Chris Rudd is a designer, community organizer, and youth worker with a passion for social justice. He has worked tirelessly with youth on the South and West Sides of Chicago, challenging them to engage with their communities through activism and technology. Chris joined IIT’s Institute of Design in 2019 as an Adjunct Faculty member and soon became a full-time instructor and Lead of community-led design for the Chicago Design Lab.

Chris received a certificate in the study of youth development from the City Colleges of Chicago–Harold Washington College. In 2016, as a Civic Innovation Fellow at the Stanford Institute of Design (d.school), he took graduate courses while applying and honing his skills in human-centered design methodologies. During the yearlong fellowship, Chris designed Youth Tech Design, a program for at-risk youth to help bridge the gap between young people and the tech sector; the program allows these promising young people to create solutions to self-identified societal issues.

Recently, Chris was chosen to participate in Chicago Urban League’s highly selective IMPACT Leadership Development Program for 2021. The program, first started in 2014, is an intensive fellowship to assist Black professionals in advancing in their careers and bolstering the diversity of professional leaders in Chicago.

Industry Experience

In 2018 Chris founded ChiByDesign, a black-owned and people-of-color-led human-centered design firm. His role there includes designing and facilitating highly customized workshops, conducting design research, and consulting on innovation strategy. ChiByDesign is dedicated to empowering community members with design methods as a tool to unlock and uplift their creativity; the firm has worked with the Obama Foundation, One Million Degrees, City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago Scholars, and other nonprofit organizations to create social change in Chicago.

From 2013 to 2016, Chris focused on helping young people hone their tech skills with an eye to future career paths. One effort involved working with California Bay Area youth through the Emerson Collective to design eight civic apps. Additionally, as the director of the Juvenile Justice Council (JJC) at Mikva Challenge, Chris worked with twenty-five diverse young leaders from Cook County to develop an app called Expunge.io, which connects youth with pro bono lawyers to complete the expungement process.

Speaking and Publishing

Chris has been a presenter on topics such as design and activism; community-empowered systems change; co-designing with community; and youth, design, and juvenile justice reform at the Institute of Design as well as Northwestern University, Salisbury University, and Dartmouth College. He has also been a featured speaker at the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as other associations and institutes. He co-authored “Creative Tech Solutions to Juvenile Expungement,” published on the American Bar Association website.

Select Publications

Rudd, Chris, and Sharlyn Grace. January 25, 2015. “Creative Tech Solutions to Juvenile Expungement,” americanbar.org.