Sylvia Harris was a 25-year champion of good design for the public and founder of Citizen Research & Design. She passed away on July 24, 2011, but she remains a vital inspiration. The Sylvia Harris Citizen Design Award was established in 2014 to honor her legacy by "supporting other vanguards dedicated to public design."
Sylvia specialized in creating accessible communications for mass audiences. As founder and principal of Citizen Research & Design, she guided the nation’s largest hospitals, universities, and civic agencies through processes that included strategic planning, policy development, and innovation management. Sylvia was a member of the U.S. Postal Service Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee and served on the advisory committee of the New York City Department of Transportation.
A popular educator and lecturer, she taught at Yale University, The School of Visual Arts, and The Cooper Union. She received her MFA from Yale in 1980 and a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1975. Sylvia's advocacy work can be viewed on the company blog, Citizen Designer.