Since 2001, James has worked as a creative director, graphic designer, web developer, and design educator. He has collaborated with large companies, non-profit organizations, and small businesses to develop engagement strategies, visual narratives, and print and digital materials. He believes that, as expressed in the First Things First manifesto, graphic design is fundamentally about the creation and distribution of cultural meaning. Drawing upon his studies in design history, philosophy, and psychology, he strives to create work that dignifies and ennobles.

With an emphasis on the premise that every image either reinforces or challenges the status quo, James also creates workshops and classes that address the making and understanding of our image world. In addition to teaching studio courses in print and interactive design, he’s developed seminars in philosophy, visual culture, and the politics of design at Pratt Institute and Bard Early College. He currently teaches the History of Graphic Design at Parsons School of Design.

His first book, The Road to Somewhere: An American Memoir, was published by W. W. Norton after driving fifty-thousand miles along the backroads of America, and his writing and work has appeared in several museums and national publications, including the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, CBS News, the New York Times, and HOW Magazine. He frequently collaborates with the artist Candy Chang on public installations that examine the role of ritual and myth, most recently A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. More of their projects can be found at Ritual Fields.

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