Jan Fairbairn is a graphic designer, artist and educator, based in Rhode Island.

Graphic Designer

Jan Fairbairn is a graphic designer specializing in identity and print media. Her work is based on problem solving—content driven—rather then simply visual. Her passion is working with anything typographic.


Jan is inspired and motivated by the nature that surrounds her and a lifetime of experiences. Her recent work includes painting, photography and collage.


She has been teaching graphic design and related courses for many years. Currently teaching full time as a Lecturer in the Design Department at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and as a Senior Critic in the Graphic Design Department at Rhode Island School of Design. After many years of teaching I continue to learn from my students. The curriculum changes as do the tools and the industry. Though the basic principals of design—solving problems through type, color and image—remain the same.



Ms Fairbairn’s education includes receiving an MFA degree in Graphic Design from Yale University School of Art, a BFA degree in Graphic Design from Maine College of Art. She also studied Advertising two years at the School of Visual Arts, two years studying Fine Arts at the University of Maine, and one summer abroad in Yale’s Summer Graphic Design Program in Brissago, Switzerland.


She has lectured nationally & internationally, most recently at: Higher Education Press, Beijing, China; The 4th International Conference on Arts in Society, Stream: Arts Theory and Criticism, Venice, Italy; DesignInquiry, Pass•Port: Identity in the Information Age, Vinalhaven, Maine.


She has worked as Principal of Fairbairn & Company, a graphic design studio for over 20 years that produces a range of print publications, identities, branding and exhibition catalogs. Ms Fairbairn concurrently holds the positions of Senior Critic at Rhode Island School of Design and Lecturer at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth; previously held the position of Assistant Professor at SUNY Fredonia; Visiting Lecturer at Rhode Island College and at Yale University School of Art.

Academic Research/Areas of Interest

Being a teacher, designer and artist allows me to move among many worlds. My academic and design work remain within a contemporary, academic dialogue while my art is mostly inspired by nature—eliciting and transforming memories of the past within contemporary compositions.

Client List

Academic Management Services
Agritec Americas Corp
Barry Goralnick Architects
Brockton Symphony Orchestra
Cork Wine & Tapas Bar
European Auto Specialists
Faxon Animal Rescue League
Friends or Reed Library, SUNY Fredonia
Fulbright International
Halim Habib
Independence Jazz Reunion
Jonathan’s Organic
Lakeside Precision
Newbridge Architecture
State of Maine
Old Main inn
Pampa Imports
Pegasus Art & Frame
Philip Gillin
Raffle’s Martini Bar
Rhode Island Philharmonic & Music School
State University of New York, Theatre Department
State University of New York
Summer Time Dream
UMASS Dartmouth, Design Department
UMASS Dartmouth, Women’s Studies Program
Voice and Speech Trainers Association
The Women’s Fund
Yale University School of Art
Yale University School of Architecture
.999 Films