My job as a design educator is to provide students with the technical proficiency to succeed in art and design, and also foster in them independent thinking and a desire to work with others. I am a proponent of movement as an impetus to learning. In the software classes I teach, I get students up away from the computer and out into the world.
For instance, in Digital Layout Adobe (InDesign) one of the assignments is to design and lay out a restaurant menu of the student’s choice. The student is required to use what they have learned of the software, but also to consider the person at the other end of the menu as someone who experiences, uses and interprets the design.
The dining experience can be both personal, social, and involve all of the senses. It is therefore necessary to explore and research how people experience in order to determine why certain decisions are made in creating a particular solution. This requires them to visit restaurants, observe interactions, talk with patrons, and taste food! Looking for meaning in this way benefits the student as well as the people they will potentially serve. Fun and humor also play a big part in the classes I teach. When we have fun, we enjoy coming to class.
I want them to learn the skills and craft as well as the joy and camaraderie that can be part of professional art and design careers. Working with our hands is integral to exploration. In Typography in Design we sketch and draw with pencil, pen and marker; we use paint and brush to render types; and we present work in visual, written and verbal communication.
I emphasize that while the computer is indeed a remarkable tool, the ultimate tool is our body. It’s important to remind them that our bodies are how we share with and learn from others; we are not passive instruments, we are active, vital, emotive creators. While I challenge students to learn new skills I also ask them to appreciate diverse cultures and backgrounds.
I often get students whose first language is other than English or are on the spectrum or are physically disabled. These students often feel like they should fit in with the so-called “normals”, but I encourage them to use their unique qualities to enrich the user experience. These unique experiences can be explored and expressed in our work. I encourage them to reflect on their own beliefs and to open their minds to new ways of ‘seeing’. This in turn helps us figure things out, solve problems and create opportunities.
Any solution is rarely obvious at the outset and so the student benefits from a confidence developed and refined with practice. Another benefit of the classroom experience is the potential to interact with a diversity of classmates. A variety of ethnicity, gender, language, learning style, physical abilities, etc. enriches each of us personally and in turn benefits learning and process. We have group presentations and critiques where students are encouraged to again express the significance of their diversity.
This has resulted in presentations given in French, Spanish, Filipino, German or Arabic, and even in rap and to ukulelé and accordion! Students must understand and be able to apply the skills and concepts covered in the class with confidence. I present just three or four assignments in any one of my classes which gives us plenty of time to explore the material fully. I quiz the classes regularly and exams are taken to check comprehension as well as my presentation of the material. Learning is both a solitary endeavor and a social experience, and benefits from listening, observation, teamwork, and learning from each other.
MFA Graphic Design :: June 2016
Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA
BFA / Graphic Communication :: 1983
Center for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI
Adjunct Instructor :: Fall 2005 to Present
Macomb Community College, Warren, MI 48088
Courses instructed: Fundamentals of Design—Introduction to design concepts. Problems in two-dimensional design using lines and planes; Digital Layout Adobe—Design and layout problems using Adobe InDesign and Adobe Acrobat. Students utilize design fundamentals to create a single and multi-page publications; Design for Advertising—Design 3D communication solutions using a variety of media, software, materials, and techniques; Design for the Web I—Introductory training in web page and site design emphasizing planning and design. Students gain experience using multiple software packages and demonstrate these skills by creating designs, testing, and publishing projects to a web server, using existing markup languages.
Adjunct Instructor :: Fall 2011 to Present
Oakland Community College, Auburn Hills, MI 48326
Courses instructed: Graphic Design—This course covers the fundamental elements of design and visual communication. Students are introduced to projects that solve design problems and are aesthetically appealing. Topics include color and value, scale, proportion, rhythm, motion, balance, shape, line and texture as they apply to a variety of design projects; Typography in Design—This course introduces the fundamentals and study of letterforms and typography, and how to apply typographical solutions to graphic design projects. The course also covers type history and its cultural impact; Applied Design I—This course covers typography and image in the design of such materials as social issue ads and type specimens.
Art Instructor, Schalm Elementary, Clawson, MI :: Summer 2002
Hinterland:41 Art and Design :: February 1999 to Present
While I was the creative director of Meetings & Events magazine, the monthly business-to-business publication expanded to four other States—Ohio, Texas, Colorado, and Illinois. I designed and produced the 3-million unit AAA Vacations guide. I designed retail packaging for the entire Brasscraft line of plumbing products. Other clients have included: United Road, Spartan Paving, the City of Clawson, and the Clawson School District.
Planning Commissioner, Clawson, MI :: April 2006 to February 2013
I initiated and coauthored a single-family residential large lot preservation ordinance. I helped organize, advertise and conduct a Master Plan charrette, and helped author the Master Plan.
Creative Manager, American Communications Network, Troy, MI :: April 1997 to February 1999
I was hired to organize and consolodate what had previously been an uncoordinated method of design and production. Many departments were producing their own advertising and marketing materials and I coordinated a consistent branding of the company and standardized the request for quote process. ACN conducted large, multi-media production and meeting conferences which I designed displays and print materials for.
Sr Art Director. Sun Technicom, Allen Park, MI :: June 1993 to April 1997
I designd packaging for Ford Motorsports products such as spark plugs, air and fuel filters, and after-market parts. I also designed and produced service and training manuals for Ford, and the Chevrolet Geo.
Wm Tite Design, Clawson, MI :: 1989 to June 1993
I freelanced for Detroit-area agencies and studios. I also worked on construction of a 3500 square foot log home and a carriage house.
Art Director, A.R. Brasch Advertising, Southfield, MI :: 1986–1989
Major clients included Ford Motorsports, Ford Motor Company, and Volkswagen of America—I designed catalogs, and dealership point-of-sale materials.
Member: AIGA Detroit, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, College Art Association