Blake Miller

Graphic & Web Design

The Art Institute of Houston


It is not enough to be able to solve design problems—you must be able to produce on time. Blake Miller , Instructor , The Art Institute of Houston
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become an educator? 

I was a Biology major for two years at Texas Tech University, in the Pre-Veterinary program. One day, while sitting on the concrete slab of a horse barn, taking notes, swatting flies, and sweating in the West Texas heat, I decided to change my major to Art. No kidding. I enrolled in the Communication Design program not even sure of what Communication Design was—my credentials were that I liked to draw when I was a kid.

I was fortunate enough to cross paths with a fantastic designer/teacher/mentor who was teaching in his first year at Tech. He had graduated from Art Center College of Design and, before arriving at Tech, had worked for several nationally/internationally known designers and as a partner in his own firm for 15 years. After taking one class from him, I changed my schedule to take as many classes from him as possible. He opened my eyes to the very real possibility of being a designer—and making a living at it.

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

I think that many students have a hard time making a connection between a school assignment and a design project out in the “real” world. I try to make classroom projects relevant—when I can—by showing an applied concept from professional work. Some of these are projects that I have had during my 40+ years as a working designer and some are works by others. I also try to impress upon my students the importance of time management and meeting deadlines. It is not enough to be able to solve design problems—you must be able to produce on time.