With over 25 years of professional graphic design experience, his international clients included, Mars, Inc., VISA International, Kraft Foods, and Banco Popular. His award-winning work has been featured in many design publications, including Communication Arts, LogoLounge No.7, and HOWs Mastering Type.
Barrett was recognized as one of the University of Florida's, Graduate Teachers of the year in 2006, and co-directed UF's Tokyo Study Abroad program from 2008 - 2010. In 2012 he was awarded a prestigious Alabama State Arts Fellowship in Design and was the recipient of a Sappi - Ideas That Matter grant. In 2016 he received the UAB President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences.
His work has been recognized with several local Addy awards in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.
"As a professional graphic designer I am interested in the place that identity and branding create in the mind of consumers, specifically as it relates to logos. I have worked on several branding projects for local companies, and a large-scale regional branding for 8 counties in the state of Alabama. As an educator it is imperative that I continue my practice in the real-world of client-based projects. Maintaining a professional practice enriches my ability to teach a living-model of graphic design."
Doug Barrett is an artist/graphic designer who thinks about the practices of commuting, rural spaces, agricultural processes, and how local visual culture is created through marks left by man. He explores mapping and (re)presenting found text and imagery in a way that talks about the constructed place. Signage, billboards, graffiti, and ephemera point to the visual culture embedded in our surroundings. His interest in this constructed place is tied to my belief that the spaces we use have a cultural impact on our world.
He is interested in collecting, documenting and exploring evidence of the interaction between people and geography by curating the evidence of commercial occupation. Specifically, by examining how the hand of man marks, sorts, portions, and divides the landscape through the everyday use of these spaces; and how evidence of this interaction are left on the land. Many of these marks are found in the form of roadside vectors, railroad spurs, plowing, fencing, planting, and other traces of human interaction on the rural landscape.
Barrett's objective is to create visible connections between material culture, place, and the inhabitants that create them. This visual narrative is informed by extensive collection, research, semiotics, mapping and personal exploration. Through the mode of “designer as author,” he creates a visual space that uses the powerful ability of images and local ephemera to tell a reflexive story in a visually poetic way. This work is collected and ordered in three ways; reflexive, historic and emotive. Reflexively through evidence of the hand or body directly on the landscape, historically through commercial signage and rural processes, and the emotive heritage of the southern landscape.
Barrett is influenced by a wide-range of artists and writers. He is inspired by the work of Julie Mehretu, William Anastasi, Eugene Atget, Gaston Bachelard and Michel de Certeau. This inspiration comes from a shared experience of documenting something that is lost. As a southern artist, working in Alabama, Barrett is surrounded by spaces that are imbued with feelings of loss, nostalgia, regret and longing. The evidence he collects and records is ephemeral in nature and the abandoned condition in which many of these marks are found, confirm and expound the damaged narrative of the southern condition.
My efforts in mapping and documenting space led me to ideas of stewardship and caring for these places. I want young designers to understand the importance of community and how they can use the “Design for Good” model to care for local spaces and the people who call them home. I see this activity as a way to build community and foster under-served populations in Alabama, while transcending the typically commercial uses of graphic design.
While at UAB I organized a small, student-run studio called BLOOM that takes on projects for non-profits, small businesses and local communities. Students work within the community, directly interacting with stakeholders as a way to explore and identify the true needs of the community. Once those needs are identified we work as a group using the designers toolset to addresses those needs. A typical outcome is an exploration document with examples of possible branding, identity, wayfinding, community development and marketing projects. These documents are more than traditional design. They become a roadmap of sorts that provides these communities an action plan that can then be used for grant writing and future planning. Clients included non-profit environmental groups and local community government.