Lisa Elzey Mercer (she/her) is a designer, educator, and researcher. Her interests are in developing and executing design interventions that fuel and sustain responsible design for social impact. The developed frameworks and tools are intended to create a space for conversation and knowledge exchange where participants can collaborate in creating new ideas and solutions. This type of methodology is evidenced in her current projects focused on the topics of human trafficking, incarceration, race, and racism. She co-developed the framework Racism Untaught with Terresa Moses (University of Minnesota). Racism Untaught is a framework for collaborators to identify racialized design and critically assess anti-racist design approaches. We have iteratively improved upon the toolkit through working with our industry partners including Target, Spotify, PayPal, and Apple; and our academic partners include the University of Minnesota, University of Illinois, Parsons School of Design, Louisiana State University, and Auburn University. She also developed Operation Compass, an ethnographic research study concerned with developing design-led interventions to combat the complex social issue of human trafficking.
Elzey Mercer is an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design and Design for Responsible Innovation in the School of Art and Design, College of Fine and Applied Arts (FAA), at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She has been an active contributor to both the BFA in Graphic Design and MFA in Design for Responsible Innovation. Elzey Mercer served as the Graduate Coordinator and Co-coordinator during the transition of the graduate program from an MFA in Graphic Design to the current program. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of interaction design, experience design, ethics, and responsible design. The College of Fine and Applied Arts awarded Elzey Mercer with the Excellence in Research for the AY2021 academic year.
Elzey Mercer has presented at national and international conferences including, The American Institute of Graphic Arts Design Educators Community Conference (AIGA), International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design, and Media (CUMULUS), European Academy of Design (EAD), International Association of Societies of Design Research Conference (IASDR), Design + Diversity Conference, National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE), Participatory Design Conference (PDC), College Arts Association Conference (CAA), Design Research Society (DRS). Several media outlets have featured Elzey Mercer including the Dallas affiliate for NBC and National Public Radio (NPR) shows Texas Standard, Illinois News Room, All Things Considered, and Sirius Radio. She currently serves as a National Steering Committee Member on the AIGA DEC (The American Institute of Graphic Arts Design Educators Community).
Elzey Mercer holds a BFA in Visual Communication and Design from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, and a Master of Design Research from the University of North Texas, Denton, Texas. She worked in the industry for 15 years and for five years was the Founder and Art Director of Mercer Studio, in Denver, Colorado. Her roles included project management, interaction design, mobile application development, and design research.