Muhammad Rahman

Muhammad Nafisur Rahman , MDES

Assistant Professor

Aronoff Center

DAAP School of Design - 0016

Professional Summary

Muhammad Rahman, M.Des., B.Arch., is the Assistant Professor of Communication Design in the Myron E. Ullman, Jr. School of Design, College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP), University of Cincinnati. His interdisciplinary background holds a M.Des. in Graphic Design from University of Illinois at Chicago, UIC and B.Arch. from BRAC University, Bangladesh. He worked as Branded Environments Designer at Perkins + Will and HDR Inc., at Chicago before started pursuing his PhD in Architecture at DAAP. He completed his 4-week 'typography and design' summer certificate courses at Basel School of Design (2013). He has held an appointment as a Lecturer-II at BRAC University. In conjunction with his practice research he has taught students in communication design and architecture programs in USA, Portugal and Bangladesh for over a decade.  

In addition to his teaching and research, Muhammad is leading the signage research activities in his eXperiential Design Lab (XDL@DAAP) in DAAP and working as the member of the Society of Experiential Graphic Design’s (SEGD) Academic Task Force. Muhammad is the board member of The Academic Advisory Council for Signage Research & Education (AACSRE) and also the Assistant Editor of "Visible Language"— the oldest peer–reviewed academic journal for design since 1967. 
Muhammad teaching focuses on advanced Typography, Experiential Graphic Design (EGD) and Design Research Methodology. His research focuses within the role of legible artifacts in the urban public spaces, especially with urban wall-writing, storefront signage and the sense of place-identity. Owing to his background as a practitioner, Muhammad takes a strong interdisciplinary and practice-informed approach to research that gives him the ability to bridge between theory and practice of communication design and activate research through design methodology. As a practicing designer, advocate to public transportation and public space and educator, Muhammad has an ability to integrate his background in architecture with graphic design as an intuitive fusion. His works consist of various interior and space design projects, exhibition curation, promotion materials, identity designs, experimental typography, book and poster design etc. Muhammad has developed his own passion and character in spatial photography, visual abstraction - his works placed in exhibitions and received awards. Recently, one of the his signage design and research collaboration with community-based "Step Up to Art" project and the City of Cincinnati was awarded in the Cincinnati Design Awards in 2023.  


B.Arch. : BRAC University Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2007 (Architecture)

M.Des.: University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Chicago, IL, USA, 2014 (Graphic Design)

Post-Graduate Studies: Institute of Visual Communication (FHNW) Basel, Switzerland, 2013 (Visual Communication)

Graduate Certificate : University of Cincinnati, OH, USA, 2020 (Urban Design)

PhD in Architecture (ongoing) : University of Cincinnati, OH, USA, (Architecture)

Research and Practice Interests

visual communication; design research methodology; typography; urban signage; urban identity; everyday urbanism; architectural criticism; 

Positions and Work Experience

2007 -2012 Senior Lecturer, BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh

2005 -2005 Architectural Co-op, ‘Sangath’ - Vastu Shilpa Consultants, Ahmadabad, India

2008 -2010 Architectural Associate, TKNRK & Associates, Dhaka, Bangladesh

2013 -2014 Visiting Researcher I, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Chicago, IL, USA

2015 -2015 Associate Designer, Studio Junglecat, Chicago, USA

2015 -2015 Branded Environments Designer II, Perkins and Will , Chicago, USA

2017 -2017 Designer, HDR Architecture Inc., Chicago, USA

2011 -2012 Erasmus-Mundus Visiting Scholar, School of Design, University of Evora, Portugal

2013 -2014 Adjunct Lecturer, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Chicago, USA

2018 -2019 Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Cincinnati,, OH, USA

2020 - Assistant Professor , University of Cincinnati,

Research Support

Investigators:Muhammad N Rahman 2019 -2020 Cornell University and Getty Foundations MAHASSA Emerging Scholar Award Role:Fellow Active Type:Fellowship Level:International

Investigators:Muhammad N Rahman 2018 -2020 Academic Advisory Council for Signage Research and Education (AACSRE) Emerging Research Fellow Role:PI $10,000 Completed Type:Grant Level:National

Investigators:Kate Bonansinga, Vikas Mehta, Muhammad Rahman, Rachael Nolan, Jenny Ustick 2021 -2022 UC Office of the Vice President for Research Community Change Collaborative Grants 2021 : Equitable Cities Role:Co-PI $15,850 Completed Type:Grant Level:Local

Investigators:Palazo, D., Mehta. V., and Rahman, M 2023 Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) Designing Communication: Signage system design for Metro Bus in Cincinnati, OH and various public collaterals Role:Co-PI $6,00,000 (2023-25) Active Type:Contract

Investigators:Rahman, M and Trischler, D.J. 2023 -2024 UC Graduate College UC Editorial Assistance Awards 2023-24 for Visible Language Journal Role:Co-PI (Editorial Researchers) $15,000 Active Type:Grant Level:National


Published Abstracts

Muhammad Rahman (2019. ) Urban Typography as Artifacts: Activating Collective Memory in Dhaka City .[Abstract]107th ACSA Conference Abstract Book, Author

Peer Reviewed Publications

Rahman, M. & Mehta, V. (2018. ) Letter Forms as Communicative Urban Artifacts for Social Narratives.Interdisciplinary Journal of Signage and Wayfinding, , 2 (1 ) , More Information

Rahman, M. & Mehta, V. (2020. ) Signage Form and Character: a window to neighborhood visual identity.Interdisciplinary Journal of Signage and Wayfinding, , 4 (1 ) , More Information

Rahman, M. and Seward, R. (2021. ) Introduction to the Flight Information Display Systems (FIDS): Enhancing EGD Awareness in the Communication Design Studio.Communication and Place Journal, , 100 -112More Information

Mehta, M. & Rahman, M. (2021. ) Visualizing and Communicating Neighborhood Identities .Interdisciplinary Journal of Signage and Wayfinding, , 5 (2 ) ,55 -62

Invited Publications

Muhammad Rahman (2021. ) "Visual Politics & Environmental Communication" in Sympathetic Resonance: Visual Anthropology and Visual Communication Design. A cross-platform virtual issue of Visual Anthropology Review & Visible Language .Visual Anthropology Review , 1 (1 ) ,


Invited Presentations

Muhammad Rahman (2020. ) Significance of Bengali Letterforms in the Urban Experience of Dhaka .Institute for Comparative Modernities (ICM), Cornell University, Other Institution. . Level:International


Rahman, Muhammad (2013). Manifestation of Space in Bangladesh – a Poetic Synthesis . Chicago, Senior Design Colloquium, UIC.

Rahman, Muhammad (2014). Occupying Space: A Manifesto .Senior Design Seminar, UIC.

Paper Presentations

Rahman, M., & Mehta, V. (2019. ) Role of Storefront Signage in Creating Neighborhood Place-identity .EDRA50 Brooklyn. Conference. Level:International

Rahman, Muhammad (2018. ) Urban Typography as Artifacts: Activating Collective Memory in Dhaka City .107th ACSA, Pittsburgh, PA.. Conference.

Rahman, M., & Mehta, V. (2017. ) Letter forms as Communicative Urban Artifacts for Social Narratives .57th ACSP Conference, Denver, Colorado. Conference.

Rahman, Muhammad (2017. ) Construing Social Large Letterforms as Urban Artifacts in Neighborhoods to Generate Social Narratives .SAID Graduate Student Symposium, DAAP,P. UC.


Muhammad Rahman, Vikas Mehta (2018. ) Visualizing and Communicating Neighborhood Identity .Cincinnati. UC. Level:Regional

Honors and Awards

2023 Outstanding Junior Faculty in College of DAAP Dean, College of DAAP Status:Recipient Level:College Type:Recognition

2023 Best EGD Project, Cincinnati Design Award CDA27 Community-first action research project "Step Up to Art" has been recognized with the HONOR AWARD highest catagory in the prestigious Cincinnati Design Awards' 27th event (CDA27). Honor Award winners represent design conceived and executed at the highest levels of the profession. Fully realized and expertly crafted solutions like these make our environment more functional, beautiful, and inspiring for everyone. Status:Recipient Level:Regional Type:Recognition

2020 Creative Communication Award (C2A). Poster Design Honorable Mention (by Riley Warren, Student of Typography II) Creative Communication Award (C2A) Status:Recipient Level:International Type:Recognition

2021 Graphis New Talent Annual 2021; Poster Design Honorable Mention (by Austin Wydra, Student of Typography II); Graphis New Talent Annual 2021 Status:Recipient Level:International Type:Recognition

2022 Graphis 2022 New Talent Annual Cassidy Finley, Gold Award; Mackenzie Hilbert, Silver Award; Ethan Hart and Owen Wittich recieved Honorable Mention in the Typographic Poster Design Category. Graphis New Talent Annual 2021 Status:Recipient Level:International Type:Recognition


SEGD DAAP Student Chapter Faculty Coordinator Type:Service to Student Groups Level:University 2020

Visible Language Journal Editorial Board Member Type:Editorial Service Level:International 2020

(School of Design (Reappointment, Promotion, Tenure (RPT) ) Committee Member Type:Departmental Service Level:University 2023

(Graduate College Community and Belonging Committee ) Committee Member Type:University/College Service Level:University 2023

(Communication Design Faculty Search Committee ) Committee Member Type:Departmental Service Level:Department 2022

DAAP Typography Club Faculty Coordinator Type:Service to Student Groups 2023

Professional Affiliation

2020: Educator Member AIGA, Cincinnati

2024: Board Member (Education and Outreach) Academic Advisory Council for Signage Research and Education - AACSRE,

2021: Academic Task Force Member Society of Experiential Graphic Design – SEGD,

2019: Educator Member The Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) ,

2023: Secretary, Board Member South Asian Design Educator Alliance (SADEA),

2022: Founding Director Desh Research Collaborative (DRC), LLC, Cincinnati

2023: Board Secretary, South Asian Design Educator Alliance (SADEA) ,

Courses Taught

Typography I, II, III Level:Undergraduate

Design Research Methodology I

Design Research Methodology II (Capstone I) Level:Undergraduate

Design Systems II (Experiential Graphic Design) Level:Undergraduate

Graduate Independent Study Level:Graduate

Faculty Development Activities

-2020 Principles of Typeface Design Cooper Union Type:Online Class

-2020 Found Lettering by Ken Barber Type at Cooper Union Type:Workshop

2020 Faculty Development Grant 2020-21 $5,500, UC Type:Faculty Fellowship