Art Institutes

Visual Design

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Your vision, realized.

Design is more than art for art’s sake. It grabs attention, tells a story, persuades, and inspires action. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to learn how to make design work hard.

Program Areas

Design & Technical Graphics Programs

Design & Technical Graphics

Brittaney Sutton

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Media Arts & Animation, Media Arts & Animation , 2016

The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston

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Calling creative thinkers who can develop visual simulations using CAD, 2D and 3D digital imaging, technical illustrations, and business graphics.

Graphic & Web Design Programs

Graphic & Web Design

Prepare to become a graphic designer with interactive skills or a web developer with design skills. You can learn the basics and then choose a graphic design or web design concentration.

Web Design Interactive Media Program

Web Design & Interactive Media

You can develop the creative and technical skills to design content for traditional and mobile web devices, including responsive websites, mobile apps, and e-books.

Meet our Faculty

  • Amina Patton

    Amina Patton

    Graphic & Web Design

    Don't be afraid to ask.

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    Amina Patton

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

    In my sophomore year, my original pieces were featured heavily in my high school’s literary magazine. The recognition I got was uncommon for a sophomore, and it sparked my pursuit of a creative career. But it was the experience of designing the publication that inspired me to focus on graphic design.

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

    Students can have a hard time seeing the big picture, so as often as possible, I pass along anecdotes from my professional career to put assignments in a real-world context. I also share resources, tips, and tools that were crucial to me in the field— everything from client management to ideation tools to presentation advice.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    In my Capstone class, students design a public health campaign. It reflects my background in healthcare as well as my approach in the classroom. I push students to research and design interventions for real-world issues. Often they pick issues that mean something to them personally...they become deeply invested, empathetic to their audience, and more thoughtful in their design choices.

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

    We don’t design in a vacuum, so learning how to communicate and work with others is crucial. Breaking boundaries across disciplines helps students learn from each other and practice the communication skills they’ll need in their professional lives.

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

    Asking questions can help bring new ideas to life, break down barriers, and open up lines of communication. Don’t be afraid to ask.

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  • David Rodriguez HS Color

    David Roland Rodriguez

    Graphic & Web Design

    "Critiques throughout the design process allow students to see and look beyond the usual answers."

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    David Roland Rodriguez
    What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    The defining moment in my life that pushed me towards a creative field was when I was given the opportunity to help paint a wall during my high school year. This was for the 1991 Festival of the Arts in Oklahoma City. My high school was one of the schools that were selected to “restore” an abandoned building wall. The opportunity to tell a visual story that helped create a boundary and a focal point allowed people to see the wall as a canvas versus a “tagged” wall.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?

    During the day I am a Graphic & Web Designer, so being an Adjunct Faculty for the Graphic & Web Design program I bring a vast amount of experience to our students. Using real-world projects helps students not only understand fundamentals, but also deal with time constraints and production issues. Not only focusing on how the project looks on computer, but how does it look as a finished piece.  To understand that not only is the overall design important, but how the final piece is produced. How does the finished piece feel in your hands; was the right paper chosen, should we have used a spot varnish, why is my paper cracking on the folds and I did not see this during the press check. By simply introducing & discussing these topics in class helps students understand the challenges in the field.

    Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

    In my digital imaging class, projects are not only centered on building their skills within the program. They help student’s explore visual solutions to the project. Critiques throughout the design process allow students to see and look beyond the usual answers.  Thus, allowing for creative freedom to explore and develop a unique solution for their projects.

    What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?

    Collaboration helps students feed of each other’s ideas and knowledge. Allowing a vast amount of communication amongst the students within different disciplines helps them verbalize their ideas. This brings about a level of refinement within their designs.  

    In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?


    That everything design has potential. Yet, you need to push yourself out of the mold to create visually stunning pieces, because your competition is sitting right next you.
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  • Arnette Portrait

    Jacquenette Arnette

    Graphic & Web Design

    "Keep EVERYTHING! You need an extensive portfolio and you are your own best archivist."

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    Jacquenette Arnette
    What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I have always worked with my hands, from a very young age I had two passions; Music and Art.  I never understood that my enjoyment of weaving, stained glass, pinhole photography and many other more craft oriented ventures would lead to contemporary art.  In music, I loved the technicality and musicianship of playing, but I never felt like a could innovate at it.  In art, I felt the freedom to express my viewpoints and communicate in a way that I never could with music.  

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?

    I think being current in the field of art also keeps me current with trends and conversations happening currently.  Additionally, my varied work experiences and   have given me a unique perspective on what it takes to be successful in a creative career.  This is valuable to a student.
     
    Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

    I love to use current events and push the students to identify with their own unique viewpoints and perspectives and work on how to explain this to a broader audience.  One assignment that uses this example is in Image Manipulation, I ask the students to express the true meaning of an advertisement and create a message that is important to them.  It can be humorous to serious but connecting their personal stake in something they work on really does give them that seriousness about what they are doing in the classroom.

    What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?

    Unique perspectives!  All of us have to work with a multitude of different people in all of our professions and in school it is easy to use this as a micro-chasm of the real world.    How do we best work with those of different experiences and perspectives.
     
    In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

    Top 3 rules for being successful in a creative career.

    1) In creative careers, you also need to be creative with your income!  Think outside the box on how you are going to support this possibly un-supportive career you have chosen.  

    2) Keep EVERYTHING!  You need an extensive portfolio and you are your own best archivist.  No matter how small the job or the paycheck it proves a history of work and shows your commitment.  

    3) Never stop learning, never stop meeting!  So, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, socialize or work with the same people always push yourself to meet new people learn new perspectives and learn new techniques.  You can never learn too much or know too many people in the creative fields.


    Is there anything else you'd like us to know about you, your experience, or your role as a faculty member at The Art Institutes?

    I have been a working artist all around the world from 2000 to today.  From Australia, the Caribbean, Europe and across America I am a living example of the struggle and success that my students are about to embark on and I am happy to help them in their journey.

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  • Kenny Lantz

    Kenny Lantz

    Design & Technical Graphics

    "Stay humble—there's always more to learn."

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    Kenny Lantz

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

    I always had an interest in many different things, and fine arts was the only way I figured out how to do all of them. Once I decided on a career doing something I love, the direction was easy—though the path was a difficult one.

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

    As a professional artist, my experience is one of constant problem-solving. In my opinion, the skills needed to succeed at anything in life are the same: problem-solving and communication. Another important skill I emphasize is working through a design process. I share my own process with students, and demonstrate how it helps me solve design challenges.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    One of my favorite assignments is all about process and discovery. In my advanced drawing class, we build a sketchbook from a single sheet of paper, by hand. We cut, fold, and sew-bind it. Students then pick a theme, and every drawing in that book must fit that theme. It’s very rewarding for the students to create a book that they’ve spent so much time on...they can really see the progression of thoughts and ideas.

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

    I’ve taught a lot of art foundation courses, which bring together students from across disciplines. It’s awesome to see how different programs tackle the same project. For instance, an animation student is way different in their approach than an interior design student. When we critique, the various students always bring a fresh set of ideas for all of us to think about.

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

    The most important part of my teaching philosophy—and the skill I want to impart on all my students—is the ability to problem-solve. It will get them through school and through life.

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

    You need to stay humble—there’s always more to learn. Anyone who thinks they’re finished learning and knows all there is to know can only begin to forget.

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  • Nancy Wood HS

    Nancy Wood

    Graphic & Web Design

    "I always encourage students to try different approaches to any project and to not be content with just one solution."

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    Nancy Wood
    What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    Growing up I designed and sewed my own clothes and clothes for my dolls. In college I expected to major in costume design but the major required basic drawing and painting courses. In my first oil painting class at UCLA I fell in love with oil painting- manipulating colors and shapes and the aroma of linseed oil.The professor held up my work as an example for the class and I was advised to change my major to Studio Art.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?


    I worked in the printing industry during the 1970’s. I made darkroom negatives, did “stripping” (press layout) and made metal plates for the presses. I even learned to run a few presses. What I learned about printing and darkroom methods transfers to current tools in Photoshop and Illustrator. In the darkroom I made half tone negatives, did dodge, and burn by hand and made negatives and plates for four color process printing.

    In the 1990’s I worked freelance making simple animations and designs to be printed on advertising specialty products. I used Photoshop beginning with version 2 to make photo composites for clients. I learned HTML and used the first versions of Dreamweaver and Flash to make websites for clients. I was the technical reviewer for several software books published by Coriolis publishing. Because I enjoy learning new software and technology I was able to move between different industries to pursue opportunities.

    During the early 21st century I was involved with ACM SIGGRAPH and had the opportunity to meet leaders in computer graphics fields. I served on the committee for the 2002 SIGGRAPH conference in San Antonio and met amazing professionals, including one who produced Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video and did special effects for Lord of the Rings, and a computer scientist who helped develop raster graphics. It was a great opportunity to hear firsthand about their creative processes.


    More recently I experimented with 3D learning games and was Associate Producer for an experimental business game in Second Life and Moodle. I earned a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with concentration in Educational Technology so I could develop learning materials with a deeper understanding of how people learn using technology.

    I tell students that in the creative design industry they will always be learning new techniques and they will be valuable if they are flexible and can solve problems.

    Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

    When students create a good design- I recommend that they try two more versions. Often when a student creates a good first effort- if they try 2 or 3 more versions their next efforts will be outstanding! I always encourage students to try different approaches to any project and to not be content with just one solution. Versatility and the ability to work with different media and styles is key to being a successful designer.

    In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

    I tell students that in the creative design industry they will always be learning new techniques and they will be valuable if they are flexible and can solve problems. Lifelong learning is key for any creative design field.

    Is there anything else you'd like us to know about you, your experience, or your role as a faculty member at The Art Institutes?

    I received my B.A. and M.F.A. in Fine Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles and my Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with concentration in Educational Technology from Texas A & M University, College Station.

    My digital artworks have been included in more than 100 exhibitions around the world including the Museum of Modern Art New York’s “Museum as Muse” online exhibition “The Petersburg Biennale of Computer Graphics” in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the 2015 International Conference of Computer Graphics, Imaging and Visualization at the University of Barcelona, Spain. I’ve developed courses in visual design for colleges and universities and made presentations at national conferences including the 2014 National Art Education Association conference and the 2015 College Art Association conference in New York. 

    I taught 2D animation at The Art Institute of Houston for two years, was a full-time faculty member at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh—Online Division for ten years and currently I am teaching adjunct online and for The Art Institute of San Antonio. I always enjoy working with Art Institutes learners because they are sooooo creative!


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  • Rich Loke

    Rich Loke

    Web Design & Interactive Media

    "Don’t be afraid to explore, even if it’s not your most comfortable zone."

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    Rich Loke

    What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I have always been drawn to creative things my whole life. But I have never seriously thought about a career in creative arts until 1996 when I discovered something called web design, where design meets technology. I knew right then this would be my life work.


    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?

    I often infuse in my class instructions with a blend of theories and real-world applications. I share with students my own personal experiences from working in the industry as well as class projects that simulate a real client/designer/developer scenario in a studio setting. In addition, I also bring in monthly industry workshops to campus so students get a chance to hear from professionals, not just from instructors. I also collaborate with career services quarterly organizing field trips to design studios and agencies. Students appreciate it because not only do they get to understand what employers expect of them but also an opportunity for them to network.

    Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

    Many web projects require brainstorming sessions in multi stages. So for every session each student is required, for example, to post their ideas on the wall for class discussions as if they are actually in the design studio. This not only helps them to gain confidence in talking about their work out loud but also learn to accept criticism and challenge themselves to become a better designer.

    What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?

    When students collaborate as a team in a class project, they take on roles that are actually in a studio or agency setting. The great thing about this is they get to exercise the responsibilities in the roles they played. So no matter what program a student may come from, there will be a role they can play because each has something they can bring to the table. My job is to ensure each team is well balanced so that students have an enjoyable experience while learning to work with others, coordinate workflow, follow directives, problem solving and, most importantly, meeting deadlines.

    In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

    We have a lot of talented students at The Art Institute of San Antonio. My advice is to keep challenging yourself no matter how talented you are. Don’t be afraid to explore, even if it’s not your most comfortable zone. I truly believe talent shouldn’t just stop there. It should be encouraged to grow and explore.

    Is there anything else you'd like us to know about you, your experience, or your role as a faculty member at The Art Institutes?

    If I can inspire students to be what they hope to become during their journey at The Art Institute of San Antonio my role is fulfilled as a faculty member.  It is amazing to watch them grow after they leave the college in their careers.


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  • Scott Cooper

    Scott Cooper

    Graphic & Web Design

    "Your education doesn't stop when you graduate—it's just the beginning of another level of learning."

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    Scott Cooper

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

    I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. When I met my wife, she encouraged me to consider the computer as another tool in my drawing kit. I began learning digital graphic design, which blossomed into a creative career I never imagined. I think of myself as a Renaissance artist, since I work in both traditional and digital mediums.

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

    I recreate some of my early projects as classroom challenges. I encourage students to find a way to make the project work, and then explain how I approached the challenge. I ask them to bring any freelance projects they’re working on into the classroom to present to their classmates, and share any fresh challenges they come across. The more real-world we can make the learning, the better.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I present assignments as though they’ve come from real clients, and it’s up to my students to interact with those clients to establish the project parameters. Sometimes I arrange to have actual, real-world clients come to class to make the assignment as real as possible. They get the actual experience of dealing with the demands, needs, and vagaries of the real world. For example, recently a representative of the Kirby Animal Shelter met with students to explain the shelter’s need for new signage. Each student submitted designs, which were reviewed by to the Kirby City Council. If one is approved, that student will have a professional portfolio piece—and an actual client they can include on their resumé. And they’ll have made a contribution to the community.

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


    I try to have students from various departments work together as often as possible, because I think that helps prepare students for whatever challenges they may encounter in the workplace. Learning to work with different disciplines is critical for any successful career.

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

    I stress the importance of time management, as well as communication with the client. Also, I want them to understand that design is for the client, not for the designer.

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

    Your education doesn’t stop when you graduate—it’s just the beginning of another level of learning. Keep up to date with software, techniques, design trends. Keep your portfolio and website updated with current work. And socialize and network like crazy.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I never rest on my laurels. I practice every day, and continue my education even now. I’m in school again myself, working on my second MFA, this one in Web Design and New Media with a concentration in mobile device applications.

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