Colton Branscum

Graphic & Web Design

Adjunct Instructor, Graphic Design
The Art Institute of Austin, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston

 Colton Branscum - Graphic Design Instructor at The Art Institute of Austin

My students create more than just a logo and elements of a brand. Colton Branscum , Adjunct Instructor, Graphic Design , The Art Institute of Austin, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston
What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

I would have to say, when I realized the scope of all a graphic designer can achieve through the profession. Whether it was in business, scholarly pursuits, or non-profit work, I wanted to be part of it.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?

I try to express the importance of discipline in work habits, and also collaboration in regard to learning, conceptualizing, and executing works of design.

Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

Rather than a single assignment, I would have to say that the “process” I teach, and expect my students to implement, more exemplifies my approach to teaching. By paying special care and attention to each step in the process of producing a work of design, my students create more than just a logo and elements of a brand. They create a system whose elements complement each other and work as a greater, more efficient, and whole. Doing so in teaching allows for an enhanced learning experience for the student, whom I try to give individual attention, but encourage helping their fellows. This creates an atmosphere of mutual learning through observation and teaching, and allows for growth of the individual student and the class’ collective knowledge as a whole—empowering the student, who can now not only perform the task required, but also speak about, and teach others.

What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?

Collaboration is an integral part of graphic design. The function of graphic design is to express or convey ideas or messages through the most efficient means possible. Having an alternative viewpoint at one’s disposal in the design process is a great way to find solutions to issues that might arise in the design process, or even find problems that had not been considered by the designer to begin with. These uninitiated contributors may have a completely different set of tools when it comes to approaching a project. By accommodating and learning from each other, both parties walk away with an elevated, an even more applicable, understanding.

In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

I would have to say persistence is probably one of the most important things I try to impart to my students. Some say that it takes 10,000 hours to gain mastery over a given discipline. The more opportunity for practice a student can take advantage of, the more effective their skills, and the greater their knowledge of their chosen discipline. 

Before embarking on a creative career, I would advise a potential student to be sure of what they are getting into, and that their interest isn’t a passing affinity. Then I would advise them to choose the career that suits their skills and seems "most necessary"—being able to fulfill the needs of the issues they hope to address and overcome in their career.