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Art Institutes

Visual Design

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

Graphic Web Design student at the Art Institute of Austin

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.

Meet our Faculty

  • "In fields like sound design, electronic music, and audio post, the only constant is change."

    Adam Fangsrud

    Audio Production

    "In fields like sound design, electronic music, and audio post, the only constant is change."

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    Adam Fangsrud

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

    When I wrote and directed my first short film, the most satisfying parts of the process were working on the sound design and composing the music score. That’s when I turned my focus to sound—and I haven't looked back since.

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

    In fields like sound design, electronic music and audio post, the only constant is change. I’m as enthusiastic about learning as I am about teaching. And because I continue to work on real-world projects and keep current on all the technological developments, I’m able to make sure my students are ready to produce quality mixes to the latest specs.

    How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?

    I always encourage my students to break out of their comfort zones, whether that means mixing a genre of music they're unfamiliar with, or working in an audio discipline they didn't even know existed. Pushing themselves to broaden their interests and perspectives helps beginner students evolve into well-rounded graduates.

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

    Collaboration is critical to audio post-production and sound design. When Audio Production students work with Digital Video & Film Production students on a film project, for example, the results are usually head and shoulders above the quality of projects that don’t involve that kind of teamwork.

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

    It's not enough to just have passion, and it's not enough to just have drive. Students who excel are both passionate about their art and driven to take the concrete steps to realize their aspirations.

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  • "The way to launch your career is by showing your work to anyone in the business who

    Meg Mulloy

    Digital Photography

    "The way to launch your career is by showing your work to anyone in the business who'll take the time to look."

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    Meg Mulloy

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

    I studied in Spain for a semester, and I think being abroad at that point in my life inspired my passion for capturing places, people, moments, and light.

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

    Every freelance photography assignment I complete adds depth to my knowledge and experience, because each one presents new challenges and interactions. I always share stories about projects—and the tips and techniques I’ve picked up—because students need to see how problem-solving and thinking on your feet are constants in the life of a working photographer. It helps connect what they learn in the classroom to what they can expect after graduation.

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

    In my top-level Image Manipulation class, students work together to create an ad campaign. They come up with a concept together, plan their pre-production—choosing locations, casting models, sourcing wardrobe and props—and then produce the images as a team. What I love about the assignment is that they get a glimpse into a commercial shoot and see all the roles other people, beyond the photographer, play in bringing even a single image together. I let them take the lead, and I make suggestions on how to strengthen the idea or the photo, either on set or during post-production.

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

    Working together across programs deepens students’ appreciation for the various skills and know-how it takes to create compelling work. When Photography students work with Culinary students, they see what goes into making food that doesn’t just taste delicious, but looks appetizing in a photo. Working with Graphic Design students, they see how much deep design knowledge goes into a seemingly simple logo or brand identity. And teaming up with Fashion students, they can grasp what a difference it makes on a shoot to have someone with a trained eye working as a wardrobe stylist.

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

    I can’t emphasize enough the importance of networking. Finding work depends so much on word-of-mouth.

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

    Doing good work and continuing to build the skills that strengthen that work are important. But the way to launch your career is by showing your work to anyone in the business who’ll take the time to look.

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  • Chase Quarterman

    Chase Quarterman

    Graphic & Web Design

    "The bar has been raised. You need to constantly get better."

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    Chase Quarterman

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

    I knew from an early age that I wanted to do something creative. In elementary school, I was always drawing characters from my favorite cartoons. In high school, I drew comic strips for the school paper and helped teach art classes to younger kids. In college, I discovered my love of design and oil painting, which grew during a semester in London. The act of making something is truly fulfilling.

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

    My classroom is basically a client/creative setting. I am the "client," and I give creative briefs to the designers. I pull directly from my personal client experience—both good and bad—so we can discuss it class. I let them know that the profession is more than just creativity, it’s also about developing business, networking, and communication skills.

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

    One of the most difficult assignments for students is the personal branding project in Portfolio 1. It’s their chance to "brand" themselves. They design a logo—symbol and typography—for their website, portfolio, business card, and collateral. It requires some soul-searching about who the student really...they have to encapsulate their entire self into one simple mark. It seems impossible at first. But eventually, they find something to latch on to. It’s a tough challenge for them, but it’s truly gratifying for me when a student finds what they’re looking for.

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

    No designer is an island. The reality of the industry is that designers work with art directors, copywriters, creative directors, in-house bosses and clients of all kinds...the creative pro has to be a diplomat. I remind students that most rock bands break up because of creative differences—and the same can be true in our industry. The key is to build bridges, encourage one another, share differences of opinion, and respect the other person. It’s all about establishing camaraderie—and creating amazing work.

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

    Have a big, visual appetite. Be inspired by film, animation, books, typography, magazines, apps, billboards, websites, nature, packaging, signage, textures, industrial design, architecture, posters, everything.

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

    I believe that when students know what’s out there, and they get a little intimidated by the amazing work being produced by their "competition," they work hard to get better. The bar has been raised. You need to constantly get better.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I find that the sense of community in the classroom isn’t only important for the students’ creative life, but my own. The discussions, the energy, the critiques are all catalysts for exploration...and I use them when I'm dealing with clients. I hope this creative "community" extends beyond each student's time in my classrooms.

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Ai LIVE is an online mix of communication, entertainment, and instruction that builds upon your education with a library of fun, informational, industry-relevant shows about creative careers.

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Stronger Roots by Marlene Llanes Visual Design
Marlene Llanes presents "Places and Perceptions"

Marlene Llanes exhibit part of Mexican American Center.

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