Graphic & Web Design
Graphic and Web Design Instructor
The Art Institute of Las Vegas
Find the right solution first. Pushing pixels follows. Christopher Gardner , Graphic and Web Design Instructor , The Art Institute of Las Vegas
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
I always liked sketching and using watercolor to express myself. After school I'd write stories to go with my drawings, using an old typewriter I'd found and brought back to life. Sometimes I’d stay up till early morning to finish my stories. Those were defining moments in my life.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
I often show work I’ve done in the field, and I let my students know how their classwork work applies to a professional setting. I also share anecdotes that help put the projects I assign into a real-world context.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
I feel passionate about every project I assign. I believe passion helps inspire creativity in the classroom. The projects themselves are all tied very closely to the area we’re exploring. For instance, a web development project has a very different class layout and assignments than a corporate identity class.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
It’s is a big part of learning. I want my students to understand that the best work stems from collaborative effort, and that most real-world projects involve teamwork. Here in school, an animator could help a web developer—and a web developer could help a print-based designer get a web project off the ground. Everybody needs to get involved to take a project from start to finish. When students start appreciating the true value of collaboration, that’s when they create portfolio-worthy projects.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
Here’s one of the most important aspects of design that I stress: On every project, every student needs to follow a creative path that starts with pencil on paper. You need to do a lot of planning and sketching before ever using a digital application. Find the right solution first. Pushing pixels follows.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I truly love teaching, and I find that it makes me a better designer