Monica Ong Reed, Senior Web and Digital Designer

  • Portrait by Maler Photography
April 2, 2024
Monica Reed has been a designer at Yale University for more than 16 years. Formerly with Yale School of Music and the Digital Humanities Lab, she has recently brought her expertise to Yale Library Communications. As senior digital and web designer since 2022, Monica produces a wide range of digital media and graphics that support the library’s identity and mission.
“I am also involved in thinking strategically about the future of the library’s website, especially now as we are trying to reimagine the site on a new platform—Drupal 10—in the near future,” Monica said. Migrating to the new site requires a lot of infrastructural design thinking and collaboration, she explained. “It’s been exciting to be able to be a part of that and to be able to join groups that are thinking hard about those questions: like the YaleSites Governance Committee—a campus-wide committee of design leads—Information Technology Services, the Office of Public Affairs and Communications.
“I’m really learning Yale’s culture, needs, and audiences. I am also excited to get to know wonderful people that I get to work with.
Through collaborations like these, Monica actively supports the library’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility efforts in her creative work. “I think planning ahead and making sure to have conversations with stakeholders and really listening carefully and deeply make for better storytelling. That’s how we tell the library’s story in a way that connects with audiences and hopefully allows everyone to feel seen in the work that comes out of our department.”
A recent visual story in Library News, about the 60th anniversary of Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, is just one example of her approach. The story featured eight library staff members—librarians, curators, and subject experts—describing their favorite objects. “To illustrate the story,” Monica explained, “I was able to identify photo combinations, a digital interface, and a kind of layout that would bring the story to life. It not only put a spotlight on the incredible objects in the library’s collection but also on the diverse voices in our community and our culture.
“For me, the work of DEIA is really how you show up every day, how you take care of the people in front of you,” she said. “But in Library Communications—even when we’re selecting photos or casting photo shoots, we are thinking in terms of accessibility, of representation. That thinking is embedded into the process and not treated as a kind of afterthought.”
Monica actively participates in the growing number of DEIA initiatives taking place at the library and throughout Yale. “I have been really excited and inspired by seeing more representation in the cultural events around campus,” she said. Monica, who is also a visual poet, especially loves the poetry readings. “You have giants like Claudia Rankine and Cornelius Eady coming to campus, along with others who have been such a great influence.”
This year, Monica was among 50 artists nationwide who were awarded a United States Artists Fellowship. Recipients are selected for the roles they play within their communities as cultural leaders, teachers, and advocates in uncovering marginalized histories. As the president of the organization noted in making the award, these artists “offer invaluable modes of healing, expression, and collaboration.”
Read more about Monica’s 2024 United States Artists Fellowship award.