Jiwon Son

Graphic & Web Design

Graphic Design Instructor
The Illinois Institute of Art — Chicago

Jiwon Son (AiChicago)

Confidence in a personal process is what fuels designers and gives value to the profession. Jiwon Son , Graphic Design Instructor , The Illinois Institute of Art — Chicago
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

I am committed to offering an education that is rigorous, informative, and engaging. Each project has a tipping point. Once a student really gets into that project, they are in it with tenacity and heart. I believe it’s important to clearly outline the objectives and requirements of a design challenge—this focuses the student on specific goals and targeted skills. They may not initially see an outcome, but they can see a way to proceed. Additionally, they learn how each design decision leads to the next. It’s also important to know that creativity can be very frustrating and even overwhelming sometimes.

How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?

Each project is broken down into phases and small goals. I supplement each step with examples, discussions, individual critiques. As students look back on these smaller-phase projects, they’re often surprised at how much work they’ve accomplished and how many decisions they’ve made. This is how the real design process works. Confidence in a personal process is what fuels designers and gives value to the profession. At the end of this class, students present their journey and its results to industry designers. This last phase—accountability, packaging and presenting the whole story—is also an integral challenge that yields a strong sense of accomplishment and closure. 

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

Creativity can be very frustrating and even overwhelming sometimes. During these moments, my role is to provide direction and encouragement. I’m here to help students discover a next step, an overlooked possibility or another way to see things—anything that will open the next door.