Misty Thomas-Trout

Assistant Professor

Full-Time Faculty


Misty Thomas-Trout is an assistant professor in graphic design at the University of Dayton. She holds a BFA in visual communication design from the University of Dayton and an MFA in graphic design from Ohio University. Her latest work won Best of Show in the Athens Voices USA 2015. She has been awarded a Gold Hermes/ADDY Award, Silver ADDY District Competition, Hermes Judges Award Honor of Excellence and Award of Excellence at the UCDA (University & College Designers Association).

Her work includes print-based and community-based design, writing and letterpress printing. Misty grew up in the village of Jewett, Ohio where the limitations of access to resources created a unique culture that valued frugality driven by necessity. This place and the culture it embodied subconsciously influenced her future research involving the importance of community, collaboration and that link between economic health and the quality of its social bonds.

Faculty Perspective

As a maker and contributor to the visual culture, I endeavor to create work that encourages positive social change and emphasizes the value in human connection and relationships. As an educator, I utilize design thinking to emphasize the awareness of the role of the individual within their community and as citizens of the world.

My research is informed by methods within both disciplines of socioeconomic sciences and humanities. Although my intention switches from practical to poetic throughout the nature of being a graphic designer who is an artist—my work consistently revolves around the interconnectedness of everything in life. Design can be appropriated to promote, preserve and educate others on the benefits of cooperation and connection. Considering the notion that everything is connected, I research the ways in which this can be shown through the visual language with an intention of strengthening communities.

My pedagogy is to not only provide mentorship, but to help students gain a deeper understanding of the role of visual communication within culture and behavior; to help them learn how to express their own voice and to know when to switch from objective to subjective and back to objective; guide them through effective design research methods and processes as they develop their own; and how to appropriate application of meaning throughout the process. Through the collaborative community of peer and teacher relationship, my students reap the benefits of creating relevant and beautiful work that serves the public in a meaningful way.


  • M.F.A. in Graphic Design, Ohio University
  • B.F.A. in Visual Communication Design, University of Dayton
  • Associate Degree in Graphic Design, Art Institute of Pittsburgh

Professional Activities

  • AIGA : Cincinnati Chapter
  • CAA (College Art Association)
  • CBAA (College Book Arts Association)

Research Interests

  • Cartography and Mapping
  • Community-Based Design
  • Connections and Relationships
  • Design Ethics and Social Responsibility
  • Design Thinking
  • Economic Networks of Exchange
  • People-Driven Design
  • Place-Making
  • Sustainability
  • Typography and Language