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Design education, by broad definition, is the instruction of theory and application in the creation of products, services, and communications. More specific to Visual Communication Design, is the teaching of typography, composition, cultural awareness, and audience understanding. By taking students beyond the design studio, and into a formalized design research lab, we are providing them with a much richer educational experience, and in turn, making them more marketable to future employers. Realizing this knowledge is a valuable commodity in industry, the VCD program at Virginia Tech is recreating itself to include coursework and design research that moves out of the studio. A new lab- ETUT (Eye Tracking and Usability Testing Lab) has been established within the School of Visual Arts, to assist in this redefinition. Once students complete studio projects, they are then guided through a series of methodologies, which test the validity, and integrity of their designs using the equipment contained in the ETUT lab. Their design education is being augmented with hard science to create a truly unique designer.