Michael Reed

Graphic & Web Design

Graphic & Web Design Instructor
The Art Institute of Colorado

Michael Reed, Graphic and Web Design Instructor

You're not alone. Find others who share your passion for creativity. Michael Reed , Graphic & Web Design Instructor , The Art Institute of Colorado

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

My family always had a computer in the home. I mostly just played games on it. But when my dad took a job as an accountant for an Internet service provider, that meant free web hosting. That’s when I discovered web scripting and Adobe Photoshop. I knew the web was my future...creating websites became my goal.

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

“That’s great, but how does this apply to the real world?” Students need to know they can apply what they’re learning to an actual job. The insights I gain by working with clients drives the course material in my classes. Students work on projects that test their design and programming skills based upon actual client specifications.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

I use projects to encourage students to explore their web design process though a series of steps—project proposal, design roughs, working site draft, and completed site. I evaluate each student throughout the process. I stress that they shouldn’t settle for their first design, but rather refine it in order to challenge their critical and creative thinking.

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

We tend to become set in our ways when it comes to solving problems. Collaboration exposes students to the different points of view of their peers. The ability to work with others on the same project helps prepare them for their careers, where they’ll be working with other departments, creative directors, and colleagues. Building team dynamics within the safe environment of the classroom helps students get comfortable with the process.

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

You’re not alone. Find others who share your passion for creativity. Get feedback and accept critiques. Those around you will help you keep growing.

Anything else you’d like to share?

It’s rewarding to work with a student who’s never created a website or app, showing them the process and methods, and watching them take a project from concept to completion.