the Year Award and he is also included in Who's Who Among American Teachers most recent edition 2004-05. Puhalla's professional work has been exhibited internationally and is included in private and corporate collections throughout the United States. He has served as a consultant to design education publishers. He is the author of “Perceiving Hierarchy through Intrinsic Color Structures” which will be published in the May 2008 is-sue of the Visual Communication Journal. Professor Puhalla is a recipient of numerous University of Cincinnati faculty development grants. Prior to his appointment at the University of Cincinnati, he taught in the College of Fine Arts at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.


  • PhD, North Carolina State University, Raleigh NC, 2005 (Information Design).

Research Information

Research Interests

Color Theory/Perception/Systems Two Dimensional Theory/Perception Three Dimensional Theory/Perception Non-verbal Information Systems


Peer-reviewed Publications

  • Puhalla, Dennis M. (2008). (In Press). Perceiving hierarchy through intrinsic color structure. Visual Communication, 7 (2), 199-228.

Invited Publications

  • Dennis M Puhalla Perceiving hierarchy through intrinsic color structure. Visual Communicaton Journal, 7 (2), 199.

Electronic Journal Articles

  • Puhalla, Dennis M. (2008). (In Press). Perceiving hierarchy through intrinsic color structure. Visual Communicaton, 7 (2).

Experience & Service

Courses Taught

  • Color Theory
    Color Theory
    Level: Undergraduate
    Term: 08A

  • Two-dimensional organization principles
    Two-dimensional organization principles
    Level: Undergraduate
    Term: 08W

  • Three-dimensional organization principles
    Three-dimensional organization principles
    Level: Undergraduate
    Term: 08S

  • Drawn Design (visual language design)
    Drawn Design (visual language design)
    Level: Undergraduate
    Term: 08S

  • Design Grauduate Studio
    Design Grauduate Studio
    Level: Graduate
    Term: 08W

  • Thesis Research II
    Thesis Research II
    Level: Graduate
    Term: 08S


Admission Requirements