Stephen Zhang had an illustrious career as a design leader before returning to academia. He served as the vice president and image director at Fossil®, a fashion designer and manufacturer, where he was responsible for developing, evolving, and managing the Fossil brand for its global market. He was vice president and creative director at Filson, a retailer offering rugged outdoor clothing, travel bags and watches, and creative director at Lodge 26, a creative agency focusing on branding, design and product development.
Returning to UNT in a teaching capacity allows Zhang to bring his branding and design experiences to the classroom while enabling him to pursue his creative exploits further. Zhang's creative work is multidisciplinary; besides his strategic branding expertise, he is an illustrator and internationally acclaimed watercolor artist.
Zhang's research focuses on visual storytelling — exploring innovative methodologies to convey messages, evoke emotions, and engage audiences. He seamlessly and strategically incorporates creative direction, design, illustration, and painting in various projects. His projects include client work, collaborations, social design initiatives, self-initiated and research-based projects, and fine art endeavors.
Zhang’s design work has been honored by institutions such as the Type Director’s Club, Communication Arts, Print, How, Graphis, AR 100, Graphic Design USA, American Illustration, Creative Quarterly, 3x3, iJungle Illustration Award, and Beijing Design Week. His paintings have also received recognition — including multiple Best of Shows — by the American Watercolor Society, Transparent Watercolor Society of America, Splash, Watercolor USA, Chinese National Exhibition, and Art Olympia.