Mr. Robert John Thompson

About Me

Father, Designer, Educator, Entrepreneur

Member Type Non-member

RJ Thompson is a practicing graphic designer, educator, and entrepreneur currently teaching interactive design and professional practices at Youngstown State University. RJ, formerly taught at Edinboro University, Carnegie Mellon University, and La Roche College. He has owned and operated his design practice, Zola Design LLC since 2008. Before entrepreneurship and teaching, RJ was a graphic designer for the H.J. Heinz Company – a Fortune 500 worldwide company. 

Volunteering and service are critical areas of interest for RJ, having served on the Board of Directors for AIGA Pittsburgh from 2007-2010 and also being the founding local leader of Interaction Design Association (IxDA) Youngstown chapter. He is also a board member of The Legal Creative, a Youngstown-based arts advocacy organization that builds the economic relationship between artist and community; so that artists are active, engaged, organized, and valued for the contributions they make.

RJ has spoken at several conferences on various design research projects, including UCDA Design Education Summit, Design Practices & Principles, United States Distance Learning Association, AIGA Design Educator’s Conference, and has been accepted to speak at HigherEdWeb, Online Learning Consortium, Quality Matters, ProComm, SIGDOC, GIANT UX, and SECAC. 

RJ is a 2007 graduate of California University of Pennsylvania, securing a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2011 as a scholarship student.

You can read more about RJ’s research and design projects at


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