Our Faculty

Brenda McManus

Assistant Professor

Dyson College of Arts and Sciences


  • @New York City
Office Hours
New York City

Mon 12:00-3:00


Brenda McManus lives and works in New York City where she is a founding partner in BRED, a collaborative design lab as well as an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design in the Art Department at Pace University. She received a BA from Rutgers University-Newark and a MS and MFA from Pratt Institute's Graduate Communication Design Program in Manhattan.

Brenda's work has been recognized by several design publications including Print, Graphis and How magazines and by organizations such as the Art Directors Club, the Type Directors Club, the University & College Designers Association, the Museum Publications Design Competition and the Creativity Design Competition. Her work has been included in the TDC46 Awards Exhibition, Summit – an AIGA/NY Exhibition, the 37th ADCNJ Awards Show, the UCDA Conference Exhibition and the American Association of Museum Design Exhibition. She is also the co-author of “George Giusti: The Idea is the Heart of the Matter” to be published by Rochester Institute of Technology, Graphic Design Archives, Chapbook Series: Five, summer 2016.


Master of Fine Arts , Pratt Institute , Manhattan , 2011
Communication Design

MS , Pratt Institute , Manhattan , 2007
Communication Design


Today's designer is flush with opportunities, to not only “solve problems”, but also bring awareness, ask questions and employ change within our culture. This is the main aspect of visual communication that drew me to the industry. I feel very fortunate to study an area at the intersection of art and communication that allows for a seamless relationship between my craft and life.

As a designer, I have developed a set of personal methodologies that employ visual rhetoric, the art of persuasion through visual means, to help facilitate and analyze hidden relationships found in how we represent, communicate and create meaning particularly within the theater of politics.

“If we perceive something to be true, it is”. This vague but intriguing notion drives my interests in the power of communication. Rhetoric, the effective use of language, becomes a valuable tool in communication to persuade an individual or society to believe a certain perspective. Visual rhetoric is a branch of rhetorical studies concerned with the persuasive use of images, whether on their own or with the addition of text. By using rhetoric as a tool to analyze the relationship between representation and communication, I gain a better understanding of my relationship to the hierarchal signs within our culture.

Messages are everywhere and as in all communication the goal is “to induce in the audience some belief about the past…, the present…, or the future” (Buchanan). The audience's participation is a vital component of the process of visual communication. In this process, we are trying to persuade the viewer to adopt a belief suggested through messages. The purpose of this persuasion is to accomplish one of the following goals: to educate, to compel the reader to act, or to provide the audience with a valuable experience. As the viewer, I have to decide if a message has value and whether to believe it or not.

My research is an investigation into the visual means by which our cultural connections are produced, fabricated and renewed. It is informed through the inter play of three essential concerns: my personal belief system (relationship to my heritage and Catholicism), message making and meaning (my education as a designer) and perspectives on integrity in design (an intellectual and emotive response to the theater of politics). Through my investigations I strive to define for myself “integrity” of messaging by exposing the ways in which false, mythological and accurate interpretations are generated.


  • AIGA the professional association for design [Faculty Advisor for the Pace University AIGA Student Group] , February 9 , 2016
    As the profession's oldest and largest professional membership organization for design—with 70 chapters and more than 25,000 members—we advance design as a professional craft, strategic advantage, and vital cultural force. From content that defines the global practice to events that connect and catalyze, we work to enhance the value and deepen the impact of design across all disciplines on business, society, and our collective future.
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