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VisualDesign

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Your vision, realized.

Design is more than art for art’s sake. It grabs attention, tells a story, persuades, and inspires action. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to learn how to make design work hard.

Program Areas

Graphic & Web Design Program

Graphic & Web Design

Prepare to become a graphic designer with interactive skills or a web developer with design skills. You can learn the basics and then choose a graphic design or web design concentration.

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Illustration

Sara Aberle

Graphic & Web Design , 2013

The Art Institute of Washington — Dulles, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta

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Use your artistic vision and technical skills to share your ideas via painting, drawing, and design for markets like publishing, advertising, and the web.

Meet Our Faculty

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    Booker W. Edwards, Jr.

    Audio Production

    "If it's not challenging you, it's not changing you. Embrace the challenge and you'll be changed for the better."

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    Booker W. Edwards, Jr.

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I grew up in the 70’s listening to R&B and funk music. I fell in love with music and sound, and I was fascinated by how it made me feel. I named my first dog Jungle Boogie after the Kool & The Gang song, and by age five I knew I’d have a career in music.


    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    It's very organic, because I can relate so much to many of the paths that our students have taken to get here. I see their desire to take what they love and make a living at it. I pull directly from my experiences so they can learn from my mistakes. Many students come in with career blinders on...they think music is all there is to audio when there’s so much more. I was like them until I found a mentor who opened my eyes to the opportunities, and I try to do the same for my students including being honest, sharing accomplishments, failures, and challenges, and teaching them to take responsibility for their own success. I want my students to leave here with a realistic view of the industry—hard deadlines, rigorous and challenging projects, honest constructive critiques, and reward for a job well done.


    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I present projects in the context of contract work with a client. Students receive a letter from a client detailing what they want, when they need it, and how it's to be delivered. Students execute and deliver the project. Of course, I’m actually the “client.” The pay is their grade—if the work is good, the grade reflects that; if not, there’s specific feedback from the client. It’s all about practicing for a career, not just trying for a grade in class.


    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    In the real world, audio engineers work with artists and producers, sound designers collaborate with film and TV directors, and so on. Our campus is a microcosm of the media/entertainment industry. Audio, Digital Film, Animation, Game Design, they all have an audio aspect. We’ve created a special topics class that puts Animation, Video, and Audio students together on a project encompassing all three disciplines. If our students learn to collaborate here, they’ll be ahead of the game when they get out there.


    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    If it's not challenging you, it's not changing you. Embrace the challenge and you’ll be changed for the better.


    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Don’t be afraid to succeed. But success means more than just believing. It means putting in the work.


    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I love sharing my experiences with the next generation of professionals. When a former student comes back to campus and says, "Thank you for helping me," or tells me I had some impact on their life, the feeling is truly priceless.

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    Dr. William T. Oglesby

    Digital Filmmaking & Video Production

    "When you come to Ai, be ready to work and be prepared to be challenged."

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    Dr. William T. Oglesby

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I always wanted to be involved in the broadcasting industry, and that opportunity came when I was 18 and just entering my first year of college.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    The real-world examples pulled from my broadcasting career are an invaluable teaching tool. I can connect that industry experience to what I’m teaching in the classroom. It’s literally where work experience and education cross, which I believe is the strongest form of education.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching, mentoring, and pushing your students beyond their own perceived limits?

    I enjoy creating a multi-camera newscast in my Studio Production course. The exercises we run in that structure are as close to the real world as you can get. The feel of an actual broadcast tests each student’s commitment as a team member—and pushes them past their supposed limits.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    Broadcasting is a team effort, and if a multi-camera production is to succeed, then each member of the production crew must give 100%. And that team can also include students from outside the department.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    You’re only as good as your last show or your last assignment. You can’t live on past glories. So accept the praise, enjoy the moment, and move on.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Be real, and check your ego at the door. Always strive to be the best—and I mean the best—at what you do. Don't get caught up in the hype of fame and fortune. If you can be the very best of the best, fame and fortune will come.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    When you come to Ai, be ready to work and be prepared to be challenged. If you can accept that challenge, and strive to be the very best at what you do, your ride in life will be exciting. Get up every day and be excited about what you do, because what you do is going to be with you for a long time to come.

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  • Erin Freeman

    Graphic & Web Design

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    Erin Freeman

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    When I was four, I drew some amazing aliens with a black Sharpie...on the roof of my dad’s green Ford Pinto. My mom had always stressed the importance of women in the workforce, and how everyone had something special to contribute (even marker murals). I knew that I wanted a career that I considered to be an extension of myself.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    Moving from a classroom environment to a creative industry is a huge challenge for students. Suddenly they’re working on multiple deadlines, in different scenarios, alongside various work personalities. I try to prepare them for it by sharing my experiences in the form of case studies. They get a sense of reality and we forge a common bond that helps me become a better mentor.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    In Corporate Identity and Branding class, designers are assigned a creative brief, conceptual and sketching exercises, logo development, a standards manual, and supporting graphic collateral. I call it a “high learning curve” course, because by the end of the quarter, they start to understand the entire design process, including the designer/client relationship. Playing the roles of designer, client, researcher, collaborator, printer, and presenter gives them a greater appreciation of the industry.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    It’s easy for a design student to work as a “party of one” in a Mac bubble. But in the real world, many designers work in groups. I encourage students to share their ideas with their classmates so they can produce more robust solutions. And when students from different programs brainstorm together, they find solutions that may not have happened alone or with students with the same major.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    Listen to your intuition. That voice will get you through a challenging project and help you cut through the clutter when you’re on your own.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Fight complacency. Challenge yourself to find the best solution through creative experimentation—while walking through the fear of failure.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I’m grateful that I get to work with such creative minds who want to grow and learn. The biggest thing I impart to my students is how to cultivate and nourish creativity, the fuel that pushes us every day.

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