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Matthew Peterson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Graphic Design


Matthew Peterson is a researcher in the interpretation of visual media (image and text), which has connected him to other disciplines such as science education, communication, and advertising. He characterizes media, including “static” print, as experience. His research is both empirical and theoretical.

Dr. Peterson’s dissertation investigated how seventh-grade students process information according to the integration of text and image in science curriculum materials. Subsequent work has touched on the expression of metaphor through imagery and the construction of narrative through static pictures. This has included prototyping for instructional design in science, deconstructing metaphorical relations in the advertising image, and exploring visualizations of time according to an extraordinary illustration found in a medieval manuscript. Ultimately Matthew is classifying imagery according to information processing demands. He is ever increasingly interested in typographic variables. More information on his research is available at

Matthew spent the past five years at the University of Illinois, where he developed flexible undergraduate and graduate curricula in design. There he was a graduate coordinator of the Design Division at the School of Art & Design. His teaching has included the development of an online studio-based theory course (Experience & Meaning in Design), graduate studios and seminars, advanced typography, publication design (with four issues of the literary journal Ninth Letter), image making, information design, and “vertical studio,” where pedagogy is managed to bring sophomores, juniors, and seniors together.

Dr. Peterson is likely the first (if not only) person to receive three successive degrees from the College of Design. His professional background includes corporate web design; institutional print, exhibition, and web design at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis as a Design Fellow; and co-owning and operating the design studio Field Study in Chicago.


Ph.D. in Design NC State University College of Design

Master of Graphic Design NC State University College of Design

Bachelor of Graphic Design NC State University College of Design