Glenda Hodges
The Jetsons Impact on Design, Technology, and Society

On September 23, 1962, the production team of Hanna Barbera premiered their space-age comedic cartoon, The Jetsons. Featuring a nuclear family of four, the Jetsons were a post-world-war family living the American Dream in 2062. The original show only lasted for one twenty-four-episode season. In my writings, I will explain why 59 years later, the Jetsons are still impacting American society and technology.

The process of narrowing down my senior capstone project was a semester-long arduous process. It began as a study of human communication from the cuneiform script in Mesopotamia, with a slight detour to Nicholas Jenson, the 1470’s French print and type designer who printed roman lowercase letters, Greek-style and black-letter type. I then spent time studying the first computers before deciding on the futuristic comedic cartoon, The Jetsons.

I was fascinated by the Jetsons’ and the fabulous space-age technology on display each week as a young girl. I would not have understood the Jetsons show was considered a post-World War II utopian society for American life. Nor would I have imagined the impact of the 1957 Soviet Union’s launch of the satellite Sputnik 1 had on one of my favorite television shows. I read every article and bits of information that I could locate related to Jetson’s technology, utopian, and dystopian societies. I watched one season of the Jetsons, downloaded images, mockups, and tidbits that would add to the value of my publications. And then, my elderly Mother, who still lives in my childhood home in Michigan, became life-threatening ill. As a requirement for the Capstone Class, each student was tasked with writing a detailed work schedule to keep us on track. The ambitious and regimented schedule I turned in detailed eight hours of work a week. In the years I have been a college student, I have rarely been behind. The thought of not having the ability to catch up was terrifying.

I spent three weeks in Michigan helping nurse my Mother. I did get behind, but that is not where the story ends. I have worked diligently to catch up, and by the Grace of God, I will soon be through.

Glenda Hodges 
Delay is not denial is a resounding theme that motivates DePaul University Senior Glenda Hodges. After retiring eight years ago from the FedEx Corporation in Buffalo Grove, IL, she committed to pursuing her dreams and returning to college.

Her Senior Capstone Project, "The Jetsons, Impact on Design, Technology, and Society' was derived from her experience as a baby boomer. The Jetsons was the second time that she watched a television show broadcast in color. Unfortunately for the Jetsons, in 1962, her family, like 97 percent of Americans, did not own a color television set. That fact hastened the Jetsons' demise. To prepare for this project, she spent two days power-watching 24-episodes of the Jetsons. It was then watching as an adult that she realized, "where are the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color?

Thank you to our Capstone volunteers, including students Leslie Ramirez, Chris Keramidas, Caroline Schlegel, and faculty member Laura Rossi García. Special thanks to 2020–21 Capstone faculty Shiro Akiyoshi, Nathan Matteson, and Heather Snyder Quinn.

College of Computing and Digital Media
School of Design
243 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago IL 60604

Graphic Design Capstone Showcase 2020 and 2021
Advisors: Shiro Akiyoshi, Nathan  Matteson, and Heather Snyder Quinn