School of Art Interim Director Don Starr earned his Master of Fine Arts in Integrated Design from the University of Baltimore and a Bachelor of Science in Advertising Design from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Since his original Mason hire date—01/01/01—Don’s past positions at the School of Art have included Academic Advisor and Associate Director in addition to his current Associate Professor of Graphic Design position.
He was instrumental in the establishment of the Mason AIGA Student Group in 2005 and served as Faculty Advisor until 2018. He has volunteered his time and experience yearly as a reviewer at area AIGA Portfolio Review events, sponsoring the event twice at the Mason campus, and has been a judge for the National American Advertising Awards, known in the profession as the ADDY awards.
Don’s current research focus is examining the synthesis of digital expression and traditional graphic technique in visual communication. His study of hand lettering, letterpress and screen printing has yielded a unique hybrid lecture/studio course, Experiential Design History, where students have hands-on workshops in traditional graphic arts along with lectures detailing their historical relevance in contemporary design practice.
Prior to joining George Mason University, Don worked at several Washington design studios and advertising agencies, serving notable clients such as FedEx, Special Olympics, Nissan, Graduate School, USDA, Time Magazine, and—of course, the region’s largest employer—the Federal Government.
Due to his rediscovery of traditional graphic arts —and collecting tons of metal type and presses—in 2012 Don founded Glyph, a letterpress & graphic design studio plus a retail storefront in Havre de Grace, Maryland, where he continues exploring the techniques in both artistic and commercial applications. His Glyph branding work typically focuses on local new business start-ups and non-profit groups, as well as designing and printing letterpress social stationery.
Don is active as a member of the American Printing History Association, Chesapeake Chapter, currently serving as Chapter President. His collaborative letterpress work with Lead Graffiti’s Tour de Lead Graffiti includes the collections of The British Library, The Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian Institutions.
Additionally, Don has been known to “tread the boards” acting in local and regional theater productions and was a member of the Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory. His work onstage earned him a Best Supporting Actor award from the NVTA One-Act Play Festival for his performance in Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love.