Tanner Woodford is founder, executive director, and bartender of the Chicago Design Museum. He teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and makes Iterative Work. As a designer, educator, and entrepreneur, he has taught, lectured, and led workshops on design issues, social change, and design history in classrooms and at conferences. He is irrepressibly optimistic, believing design has the capacity to fundamentally improve the human condition. He lives and works in Chicago.

Experience at SAIC

Tanner teaches "Design Thinking for Social Change," a course that explores historical and contemporary case studies in which design has served as a catalyst for change, with an emphasis on the environments for and context that surround design decisions. It highlights the way in which designers use tools and communication channels to influence environments, define interactions, and manipulate perception. Independent research, collaboration, and ideation processes culminate in projects that will change professional, cultural, or social spaces.

Personal Statement

In addition to teaching at the SAIC, I am Co-founder and Executive Director of the Chicago Design Museum. I hold a BS in Design from Arizona State University, and a design patent for product design at Intel. Throughout my career, I have worked in many capacities, including product design, community organization, interaction design, and development. With formal training in design, I have taught and lectured on design issues, history, and rapid ideation in professional and academic settings. I believe in taking calculated risks, and was taught to leave everything—objects, relationships and ideas—better than when they were found.


Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.