The Impact of Teaching Graphic Design

About 5 years ago, I started teaching graphic design at a community college in northern New Jersey. I never realized what an impact it would have on, not just my graphic design, but also on my life. I have taught classes in everything from typography to history of graphic design.

When you teach, you must know your subject inside out. I thought I knew a lot about the history of graphic design. Wow did I have much to learn. In teaching, I began learning. I have a new wealth of imagery, philosophy and ideas that populate my projects. I am a better designer for it.

You also must accept the fact that many of your college-age students are going to be better than you at software and technology. They have a decided generational advantage. So here is another place where the teacher learns from the student.

But there are so many other ways that my students have taught me, not just in graphic design, but in life. I was definitely an impatient person before I began teaching. And now I am much more patient. (Ask my adult children and my husband; they will reluctantly agree). Not that some students don’t push the limits, they do. However, I am there to teach them to think like graphic designers and to push them to whatever their limits are. I am not there to judge their political views, interests or lifestyles.

In the past 4 years I have been teaching at FDU (Fairleigh Dickinson University). See below my  Creative Concept Drawing students sitting with an exhibit of their Earth Day posters. The students start by sketching their ideas for a project, and when they have decided on a design solution, they go to the computer to create a final product.

I love teaching. It feels like I am giving back to my graphic design community. Teaching has given me the ability to make a small impact on the young graphic designers of the future.