Richard Ybarra

"Listen with your eyes."

Listen with your eyes. Richard Ybarra , Adjunct Faculty, Design , The Art Institute of California—San Diego, a campus of Argosy University

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

I was born with a good eye for design. As a child, I drew on the walls in our home. In high school I progressed to graffiti. While studying art and photography in college, I entered gallery art exhibitions and won a few awards. That’s when I began to consider design as a career. Working in ad agencies and design firms fueled my ambition and creativity, and allowed me to explore other areas of art and design.

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

With 37 years in the advertising/design profession and 25 years of teaching, I bring a lot of creativity and knowledge to the classroom. I draw on all that experience depending on the classroom situation.

How would you describe your approach to teaching and mentoring?

My class projects let students apply their creative skills and talents to corporate branding, typography, and conceptual design. I encourage them to think smart and work smart. I share my passion, knowledge, and wisdom, and help them develop the independent thinking and organizational skills to become more confident and produce better work. The more they learn about themselves, the more creative they become.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

Working as part of a team helps students understand the process of a given project, and also helps them learn to present their work both visually and verbally.

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

Be more aware of what’s happening in the real world. Read at least one daily newspaper to get a better sense of reality. Attend business and social events to improve your networking skills. Find a good mentor, someone who’s walked the path to success. And most of all, listen with your eyes.