Daniel Hanners

Graphic & Web Design

Graphic Design Instructor
The Illinois Institute of Art — Schaumburg

Graphic Design Instructor Daniel Hanners

This is a lifelong learning journey. You have to continually experience new things, learn from other people, and observe what's happening in the world around you. Daniel Hanners , Graphic Design Instructor
, The Illinois Institute of Art — Schaumburg

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

I took a graphics technology in class in high school, and when I completed the entire production process—not only generate the design on the computer, but take it into the darkroom, on to press plates, and eventually print it myself, I knew I wanted to pursue design as a career.

Can you describe your teaching philosophy?

I try to offer a well-rounded class to provide a framework around which students can grow their experiences and develop intuition. I work to help motivate young designers to continue to grow and evolve—and develop their own identities. This is a lifelong learning journey. You have to continually experience new things, learn from other people, and observe what’s happening in the world around you.

Can you share an example of your approach to teaching and mentoring?

For students to compete in the business world, they have to become creative problem-solvers. I assign projects that are rich in design methods to encourage students to develop a problem-solving process. Many students find themselves on unexpected paths. The project leads the students to new thought processes, and you can see them developing as young professionals. To be a part of mentoring that process and watching students grow, there’s no greater excitement in the world.

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

Collaborative assignments are opportunities for students to work closely with peers from other disciplines. They apply their various skills and knowledge toward a common goal, sharing in the team’s success, learning from other students, and taking leadership in their own area of expertise.

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

It takes real motivation and dedication to the profession to succeed. I tell my students to think of themselves as junior professionals. Be persistent at being the best they can be, and to take advantage of every opportunity to gain support from their peers.

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

Take every opportunity to go to conventions, lectures, special workshops, and events in your profession. Find a mentor and start creating a professional network of people who can support you.