Art Institutes

Online Graphic & Web DesignDegree Programs

I'm ready to prove myself.

Nobody has to tell you that visual communication is becoming more and more interactive. And as the lines between graphic design and web design become less defined, employers are starting to look for both graphic designers with interactive skills and web developers with solid design skills. If you’re considering either direction, our Online Graphic & Web Design degree programs are the place to start. We’ll guide you through the fundamentals of visual communications in both disciplines. Then you’ll choose either a print or interactive concentration as you begin to work toward a future where you can do what you love. You’ll be surrounded and inspired by other talented, creatively driven students. And you’ll be and pushed, challenged, and, above all else, supported by experienced faculty* who know what it takes to succeed in the real world.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty & instructors.

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design

Quarter Credit Hours:
180
Timeframe:
15 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes & Requirements

Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design

Outcomes & Requirements

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/198 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

  • Technical: Graduates utilize industry-specific computer software programs to create and present concrete projects demonstrating mastery of technical aspects of prepress, output, and high quality reproduction.
  • Design: Graduates will analyze and incorporate aesthetics and formal concepts of layout and design. This includes spatial relationship; communication legibility and effectiveness; interrelationships among imagery and text; balance; typography; and color theory.
  • Conceptual: Graduates demonstrate design concepts integrating historical and contemporary trends and social context by producing successful visual solutions to assigned problems.
  • Communication: Graduates demonstrate the interdependence of content and visual expression; evaluate and critique their design concept; articulate the vision behind their creative work, and defend their creative solutions.
  • Professional Presentation: Graduates integrate knowledge of industry standards, professional practices and ethics in their work and self-presentation.
Requirements

View Academic Catalog

Associate of Science in Graphic Design

Quarter Credit Hours:
91
Timeframe:
8 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes & Requirements

Associate of Science in Graphic Design

Outcomes & Requirements

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/199 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

  • Technical: Graduates apply skills in industry-specific computer software programs to produce concrete projects
  • Design: Graduates apply aesthetics and formal concepts of layout and design, including spatial relationships; communication effectiveness; interrelationships among imagery and text; balance; typography; and color theory.
  • Communication: Graduates articulate the vision behind their creative work and explain and defend their solutions -Concept: Graduates apply design concepts to produce successful visual solutions to assigned problems.
  • History / Concepts: Students will demonstrate design concepts and relate these to historical and contemporary trends and social context by producing successful visual solutions to assigned problems.
  • Professionalism: Graduates demonstrate an understanding of industry standards, professional practices and ethics in their work and self-presentation.

Requirements

View Academic Catalog

Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Design (MN Residents Only)

Quarter Credit Hours:
95
Timeframe:
8 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes & Requirements

Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Design (MN Residents Only)

Outcomes & Requirements

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/5390 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

  • Technical: Graduates apply skills in industry-specific computer software programs to produce concrete projects
  • Design: Graduates apply aesthetics and formal concepts of layout and design, including spatial relationships; communication effectiveness; interrelationships among imagery and text; balance; typography; and color theory.
  • Communication: Graduates articulate the vision behind their creative work and explain and defend their solutions -Concept: Graduates apply design concepts to produce successful visual solutions to assigned problems.
  • History / Concepts: Students will demonstrate design concepts and relate these to historical and contemporary trends and social context by producing successful visual solutions to assigned problems.
  • Professionalism: Graduates demonstrate an understanding of industry standards, professional practices and ethics in their work and self-presentation.

Requirements

View Academic Catalog

Associate of Science in Graphic Design (PA Residents Only)

Quarter Credit Hours:
92
Timeframe:
4 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes & Requirements

Associate of Science in Graphic Design (PA Residents Only)

Outcomes & Requirements

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/5612 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

  • Technical: Graduates apply skills in industry-specific computer software programs to produce concrete projects
  • Design: Graduates apply aesthetics and formal concepts of layout and design, including spatial relationships; communication effectiveness; interrelationships among imagery and text; balance; typography; and color theory.
  • Communication: Graduates articulate the vision behind their creative work and explain and defend their solutions -Concept: Graduates apply design concepts to produce successful visual solutions to assigned problems.
  • History / Concepts: Students will demonstrate design concepts and relate these to historical and contemporary trends and social context by producing successful visual solutions to assigned problems.
  • Professionalism: Graduates demonstrate an understanding of industry standards, professional practices and ethics in their work and self-presentation.

Requirements

View Academic Catalog

Diploma in Digital Design

Quarter Credit Hours:
36
Timeframe:
4 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes & Requirements

Diploma in Digital Design

Outcomes & Requirements

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/37 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

  • Technical expertise: Demonstrated through proficiency of software, manual skills, and craftsmanship for preparation and presentation of work.
  • Visual and Verbal Communication: Demonstrated through an expressive visual voice, control of form, and relevance to the needs of the client and values of the target audience. Design Professionalism: Displayed in the student’s work through demonstration of insightful background research, and credibility. The work should be error-free with a meaningful hierarchy of visual elements.
  • Theory and Concept: Student’s work demonstrates striking originality. Evidence of knowledge of design trends is thorough and the solving of the design problem is insightful. Graduates will have a basic marketing package and basic portfolio of work, demonstrating the competencies of the curriculum.
  • Form: Student’s work demonstrates applied mastery of application of the formal aspects of graphic design, image making, and typography to the creation of design objects (form) and page compositions.

Requirements

View Academic Catalog

Classroom Experience

I have the talent and the intensity. I just need the tools.

Both graphic design and web design are really about coming up with new approaches to solve problems. So you’ll start with the basics of both in areas like color, illustration, and image manipulation, then explore concept development and implementation courses. After your first year, you’ll choose a concentration. In Graphic Design, you’ll take a more traditional approach, studying product packaging, posters, art direction, and layout design. You’ll work on product packaging, posters, and interactive media, including web page design. You’ll work with professional technology, including image manipulation software and computer-aided design, then progress to art direction and strategies for designing a product, service, or message. If you choose Web Design, you’ll work across media platforms from mobile devices to desktop computers. This is screen-based visual communication involving interactive design and development using industry software, authoring systems and web scripting. You’ll explore emerging technology, work with audio and video, and more. See our gainful employment pages for possible careers that match the program that interests you.

Meet Our Alumni

  • Nicole_Simila

    Nicole Simila

    Digital Photography , 2016

    "[My education] helped me to learn ways to use my camera that I had never thought of, or couldn't seem to teach myself."

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    Nicole Simila

    Self-employed Business Owner and Photographer at EvelynJo Photography

    Nicole Simila is a self-employed business owner and photographer at EvelynJo Photography. She runs her business on nights and weekends, after she completes her full time job. This determination, and her passion for photography, keeps her motivated. “There are going to be times where you feel like you may have failed but keep your head high and you will succeed.”

    She discusses a time when she was shooting weddings—only to realize that it wasn’t what she wanted to be doing. “The stress and worrying that came a long with it wasn't worth the time and effort. I figured out through [my education] that I wanted to mainly focus on working with children.” Today, she says that her studio work with children provides smiles and creates joy for the children’s parents, friends, and family.

    Nicole adds that since she’s completed her education, her photography workload has increased. She attributes this to the confidence she’s gained as a photographer.

    “My hard work and determination throughout school helped me to succeed and learn so much more than I had known before.” She says that she always has room to grow and seeks out tips and tricks to add to her repertoire.

    Nicole, who in 2016 earned an Associate of Science in Photography from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh—Online Division, says that her education helped her to learn about studio lighting and camera operations. “It helped me to learn ways to use my camera that I had never thought of, or couldn't seem to teach myself.”

    See aiprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...
  • William_Douglas

    William Douglas

    Digital Photography , 2015

    "I try to encourage others to express their creativity and think outside the box."

    Read More
    William Douglas

    Spent 10 years in the United States Army as an 11B/4 sniper

    William Douglas spent 10 years in United States Army as an 11B/4 sniper. “I served during Operation Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and Operation Just Cause and was honorably discharged as Staff Sargent,” he says. Today, he is the owner of Liam Photography in Atlanta, Georgia. He takes professional, editorial, portrait, and drone photos. And recently he was honored to have one of his my photos selected by National Geographic to be the on the cover of its newest book on “Big Cats.”

    William says that one of the biggest challenges he faced as a photographer was giving models instructions for poses. “I was able to overcome this by shooting friends and family members and working with some of the members of my photography club. I learned to be more of a leader when directing shoots. I try to encourage others to express their creativity and think outside the box.”

    He recommends that current students build their professional connections and experience through networking and reading photography blogs and articles. “I spend a lot of time on sites like SLR Lounge reading articles and blog posts,” he adds.

    William, who in 2015 earned an Associate of Science in Photography from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh—Online Division, says that his education provided a strong foundation for his career. But he adds that being a photographer requires constant learning. “You cannot just graduate and think you will immediately make money as a photographer. It takes, time, patience, and networking—a lot.”

    See http://aiprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...
  • VisualDesign

    Jeffrey Siereveld

    Web Design & Interactive Media , 2014

    "My education taught me the basic fundamentals of web design and interactive media, [including] the ability to read and manipulate it to get the results I am looking for."

    Read More
    Jeffrey Siereveld

    Freelance Website Designer

    Jeffrey Siereveld is a freelance designer specializing in WordPress websites. He says that a typical day involves building sites or adjusting the layout of an already-existing website. “I spend a lot of time researching the industry. Whether that is testing WordPress themes or researching a niche for my next big idea, there's always something to do.”

    Before becoming a freelancer, Jeffrey was a web design intern for Blizzard Internet Marketing, creating sites for the vacation rental, travel, and tourism industry. He understands the competitive nature of his industry and recommends that students find ways to break up their days increase productivity. “It will help you to keep moving forward when the going gets tough.”

    Jeffrey says that the biggest professional challenge he’s encountered is making the decision to become a professional freelancer. “The agency I worked for told me it was going to

    He adds that he finds clients via word of mouth—saying they are better to work with and often pay more than those found on freelancer websites. Jeffrey says that designers need to understand that everyone must pay their dues as they make their way up the ladder. “There’s a good chance that you will have to take jobs that pay less than you expect. But until your professional portfolio is built out enough to attract or persuade people that don't know anything about you, it will be really hard to charge $100 per hour or more than $1,000 for a simple website. Eventually you will get there.”

    He cites a quote by Eric Thomas as being motivational: ”When you want to succeed, as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.” And he keeps creativity flowing by maintaining a clean and organized workspace. “It's so easy for me to work late into the night and have empty cans or water bottles on or around my desk before I step over to my bed and fall asleep. So keeping my work area clean and organized definitely impacts my creativity.”

    Jeffrey states that his roommate is also a mentor. “My roommate is an search engine optimization (SEO) expert who has been working in this industry for about four years longer than I have. He’s created his own company that has been growing every day and he doesn't have any employees. Just seeing what he is doing, and learning about SEO from him, has given me the desire to create a company of my own and not give up on it.”

    He believes that his biggest challenge is the continually changing industry. He keeps growing and learning to keep ahead of trends. Jeffrey, who in 2014 earned an Associate of Science in Web Design & Interactive Media from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh—Online Division, says that his education provided the fundamentals he needed to move into a web design career. “The knowledge of HTML and CSS, and the ability to read an manipulate it to get the results I am looking for, have been a huge help.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/202 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...
  • FilmProd

    Pocco Roberts

    Digital Photography , 2014

    "Without [gaining educational experience] in camera settings, understanding light, networking, the use of Photoshop/Lightroom, and how to run a photography business, I would never have been able to live my dream of being an artist."

    Read More
    Pocco Roberts
    Owner and Lead Photographer at PSR Images

    Pocco Roberts is the owner and lead photographer at PSR Images in Turner, Maine. He says that a typical day involves setting up photo shoots, working on current photos, and selling artwork through my website. He’s also a United States Army veteran who earned the rank of Sergeant.

    Pocco says that he enjoys a career where he’s able to create. And he recommends that current students be patient during classwork that may appear to be repetitive. ”I remember taking several classes that seemed to have little to do with the genre of photography that I was interested in. However, if you give it your very best, you will walk away with something that makes your photography better.”

    He is often challenged in his work and says that patience, determination, and asking for help when it’s needed has helped him to overcome obstacles. “Be smart, research, learn, and move to a new location if you must. But if your dream is to be an artist, and it is your passion, then nothing will get in your way.” He’s always striving to evolve and believes that “if your art is the best it can be, then it is time for a new career.”

    Pocco enjoys challenging himself and uses his art to take on social issues. He also marks the passage of time through visual statements. “Remember, art doesn't need approval, it just needs inspiration.” Today, he experiences the benefits of his hard would through networking and making new friends, a steady paycheck, and a positive reputation among his friends.

    Pocco, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Science in Photography from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh—Online Division, says that his education taught him proper camera settings, lighting techniques, networking, use of Photoshop/Lightroom, and how to run a photography business. [Without that foundation], I would never have been able to live my dream of being an artist.”

    See aiprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...

What Will I Study?

Study Section

I'm a visual problem solver. Let's get started.

The curriculum for each concentration is hands-on, rigorous, and well-rounded. It was designed by experienced industry and education innovators to emphasize the skills you’ll need to start your career. Beginning with common classes, then exploring concentration-specific areas, you'll study:

SHARED COURSES:
  • Color & Design Fundamentals
  • Image Manipulation
  • Traditional Typography
  • Layout & Concept Design
  • Web Page Scripting
  • Digital Illustration
  • Interactive Motion Graphics
GRAPHIC DESIGN CONCENTRATION:
  • Advertising Concepts
  • Form and Space, including Advanced Layout Design
  • Package Design
  • Business of Graphic Design
  • Publication Design
  • Art Direction
WEB DESIGN CONCENTRATION:
  • Information Architecture
  • Interface Design
  • Audio & Video
  • Design for Mobile Devices & Emerging Technologies
  • Web Page Design


I'm looking for my proving ground.

At The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division, creativity is our core, our calling, our culture. Our Online Graphic & Web Design School is built on that creative foundation. It’s also built on our knowledge that a creative career is not for the faint of heart. Because it’s tough out there, it’s tough in here. But we temper the tough with the support you need to make your creativity marketable. We provide the mentoring and real-world experience you need to prevail, with faculty* who’ve worked in the field and internship possibilities at successful businesses. Here, you’ll be encouraged and expected to be bold. To take risks. To push yourself and the people around you. So if your heart is telling you that you belong in a creative field, you belong here. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever love.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty & instructors.

 

Meet Our Faculty

  • Gaye Warren, Ed. D.

    Gaye Warren, Ed. D

    Hospitality Food & Beverage Management

    "Be persistent, be willing to embrace change, and be a team player."

    Read More
    Gaye Warren, Ed. D

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

    As far back as I can remember, I was cooking in the kitchen with my mom. I made my first pie with a lattice top at age six. For me, a commercial kitchen is like home. There’s nothing better then serving guests a wonderful meal.

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

    The hospitality industry is an environment of creative chaos where you learn by doing. Sharing my professional and work experience not only gives students a glimpse of what they can expect in the industry, it’s also their chance to learn from successes and failures.

    How would you describe your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    The best way to inspire students is to provide encouragement and supportive feedback, and be enthusiastic and passionate about the topic and the industry. The more personable and engaging you are as an instructor, the more students will ask questions, participate in the discussion, demonstrate a willingness to complete the assignments, and enjoy the course.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    Students appreciate the opportunity to review their peers’ project work. The feedback they gain enhances the creative process and helps generate new ideas.

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

    Be persistent, be willing to embrace change, and be a team player.

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

    The hospitality industry can bring hard work, long hours, and crazy schedules. But it can also be incredibly rewarding and a ton of fun.

    Read More...
  • Gazelle Samizay

    Gazelle Samizay

    Digital Photography

    "Try your best, and have confidence in your voice."

    Read More
    Gazelle Samizay

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

    I knew I was an artist when I was three, and I always gravitated toward the craft projects in preschool.

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

    I teach practices common in the workplace to make sure my students are able to write professionally and express their ideas visually through the art of photography.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I respect the energy and money students have committed to their education. And students can see that respect in how I hold them to professional standards and encourage them to do their best. I offer individual feedback to help each student improve their work according to their own abilities. I also consistently provide outside learning resources to support their efforts.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    Student collaboration typically happens in the form of peer feedback. I remind students that their voices and opinions matter—and make a difference to other students.

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

    Try your best, and have confidence in your voice.

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

    Don’t give up on yourself, and work your hardest.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    It’s important to me that students not only build their creative skills in photography, but also learn critical thinking skills they can apply to their own lives.

    Read More...
  • Emadene Travers

    Emadene Travers

    Culinary Management

    "Always be professional."

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

    As an attorney. I discuss relevant legal principles as they apply to the hospitality industry. This is actually a multi-disciplinary approach that also includes marketing and management. There are a lot of legal considerations with respect to hotel and restaurant operations. The industry faces legal challenges every day, so I try to prepare students for that.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    There’s an assignment in Culinary 327 where students research an article on a technology topic. I provide the topics, which change from time to time; they’re timely and relevant, and represent cutting-edge concerns like big data, Cloud computing, and the Internet of things. It’s one of my favorite assignments because it makes students think about things they might not have been exposed to otherwise.

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

    A sense of personal responsibility, punctuality, and thoroughness in all their course work.

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


    Always be professional. Do your best, keep learning, keep trying, and have an open mind. Read More...
  • Erikk Ross

    Erikk Ross

    Web Design & Interactive Media

    "Never stop growing, never stop learning."

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    Erikk Ross

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

    My father encouraged my brother and me to use the household computer when we were growing up. He taught me how to use the boot settings and memory configuration to install and play video games. That sparked my growing interest in programming and design.In high school, I took a media arts class and started to use Photoshop and Illustrator to create digital art. I enrolled at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, where I combined my love for computers and my interest in digital media to launch my career as a web developer.

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

    I manage a small team focused on web development, database administration, and geographic information systems administration for Lake County, Florida. We build advanced web applications that help streamline processes. My team recently finished a web-based application that tracks sales tax revenue. That’s one example of the real-world experiences I share with my students. I stay up to date on the latest trends in web design and development to help prepare them for what’s coming next.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I’ve had the opportunity to write several classes in the Graphic & Web Design program area, including Introduction to Programming. Many students are a bit leery of the word “programming,” but they relax once they see how the material is set up for their success. Through guided exercises and detailed lectures, they’re are introduced to basic programming concepts via lectures, guided walkthroughs, or video tutorials. 

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    That’s the way most companies and workplaces operate, so we make sure that students from various disciplines work with each other on a range of assignments and projects. This experience of leaning on each other adds value to their education and helps prepare them for the real world.

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

    With confidence in your work and the drive to do more, and you’ll succeed.

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

    Job offers rarely come to you, so put yourself and your work out there. Have a professional online portfolio and resume. Never stop growing, never stop learning.

    Read More...
  • Gabi Etenberg

    Gabi Etenberg

    Digital Photography

    "Believe in yourself and in your work."

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    Gabi Etenberg

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

    At age 13, after reading Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, I felt inspired to create visual artwork.

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

    I use the experience I’ve accumulated in my career to introduce real-life situations and construct scenarios that students can relate to as they begin to understand and anticipate their future as graduates and professionals. My feedback always includes tips, suggestions, and guidance to give them a broader perspective on the real world.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    Sometimes students are shy about working with life models for portraiture, or hesitant to put themselves in “director mode” in setting up a photo session. I make sure to guide them through the process and help them start to feel comfortable with the role.

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

    Perseverance, patience, and professionalism.

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

    Believe in yourself and in your work—and in the value of your degree and the things you’ve learned.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I get enormous satisfaction from being able to help my students achieve their goals.

    Read More...
  • Effi Karakaidos, MFA

    Effi Karakaidos, MFA

    Digital Photography

    "Never stop learning."

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    Effi Karakaidos, MFA

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

    It was being one of only a handful of high school students (out of more than 2000) invited to join the advanced placement art class.

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

    I incorporate my professional background and experience into the coursework every day. The importance of deadlines, developing a distinct personal voice and style, and the ability to adapt to various situations are among the skills I work to instill in my students.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    When teaching portfolio courses, I ask students to assemble their very best work. I help these emerging photographers identify their strengths and weaknesses so they can put their best foot forward when launching their professional careers.

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

    Working with other creatives plays a large role in student and professional success. As internship coordinator for the Photography program, I’m able to guide interns through collaborative, real-world ventures with their employers.

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

    Never stop learning.

    Read More...
  • VisualDesign

    Dr. Natalie Hruska

    Graphic & Web Design

    "It's all about the journey and where you end up... which might not be what you had in mind."

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    Dr. Natalie Hruska

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

    I’d had a variety of jobs—from landscaper to data entry to tour guide. But I always knew I had a creative energy that couldn’t be quelled. Some bosses were kind enough to let me use my artistic side on occasion, but I always knew I needed more.

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


    I don’t promise students anything. It’s all about the journey and where you end up—which might not be what you had in mind. I tell them to spend time volunteering in their industry. The benefits are enormous—you add references, gain skills, grow your network, and open doors to new and unexpected opportunities.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I like the first assignments in every class, where students have to come up with an idea for their projects. There‘s so much competition online now, and a world of opportunity to do something better, find a niche market, and beat that competition. So I encourage students to think of something completely unique—a website, app, kiosk, animation, something nobody’s ever done. It makes the project more about the student than just getting a grade.

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

    When students work as part of a team, they get valuable experience before they enter the real world. Working on a project team as a designer, developer, project manager, or any other role lets them test the waters without having to commit for the long term. I’ve led a few special projects classes, and when it works—when you have a good team—it’s magical.

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

    I ask students to think back to when they were kids...when every summer day was a story waiting to happen. I think work, school, and life should still feel that way...have the same passion and excitement. When I ask students to think about their project ideas, I share this quote...

    "The gladdest moment in human life, methinks, is a departure into unknown lands. The blood flows with the fast circulation of childhood."

    —Sir Richard Burton

    Read More...
  • Ashley Fessler

    Ashley Fessler

    Graphic & Web Design

    "Be an independent problem solver."

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    Ashley Fessler

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

    I got into design because my seventh grade band teacher told my mom that I was tone deaf. He also said that he always saw me doodling...so I should switch to art. My parents sold my clarinet and set me on a more creative path.

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

    I draw on my 20+ years of experience to make the learning as real as possible. I own a freelance design company, where I’m responsible for the entire the creative process—finding work, negotiating contracts, day-to-day client interaction, and designing. I share my design work with students, ask them to think about where they see themselves in the field, and urge them to start thinking in terms of how design is more than just creating pieces—it’s a business.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I love teaching Identity Design. It’s a wonderful project where students create a logo design for a client, from start to finish. The client is a small business of their choosing, in their area. They get a chance to see a project through from start to finish and experience reaching out to clients. It’s a real eye-opener for them, and I love watching them gain confidence in themselves as designers.

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

    Designers typically work with copywriters, editors, back-end web and technology specialists, illustrators, and other professionals. Very rarely can designers work through a project without the help of others. I make sure my students understand that early on.

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

    Be an independent problem solver. I still come across challenges and problems with every project I take on. It’ll be up to you as the designer to navigate those challenges and solve those problems.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    Not every student has the same goals. I try to help them figure out where they see themselves, gain confidence in their creative decisions, and take ownership of their path to success.

    Read More...
  • Karen Chapman

    Karen Chapman

    Advertising

    "Every project is a chance to showcase your ability."

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    Karen Chapman

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

    I’ve been passionate about art and creativity from a very young age. When I was approaching college, I realized I advertising was a field where I could put my creativity on display every day.

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

    I share my own industry experiences, current trends, changes in communication, and other developments with students. Sharing all this with students helps broaden their perspectives.

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

    In my Advertising Copywriting course, students create written content for radio, print, and TV. As they review current media trends, conduct client research, and examine their target audience, I challenge students to go beyond their initial ideas and take their thinking the next level. Sometimes students surprise themselves with a level of creativity they didn’t know they had.

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

    Always strive for your best work. Every project is a chance to showcase your ability.

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

    This field is very competitive. If you fail to meet the client's expectations, there are 20 people waiting for their chance.

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  • Krista Atkins Nutter

    Krista Atkins Nutter, LEED AP, MS Arch, NCIDQ

    Interior Design

    "In the interior design profession, deadlines aren't negotiable."

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    Krista Atkins Nutter, LEED AP, MS Arch, NCIDQ

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

    I’ve been creative all my life, whether through music, theater, fine arts, or design.

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


    I use examples from my professional career to reinforce and supplement classroom discussion. I tend to teach courses that closely align with my professional experience, such as Sustainable Design.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?


    I’m particularly proud of an assignment I wrote for INTA312 Global Design, where students design a prototype for a temporary/mobile refugee shelter. I believe in volunteerism and community service, so I was happy to see that included in our curriculum.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    Teamwork is paramount to interior designers, who work with engineers, architects, vendors, contractors, and skilled tradespeople. In sustainable design especially, integrated design teams are essential in ensuring that the design meets energy efficiency and performance criteria.

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


    Organizational skills, punctuality, and meeting deadlines may seem like just a list of soft skills to add to a resume. But in the interior design profession, deadlines aren’t negotiable. Not meeting a deadline could cost commercial clients thousands of dollars in lost revenue. That’s why I stress the importance of building good, professional habits now.

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  • Joseph Podlesnik

    Joseph Podlesnik

    Graphic & Web Design

    "The online classroom is a kind of visual laboratory."

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    Joseph Podlesnik

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

    My interest in making art came about as a gradual building of life experiences.

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

    I post samples of my design work and photography online for students to look over, along with my bio and website, which includes my photo books and exhibition record. It’s a way for them to become familiar with my work and perhaps inspire them to consider possibilities for their own careers.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    In my drawing, color theory, and design assignments, the online classroom is a kind of visual laboratory where we hash things out, ask questions, work on problems, and make discoveries.

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

    Along with learning marketable art skills, I want students to transcend themselves in whatever field they work. Whether they go on to become educators or pursue other areas in the arts, I hope they experience that transcendence through art, while serving others.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I see photography as commenting on perception itself, rather than serving as documentation.

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The Art Institute of Virginia Beach, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta alumni Harlen Capen Photography is an extremely fast-paced career when it comes to new technology. Harlen Capen
Digital Photography, The Art Institute of Virginia Beach, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta, 2015