Dennis Puhalla

Dennis M Puhalla , PhD, MFA, BS.Design

Instructor - Adj Ann

Professor Emeritus

Aronoff Center


DAAP SOD Adjuncts - 0016

Professional Summary

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 issue 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 and Practice Interests

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

Positions and Work Experience

- Professor annualized adjunct,

- Professor of Design,


Peer Reviewed Publications

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

Invited Publications

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

Other Publications

Dennis M. Puhalla, PhD (2021. ) Design Elements: Form & Space . Cognella Publishers

Delong and Martinson (2012. ) Color and Design .Color: Organizational Strategies, 46 Berg Publishers

Machin, David (2014. ) Visual Communication .Color Language Hierarchy, Volume 4 ,195 De Gruyter

Published Books

Dennis M. Puhalla (2011. ) Design Elements: form & space .Beverly Massachusetts , Rockport (Author)

Book Chapter

DeLong and Martinson (2012 ) Color: organizational strategies Color and Design .(pp. 46).London/New York, Berg (Author)

David Machin (2014 ) Color language hierarchy Visual Communication .(pp. 195).Berlin/Boston , deGruyter

Kristin Cullen (2018 ) The Interaction of Visual Elements Layout Workbook .(pp. 78).Beverly, MA, Rockport

Electronic Journal

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


color systems, color perception, information design, information architecture, visual language, visual perception

Courses Taught

Color Theory Level:Undergraduate

Two-dimensional organization principles Level:Undergraduate

Three-dimensional organization principles Level:Undergraduate

Drawn Design (visual language design) Level:Undergraduate

Design Grauduate Studio Level:Graduate

Thesis Research II Level:Graduate