Juan Salamanca

Assistant Professor of Graphic Design


Dr. Salamanca is a design researcher and interaction designer who has been experimenting with product aesthetics and information technologies, from both academia and industry, for more than 16 years.

The domain of Dr. Salamanca's research is at the intersection of design, social sciences, and informatics. His current research at the Design for Social Viscosity Lab at Illinois is two faceted. One strand inquires for the social and material conditions necessary to foster or hamper cooperation and collaboration in collective practices such as urban commuting. His recent publications discuss the concept of social viscosity and introduce the use of Agent-Based Modelling as a tool for the study of social interaction. His subsidiary research strand explores the visual analysis of large datasets for the achievement of unplanned collective goals in a context such as a smart city.

Dr. Salamanca is currently assistant professor at the School of Art + Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He holds a doctoral degree from the IIT Institute of Design in Chicago, a master degree in Design Direction from Domus Academy in Milan, Italy, and a BA in Industrial Design at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia.



Research and Projects

  • Design for Social Viscosity lab
    • Social computing interactions in unstructured social groups 
    • Swarm intelligence for collaborative urban cycling
    • Trust mediation
  • Visual analytics
    • Visual analysis of financial communities. Big data and analytics project for Bancolombia, the first private bank in Colombia. See the GitHub repository



Spring 2021

  • ARTD 299 Creative Coding This course will focus on the foundational concepts and skills of programming through simple design challenges, including bitmap manipulation and gesture-based interactions. At the end of this eight-week class, students will be able to code compelling digital canvases for desktop and mobile devices. The course will make extensive use of popular programming environments such as Processing and P5.js, and might include physical interaction using Arduino depending on the experience and interest of students.
  • ARTD 551 Design Research Impact. This seminar helps MFA design students connect their research with pedagogy and professional development strategies to disseminate their research into publishing, conferences, communities, and other relevant venues. 

Fall 2020

  • ARTD 318 Digital Interaction: This studio explores the construction of compelling user experiences that incorporate the use of digital media. Students investigate both the theoretical and practical aspects of digital interaction through exercises involving information architecture, interface design, and creative coding.
  • ARTD 351 Graphic Design Inquiry: Complex social problems demand problem solvers to dissect their causes, components, system dynamics, evolutions, and consequences. Data visualization (DataViz) and visual analytics have proven to be invaluable tools in understanding social issues. In this course, we overview the dataviz principles by exploring alternatives to represent social data and distill information. 

Spring 2020

  • ARTD 418 Advanced Interaction Design: This advanced studio immerses students in design investigations that stimulate awareness of emergent digital interaction paradigms. Potential areas of exploration include design and development for both mobile devices and interactive environments. In this course, the scope of interaction design encompasses two novel aspects. First, technology-mediated interactions that embrace new interaction modalities beyond touchscreens. Second, we are interested in design for relational means that enhance the social aspects of human life.
  • ARTD 302 Industrial Design IV: Being in the world and interacting with the world are symbiotic facets of human agency. Every situated action performed by human actors, either passively or actively, defines their agency and constitutes the essence of human experience. This studio course examines design and agency by looking at people and artifacts as actors and studying how they embody agency and mediate intentionality. Students will get an approximation to machine learning applied in the design of products and services that support forms of individual and collective interactions. 









This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.