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Art and Design

Tips and resources for studio and class research in art, design, and visual technology

Citation Styles in Art & Design

Not sure what citation format you should use for an assignment? While your professor may give a clear requirement for a paper, other classes (like English 302) sometimes ask you to find this out on your own. 

Citation styles can vary between disciplines, and several are used in art and design scholarship:

  • Visual art journals usually use Chicago, or occasionally MLA.
  • Design journals might use APA style (especially if they are more focused on the human factors side of design), Chicago, or MLA
  • Art History generally uses Chicago style
  • Art Education generally uses APA style

If you're not sure which to use, look at what citation styles are used in journals or magazines in your discipline.

  1. On the “Find Articles & Journals” page of this guide, look for the “Selected Art & Design Journals” box.
  2. Browse some of the journals listed for your area of practice. (Or: if you already know some scholarly or professional journals in your area, use one of those!)
  3. Search for that journal’s website. Usually, these sites have a section like “author information” or “how to prepare your manuscript,” which gives guidelines for those submitting articles to the journal including the style guide requirements.

One you’ve identified the right style for your discipline, you can use the resources on the Mason Writing Center’s website to help write and manage your citations.

Citations Made Easy with Zotero


Use Zotero to generate accurate citations and quick bibliographies. Get started with these videos:

Do you need a specialized citation style beyond APA, Chicago, or MLA? Check out Zotero's Style Repository for specialized formats.

The Libraries provide workshops to get you started using Zotero. Check the workshop calendar for times and locations.

Need more citation help? Check out the Purdue Online Writing Lab for assistance with citing APA, MLA and Chicago.

George Mason University Writing Center

The Writing Center

The Writing Center offers free writing support to Mason students, faculty and staff. Accomplished graduate and undergraduate students provide face-to-face tutoring, online tutoring, and workshops. They work with writers through all stages of the writing process from brainstorming and organizing to revising and polishing. To meet with a Writing Center tutor please schedule a virtual or face-to-face appointment.

ESL students who would like additional assistance can apply for the Writing Center's Opt-In Program.