Merrily Hall

Graphic & Web Design

Graphic & Web Design Instructor
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division

Merrily Hall

Keep your sense of humor wherever you go. Merrily Hall , Graphic & Web Design Instructor , The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division

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

Maybe it was when I first saw the beautiful names of crayons—and fought with my cousin over Cornflower Blue—or when I realized the only classes where I felt truly at home were art classes. I grew up with art all around me. My grandmother painted the most beautiful landscapes. She encouraged me and we took classes together. I grew up with the beautiful aromas of oil colors and linseed oil wafting through her house.

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

I have many years of design experience—from technical illustrator to creative director. I share both good and bad—lessons learned—to help students understand how their work fits into current design trends. I look for new ways to weave my knowledge into graphic design, and ultimately share this with my students. There are always new ways of seeing!

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring—and how do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

I enjoy challenging students to think differently and push their boundaries. Corporate Identity and Dimensional Design are two classes that require blue-sky thinking—looking at something from a completely different perspective and often breaking rules. I enjoy leading students through their final portfolio classes, helping them find out who they are after years of being immersed in classes. I love seeing students dig deep and emerge with a new sense of confidence and knowledge of who they are as designers.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

Everyone’s past experiences and knowledge bring a different perspective to a project, so working collaboratively can only serve to enrich the work. Learning to embrace other points of view, different insights, and alternative methods is key to success—not only at work, but in life.

What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

Humor. Humor helps us relax, humor helps us create, humor helps us physically feel better, and we all learn better when we’re having fun. Keep your sense of humor wherever you go.