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Span Bud Rodecker

Partner & Design Director

Bud Rodecker

Bud Rodecker is a founder and design director at Span. His work explores the space between logical constraints and formal play, and balances form with meaning. He strives to cut to the core, simply and with a playful spirit.

Within Span’s first two years, Rodecker and his team designed the exhibition graphics for Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; the cover and interior book design for The Architecture of Health: Hospital Design and the Construction of Dignity (The New York Times What to Read selection).

In 2022, Rodecker was named one of Newcity's Design50 for shaping the landscape of design in Chicago. His work is in the permanent collection at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Design Archive, has been displayed in the Venice Architecture Biennale and at the Chicago Cultural Center, and has earned recognition from the STA 100, Design Observer 50 Books 50 Covers, and Graphis (Platinum Award).

Before founding Span, Bud Rodecker was a partner at the legendary design firm Thirst with Rick Valicenti and John Pobojewski. He started as an intern and over a decade helped to shape the work of the studio with clients such as the DePaul University Art Museum, the IIDA (International Interior Designers Association), and UIC (University of Illinois Chicago), before helping to sunset the studio and launching Span.

Outside the studio, Rodecker explores the process of creativity through self-initiated experiments and teaching design at DePaul University. He has participated in numerous design-related lectures, workshops, and panels—sharing his unique perspective on design and the creative process.


On Play, East Carolina University, Keynote presentation, 2024
Behind the Book Design, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, Keynote Presentation, 2023
The University of Houston Keynote Presentation, 2021
Illinois State University, 2017
Cardinal Stritch University, 2014
Bradley University, 2014
AIGA West Michigan, 2014
Spark Conference, 2014
Oklahoma State University, 2014
SEEK Conference, 2013
Apple Store, Lincoln Park, Keynote Presentation, 2012
The School of the Art Institute, Keynote Presentation, 2012
UMD Student Show 2012, Keynote Presentation, 2012
The American Academy of Art, Keynote Presentation, 2012


Adjunct Professor at DePaul University, 2012–Present
Instructor at The Chicago Portfolio School, 2011–2012