Spring Enrollment is Here!

Spring semester begins January 16, and open registration is underway! Look over the spring course calendar and plan your upcoming schedule. Remember, registering early gives you the most class options, keeps you off the waitlist, and helps prevent courses from being cancelled due to low enrollment. Don’t wait until the last minute!

After you’ve registered, be sure to make your payments by the tuition deadline to ensure you don’t get dropped from your classes and have to re-enroll.

Finally, if you haven’t yet spoken with a VisCom Advisor, we highly encourage you to make an appointment. Advisors will be able to assist you in mapping out a course schedule that meets all the prerequisite and graduation requirements, as well as answer any questions you may have about your program.



AIGA/ACC Hits the Lanes

Austin creatives were out for a fun evening at the recent AIGA Bowling Tournament, sponsored by OK Paper at Highland Lanes.

As you can see in this photo, ACC was well represented. From left Dave Toedter, Thomas Freeman, Isaac Lara, Nelly Padron, Shawn McKinney, and Sean O’Toole-Pitts.

Thomas Freeman describes the event,
“While we didn’t take a trophy, I think we can all agree that we had a great time rolling strikes and gutters alike. We had some power players on our team, namely Dave Toedter. I think Isaac Lara wins the award for ‘most innovative bowling technique’ — really loved the behind-the-back-through-the-legs move. Our team was pretty fashionable in our DIY, spray-painted shirts. We recorded all of our strikes with a black X on our sleeves. Some were more marked up than others, but we all had a couple to show off! Thanks to Dave for designing the team logo and for everyone who helped get the shirts painted. Hope to bowl again next time!”

Fall registration now open

Fall semester will begin August 28th — that’s not far away! Plan your schedule and register while seats in most classes are still available.

You can check what will be offered in the Visual Communication fall schedule.

If you would like advising on which courses to take, you can make an appointment with one of the 3 Visual Communication advisors.
Their contact information is on this page: Advising

AIGA/ACC: Guest Speaker Oen Hammonds

Oen Hammonds gave an outstanding presentation at the recent AIGA/ACC event. Attendees listened attentively to Oen’s fascinating stories from his career and to his tips for soon-to-be VisCom grads.

Oen is Advisory Designer for IBM Design. Outside his 9-to-5, Oen has taught as an adjunct instructor in VisCom, sharing his design experience and guiding portfolio students. He is currently president of AIGA Austin and he will discuss AIGA, the design industry, as well as provide advice to students and graduates who are getting started in the field with a Q&A session to follow.

The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA)  is the oldest and largest professional design organization in America. AIGA/ACC, the student chapter at Austin Community College, was founded to create opportunities for students to get involved in the local design community and foster greater community among peers.

AIGA/ACC Student Chapter Kick-off

Almost 40 people attended the recent AIGA/ACC membership party. Former VisCom student Ben Humphreys got the event started with information about AIGA and described how helpful his involvement with this design group has been to his career. AIGA is the oldest and largest professional association of designers in the world and joining ACC’s student chapter provides opportunities to connect with Austin’s creative community.

The next speaker at the event was Dave Claunch, Founder & President of Liaison Creative + Marketing, who described the state of the local design industry. Dave calls Austin the “most creative town in America” with an excellent economy and a great environment for job seekers.

In a presentation filled with advice and stories culled from his years of industry experience, Dave kept the crowd’s attention with useful tips on how to prepare for a career in design — from training and work ethic suggestions, through stressing the importance of an online portfolio that effectively showcases your best work. In the Q&A following his presentation, Dave had valuable suggestions on how to approach finding a job: what to do and what not to do!

“Getting connected” is at the top of both Ben and Dave’s advice on how to get started as a designer. A membership with AIGA allows designers to create relationships with other designers in Austin while belonging to a national community of more than 22,000 dedicated colleagues. Plus it offers a bevy of opportunities and resources, such as members-only job listings, local and national events and exposure through the AIGA member gallery.

To join the AIGA/ACC Student Group, simply create an account at aiga.org/join. As a student you can join at the $50/year Contributing level. As you are guided through the registration process, be sure to choose Austin Community College as your student group.

Not ready to commit to membership? Ben suggests volunteering at upcoming AIGA events — an inexpensive way to see what this group is all about.

And be sure to follow the ACC student chapter on Facebook for information about upcoming events:

AIGA /Austin Community College

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact an AIGA/ACC Faculty Advisor:
Breanna Whitener – breanna.whitener@austincc.edu
or Kim Greyer – kgreyer@austincc.edu

photo credit: Ben Humphreys

Spotlight on Our Tutors

Meet the three VisCom tutors who are here to assist you. If you’re having trouble with software or get stuck on an assignment, time in a lab with a tutor by your side may be just what you need – they are at your service!

Maria Isbell believes that it is her task as a tutor to make it as easy as possible for the student to excel — which includes finding ways to demonstrate the subject matter in a way that makes sense and becomes relevant to the student’s experience. She adds, “It is fun watching their success and it’s very gratifying to feel I have played a small part in that success.”

Maria works in a variety of Adobe software including InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. She is also proficient in Microsoft Office, specifically as an expert in Excel and PowerPoint. Recently she has been working with an Austin software startup developing software which is a next generation sales enablement and story-telling product.
Maria said about this software’s success, “it is very exciting being on the cutting edge of new development and functionality and we were thrilled when we were awarded two patents on our software, one in the U.S. and one in India, in July of 2016!”

Maria tutors at Northridge Campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays mornings 9:00-11:40 in room 4261.

Jesse Beaman began studying at ACC a few years ago and he remembers that the Survey of User Experience class inspired him to move forward with UX studies. “I found the perfect fit when I realized I could build a career out of my two favorite things: research and problem solving. I’m on track to graduate this spring with my AAS degree.”

Jesse can assist you with Sketch, Craft, Invision, Illustrator. His skills include researching, prototyping, usability, design thinking, interaction design, and html/css.

Jesse has years of experience teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which is a strategic problem-solving sport. This sport presents unique challenges for each athlete, and in a similar way, tutoring constantly offers a unique set of problems to solve. Jesse explains further, “when students are having trouble with software or assignments, I enjoy breaking down the problem, exploring the issue, and working together to come up with a solution to move forward.”

Jesse tutors at Northridge campus on Wednesdays 3:00-6:00 in room 4206.

Mark Mitchell believes that mindful tutoring can lead to student success and that a tutor must be patient, a good listener, instructional innovator and encourager. Students seeking tutoring are often facing a challenge regarding understanding the skills and concepts required to successfully master an assignment. Mark feels that they need an “Ah ha” moment to allow them to understand the processes so they can move forward with confidence.

Professionally Mark approaches projects with a goal of creating unique print and web solutions that will differentiate a client’s services and products from the competition. Since the purchase of his first Macintosh computer, Mark has been using Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator to create award-winning design.

As a seasoned Adobe Creative Suite user, Mark’s range of experience enables him to guide students through the knowledge, skills and best practices to create topnotch design.

Mark emphasizes, “my job is to help students to be successful by assisting them as they gain the skills needed to bring to life their creative visual communication ideas.”

You’ll find Mark tutoring at South Austin Campus on Wednesdays 11:40-2:40 in room 1211 and on Fridays 11:00-2:00 in room 1212.

VisCom has open labs at Northridge, South Austin Campus and in Highland Learning Center’s ACCelerator lab. Hours are posted on the doors at NRG and SAC, and also on this page: open labs.

Portfolio Showcase

portfolio_show_fall_2016On December 15th, our graduates held a portfolio viewing at ACC’s Highland Campus.  This reception featured work of Visual Communication students in Graphic Design.

Portfolio instructor Russell Toynes describes the importance of this final class in the Graphic Design program:

“Developing a personal portfolio is one of the most challenging tasks a designer will face, second only to creating a personal brand — and our students have to do both in 16 short weeks. Just when I’m starting to worry that they are going to run out of time, they manage to impress me each and every semester with beautiful, thoughtful and strategic work that truly showcases their passion and talent.”

Breanna Whitener has also guided a portfolio class this fall and she is very enthusiastic about her students:

“These students have worked really hard on their portfolios, and I can’t wait for everyone to see the final result. I couldn’t be more excited for them and their future careers.”

Industry professionals, fellow students, faculty, family and friends attended the event to celebrate the accomplishments of these students. If you would like to see portfolios, you can see them here: Graduate Portfolio.

Design Disruptors Movie Screening

VisCom recently held a screening of Design Disruptors, a movie which reveals that the future of business is being written by companies and products that shake billion dollar industries. Enter the world of 15+ industry-toppling companies — valued at more than $1 trillion dollars combined — with one unifying secret advantage: the transformative power of design.

“Goes behind the scenes of the world’s leading tech companies to learn how, exactly, they make their world-changing products so unbelievably good.”  — Tech Insider

The screening was at Northridge Campus and was well attended. Stay tuned for other VisCom events.

Creative Boot Camp

Four Visual Communication students attended a Creative Boot Camp held in May at GSD&M. Approximately 35 students were accepted to the bootcamp, and for four days they worked inside the agency while being mentored by creative professionals in the advertising industry.

The Creative Boot Camp introduced students to the process of creating an advertising campaign for a real client. Students were split into teams of four or five and the task for each team was to develop a social media campaign for a mall jewelry kiosk known as Pagoda Jewelry.

Here are impressions from the Visual Communication students who attended:

“It was a great experience and it was very hands-on and real world. It taught me some things that I couldn’t learn in a classroom and I got to meet students from around Austin. I think the most rewarding part of the program was working with the mentors. We did a lot of research and the mentors talked to us as if we weren’t students, but professionals. And we had the privilege to present in front of client representatives.”  — Anna Muniz

“As we thought of idea after idea, mentors from GSD&M and other ad agencies would stop by and with tips and critiques. Many ideas were produced and many ideas were shot down. It became somewhat stressful as the clock started to wind down. Two out of the five teammates I started out with dropped out. I admit, for a minute I was contemplating joining them. But, I decided to see it to the end regardless of the outcome. On the final day we presented our ideas to GSD&M and the client, Pagoda Jewelry. To my surprise our presentation was good enough to secure a third place spot and our teams was given an award.”  — Alex Bustamante

“Working with a team was the hardest thing I’ve done. It really opened my eyes to certain areas I could improve on as a contributor and creator. It really forced me to use every ounce of creativity and brain power I had. I would definitely recommend Creative Boot Camp though since the project mostly involved social media, students who are near graduation would probably benefit most from the camp. And the bootcamp is great for networking.” — Sarah Sexton

Sponsored by The One Club, Creative Boot Camps are held in major cities in the U.S., England and South Africa. The One Club exists “to champion and promote excellence in advertising and design in all its forms.” A goal of their bootcamps is to increase diversity in the advertising industry. The events are free and open to current students and recent graduates.

This was the third year a Creative Boot Camp was held in Austin. We will post an announcement about next year’s event when we know more.

Photography provided by Alex Bustamante

Kim Greyer

Welcome Kim!

This summer Kim Greyer joined Visual Communication as full-time professor in our Graphic Arts Technology area of study. As adjunct faculty over the past few years, Kim has brought her wide-ranging experience and infectious enthusiasm into her classrooms. Software skills are a must for any graphic designer and Kim’s students have enjoyed learning Adobe InDesign and Photoshop in her Digital Publishing and Digital Imaging classes.

Kim credits the success of her students to the small class size that allows professors to have one-on-one time with each student. Also, the layout of labs is a comfortable space that fosters communication. Kim elaborates, “As a designer I learned a great deal for my course work and training classes, but I also learned a vast amount from my communication with fellow designers.”

We asked Kim for her perspective on developments in the design field. She replied, “Our industry has changed immensely during my career — and it continues to change. I don’t believe print is dead, but we are embracing a blended media industry. As a graphic artists we’ve always been responsible for getting the message of our client out into the world. Our clients’ message is delivered using both images and type and that message will be across many platforms: print, web, ePub, etc. We need to know how to produce and complete on each platform. It is an exciting time!”

Asked for tips she gives students ready to launch design careers, Kim lists these three:

Visit various job web sites and review what the qualifications are. Examples are: Austin Adfed, AIGA Austin, LinkedIn, indeed, etc.

Always continue to research and learn. Look at websites, magazines, and other media and make notes of what catches your eye and what does not.

Network! Go to industry talks. Look online at Austin Adfed and AIGA Austin to see what events are coming up. Attend these events: meet people and ask questions.