Nancy Zeller

Nancy Zeller

Envision your goals, and never give up! Nancy Zeller , Faculty , The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

The defining moment I realized that I was a traditional artist was in kindergarten when I was usually the elected person to draw anything. However, it wasn't until I was about 12 years old when classmates would ask me to draw famous people for them. It was then I realized I could make this talent into a career.

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

I have lived, studied and worked in three diverse cultures. This rich experience of diversity in education and culture, coupled with having initiated a few businesses in America, is part of the fabric of experience I integrate into the classroom environment.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

The classroom assignment that I feel exemplifies my approach to teaching and mentoring is the History and Analysis of Design. My approach, due to my background in publishing, is to augment the creative abilities inspired by their studies of the history of design. This coupled with my attention to the beauty and an importance of setting a body of text well.

The major project in this course is to design a magazine or zine. The student moves forward with finding a solution for a few double-page spreads and a front and back cover. The motivation, or rather, the inspiration comes from the passion for the genre the student chooses.

An understanding of history is the springboard to creative design and innovation. We cannot truly create the future of design unless we understand the past. Students gain an appreciation for not only images but a solid appreciation of how type is set professionally and the nuances of magazine design.

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

Collaboration from diverse areas of study enriches the learning environment bringing in different views and ideas. Good collaboration is a necessary skill in any work environment. School is the foundation that can stimulate and develop this skill for lifelong success.

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

The most important thing I impart to students for their educational and career success is to acknowledge and develop their creative abilities. Creativity is what corporations are looking for in today’s world, innovation and problem solving are—keys to success. This is a lifelong skill that will serve them across many disciplines and domains—and its development starts now.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Envision your goals, and never give up!