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Why do you need a design coach?

Have you ever had a tutor, a personal trainer, or a mentor?

A) on the left is my hello and introduction to high schoolers and parents.
B) on the right is my hello and introduction to professionals of any discipline

Don't spend time in a boring classroom!

What you get in addition to a fun challenge with these projects and design lessons is a coaching interaction to help you complete successfully rather than a rote learn via tutorial.

Are you seeking to break your routine, learn new skills, or build a portfolio? Then these projects and coaching are perfect for you!

 

EMOTIONS

expressive typography; connotation vs denotation; concept development, composition; design principles, elements, and process
FINAL ARTIFACT: 2 distinct posters

This is one of Val's favorite assignments and is a perfect project to learn graphic design with emphasis on type and image. Experimentation is encouraged as you explore as many methods of making type with objects from string to cut paper to potatoes and beyond. You may even use photography or a scanner in this process. You will learn a bit about the history of hand craft lettering vs mechanical. You will receive brief written feedback during each stage of the design process and have 2 skype calls during the important stages of critique.

From:

$249

WRAP IT

advanced level design project that emphasizes type, image and color building a uniform brand; design principles, elements and process includes hand craft vs digital.
FINAL ARTIFACT: 3 related wrappers

You should have a basic handle on typography for this assignment or can add-on extra lessons about type history and classification as you enter the design process for this fun project. Invent your own chocolate brand or redesign an existing brand. Choose three flavors and develop a basic concept. Learn about hand illustration, experimentation with pattern, and creating unity across the brand.

From:

$249

BRAND YOU

branding, figure/ground, gestalt, hierarchy, concept development; skills analysis, writing copy, promoting yourself; design principles, elements, and process
FINAL ARTIFACT: YOUR OWN BRAND LOGO, RESUME, PORTFOLIO UPDATES

This starts with an evaluation and coaching consultation of your existing work including resume and portfolio. Through this process you will be given some feedback on your strengths and weaknesses, but you will also be required to conduct a series of self-analysis exercises prior to starting the design process for creating your own brand. This is an advanced course and one should have at least a grasp on typography and basic design. Recommendations after initial consult may include backtracking and taking one or more lessons to improve your design sensibility. Once you go thru the self reflection and goal setting exercises, you can start working on the design process receiving written feedback at various stages and 2 additional skype coaching sessions as you work towards final execution. Feedback also includes resume writing and organizing your digital portfolio.

From:

$449

TYPE 101

type history; type classification; the design process in selecting typography; design principles, elements and process


FINAL ARTIFACT: a set of 5 book covers

In this course, you will learn about typography and typographic history. You'll examine type styles thru a series of exercises in the discovery research portion of the assignment. You'll learn about how to find the best type for your solutions, how to get away from the default type options that are pervasive and available to every D.I.Y.er with a computer, and how to integrate hand craft with digital solutions. In addition, you will learn about visual hierarchy, gestalt principle in creating dynamic compositions, and how to create a unified series within a system. The course fee includes written feedback at several stages and 2 skype calls for important critiques.

From:

$249

OH CANDY!

brand design; gestalt theory; figure/ground; sketching; understanding vectors; design principles, elements, and process
FINAL ARTIFACT: design process book, logo and brand guidelines, collateral

In this course, you will learn about logo and branding thru the design process of concept development, research and ideation with sketching, how to take ideas from the sketchbook to Adobe Illustrator, refining your ideas to a solid image. Branding includes a typographic solution and a system so you'll learn more about color and type in this lesson. If needed add-on extras about type history and classification so that you can move beyond the default options on the computer. This fun assignment will take you out of your comfort zone into an imaginary yet realistic world of retail. The course fee includes written feedback at several stages and 2 skype calls for important critiques.

From:

$249

VISUAL RHETORIC

brainstorming, innovation mechanism in concepts with visual rhetoric; marrying type and image cohesively; hand craft vs digital, design principles, elements, and process.
FINAL ARTIFACT: book cover (+ surprise)

This is recommended as the third lesson in the series of discovering graphic design thru typography. This project requires you to read a book from a choice of 4 options. Once you've completed the book, a short book review and character, plot analysis will be the beginning of the research and concept development phase. You will be required to develop 3 or more concepts in the sketch phase that will be critiqued, narrowed down, combined, altered etc. as you work thru developing a cover that represents that concept with cohesive type and image solution. Once completed you will be given a second, yet related in some capacity, assignment to understand taking your concept into different forms and even sizes. Includes written feedback and 2 skype critiques.

From:

$249

TIME TRVL mini

research and writing; layout; concept development; design principles, elements, and process.
FINAL ARTIFACT: curated book

It is very important to have a connection and understanding of the past in terms of how design and culture relate. In this mini session of the Time Traveler which is also available as an in person workshop, an XXL travel experience, or an online course, you will explore the history of type and design thru a curated investigation resulting in a dynamic use of word and image. The goals in the process are understanding page layout and book design with a comprehensive thematic concept to which you refer to for all decisions from color, grid system, and even hierarchy. Learn about how a semiotic matrix may help you in the various visuals integrated into the final product. This course includes written feedback as the work progresses and 2 skype calls at critical stages.

From:

$249

 

Design is more than just using a computer or software, it's about thinking which leads to the design process and how you develop innovative concepts. Design is not always art because it's about communication not personal objectives, but it uses aesthetics to achieve that goal.

1.

Will a robot replace you or your job in the not so distant future? Recent research suggests that the way to stay robot proof is to learn creative thinking and motor skills not easily managed by machines. A tip for the aging brain is to learn new creative skills.

2.

Design is readily accessible either as D.I.Y. with the technology being more and more affordable, or through the proliferation of 'cheap' inexpensive or standardized design sources for logos to web templates. Having design in your tool belt means you have more value in whatever other hats you wear.

3.

Why spend 4 years in a college amassing debt when only approximately 10 or less classes are emphasizing graphic design? 10 classes is 30 credits which is 1/4 the requirement for most B.A. degrees which require 120 credits. (consider an avg of 100k div 4 = 25k for the design classes or per year)

4.

If you are considering a college/university, ask these questions: When was the last time the curriculum was updated? Are the faculty full time or part time? Are the faculty engaged in timely professional development like attending conferences? Are the majority of the courses you will take taught by part-time faculty (making average of $2,000 – 4,000 per class, typically)?

5.

How many courses are emphasizing typography?
How about graphic design history - not art history? There's a difference!

When do you start the design program? Are you encouraged to create your own imagery off or on the computer? Will they try to mold you into a box that's not you?

6.

The tools are so easy to learn and access now that 12 and 13 year olds are designing apps and creating their own brands or businesses. You may find that the pace of college is painful and that you aren't being encouraged to flex or grow but breaking down bad habits that may have formed.

7.

Consider that salaries for entry level graphic design positions have been stagnant for more than a decade while tuition increases.
www.designsalaries.aiga.org

Being connected to the design industry for many years via my activities in AIGA, I hear stories of how students with degrees are unprepared for the job market as well as a willingness to hire qualified designers without degrees is more and more common.

That's why you need a design coach!

8.

What does Val do
as your design coach?

01

I GET
TO KNOW YOU
AS A
CREATIVE
PROBLEM-SOLVER

& ASSESS YOUR
CREATIVE BOX

BUILD A RELATIONSHIP.

02

I POINT OUT

THE TENDENCIES

YOU HAVE

(composition, use of design elements, & typography)

& ENCOURAGE
YOU TO EXPAND
 OR CHALLENGE THEM.

03

I CHALLENGE YOU
WITH CREATIVE CALISTHENICS
THAT WILL
IMPROVE YOUR
DESIGN SENSE AND SENSIBILITY.

 

with more than 20 years working with people like you.

04

IN A SAFE
ENVIRONMENT,

ENCOURAGE
FAILURES & LEARNING FROM HAPPY ACCIDENTS

THAT WILL MAKE YOU
A STRONGER
CREATIVE
PROBLEM-SOLVER

 

MEMBERSHIP PLANS & BUNDLES

 
  • Choose any TWO lessons and receive 20% off.

  • Choose any THREE lessons and receive 30% off.

  • PAY MONTHLY FOR 12 MONTHS AND RECEIVE 35% OFF ALL 7 LESSONS

  • PREPAY FOR ALL 7 LESSONS AND RECEIVE 40% OFF
     

  • Become a patron member for $30/month includes one scheduled 15 min call and 2 email q/a critique/feedback per a month plus 10% off any lesson, - 3 month consecutive minimum commitment

  • Become a patron member for $45/month includes two scheduled 15 min call (or one 30 minute session) and up to 3 email q/a exchanges, plus 15% off any lesson. - 3 month minimum commitment
     

  • Pay per month as needed. $60 includes up to 45 min phone call (or split up to 3 calls) plus 2 email q/a exchanges
     

  • Critique your portfolio - $50 includes 20-30 min video conference consult after supplying url and/or up to 15 jpg images.

WANT MORE THAN JUST A LESSON?

  • MOST PEOPLE TEACH THE WAY THEY WERE TAUGHT. I'VE SPENT THE LAST 2 DECADES CHALLENGING THAT AND MOVED FROM PROFESSOR TO COACH EARLY ON.
     

  • MANY TRADITIONAL PROGRAMS AT THE COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY LEVEL ARE STILL GROUNDED IN A MODERNIST APPROACH IN A POSTMODERN WORLD.
     

  • CURRICULUM IN INSTITUTIONS TAKES A LONG TIME TO CHANGE DUE TO THE INTERNAL SYSTEMS, CHECKS AND BALANCES OFTEN TIMES THROUGH AN APPROVAL PROCESS THAT INCLUDES MAJORITY NON-DESIGNER FACULTY.
     

  • THIS PROGRAM CONDENSES THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF A CURRICULUM INCLUDING 10 CLASSES (that on average costs 25k) INTO 5 COURSES, plus an in person experience. Take into consideration that 5 college classes average 2,500-3,500 per class or on avg 12.5k if taken one at a time. 5 classes is typical load for one semester so divide tuition which is a bulk rate by 2).
     

  • THE METHODOLOGY FOR THESE CLASSES INCLUDES SPEED PROBLEMS WHICH ARE TO FLEX THE CREATIVE MUSCLES IN A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME, DEMONSTRATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY FOR EACH LEVEL, REFERENCES TO CONTEMPORARY AND HISTORICAL DESIGN EXAMPLES, AND MULTIPLE PROJECTS THAT TAKE YOU THROUGH A COMPLETE DESIGN PROCESS. You will be encouraged to explore in the design process and learn to recognize happy accidents as a creative philosophy for innovation.

WONDER 100

FIRST COURSE

This course emphasizes the creative process of wonder, experimentation, observation, and excitement that is integral to the design process and key traits of successful graphic designers. It is exploratory in nature and will provide solid foundation of design principles and elements through investigation of various assignments that require you to be curious, inquisitive, and a risk-taker. You will be encouraged in the coaching process to understand how to recognize happy accidents, implementing trial and error in learning, observation turned into practice, and a bit of fun thrown into the mix.

Course outcomes:

• Learning and utilizing graphic design principles and elements and creating compositions.
• Learning various tools including handcraft, ie. sketching and collage that leads to basics of Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

• Discovering concepts such as figure/ground and gestalt that provide fundamentals for design problem solving.
• Exploration of the design process which includes brainstorming, research, ideation, conceptualization, exploration, and actualization.

Projects will include smaller speed problems that are not necessarily completed; an image-based assignment in place emphasizing Photoshop and InDesign; and creating shapes, marks, characters from hand and digital for a final fun project.

VALUE:

$1000 usd

BRAND:ME

FOURTH COURSE

Branding is storytelling. In this section of the program you will use skills developed in the previous classes to hone in on brand identity. The primary client is yourself for personal branding, resume development, portfolio production. You'll be asked to go through a skills and goals assessment process to begin the foundation for concept development. Because it's tricky to design for yourself, you will try out this methodology for two other brands first which will provide a broad array of portfolio quality work. In addition, you will work on creating your personal website and brand space on various social networks such as indeed, linkedin and behance.

Course outcomes:

• transforming the design process into a self-evaluation in creating one's own brand.
• Learn about skill assessment and goal setting to use also as concept development for your brand.

• Reinforce the use of gestalt, figure/ground, and innovative typography in your visual solutions.

• Exhibit understanding of brand identity and brand story through creation of identity manual and collateral material.

• Create a comprehensive portfolio, resume, and website that reinforces your personal brand.

We'll start with your own goal assessment and brainstorming process, but to allow the brain to mull all that over you will move into two smaller brand projects along with exercises to stretch your creative muscles with symbols.

VALUE:

$1000 usd

WANDER 100

SECOND COURSE

Step to is to become a wanderer in the mind and in physical action. This course is a combination of thinking and making. You will be introduced to the basics of typography including anatomy, history, and classification. You'll be encouraged to explore hand lettering versus digital solutions and within the digital become adept at hand-eye coordination of composition. The design process is emphasized and the projects become more complex building on what you learned in WONDER100. An emphasis will be placed on the meaning of words (connotation vs denotation) and the personality of typographic expression.

Course outcomes:

• Learning and utilizing typographic forms from hand lettering and hand craft to digital solutions.
• Understanding the historical context of typography and the classification and anatomy to be able to make good conceptual and aesthetic decisions.

• Exploration of the design process and a more complex problem-solving challenges including grids.
• Become a wanderer by allowing for experiments in the design process.

• Understand how meaning is communicated with word & image.

Projects will include smaller speed problems that are not necessarily completed; a a research based exploration of the typographic form, and at least one actualized project with expressive typography. This will include digital solutions but have less digital instruction than WONDER 100.

VALUE:

$1000 usd

EXPLORER

FIFTH COURSE

This is an advanced level graphic design course. What is the role of the designer in society? What does it mean to be a citizen designer? What are the more advanced creative innovation tools one can use to become a design thinker? You'll explore forms of visual rhetoric and examine symbols and communication with a semiotic matrix as part of the design process for the assignments in this module.


You'll become an explorer physically and mentally as you develop the skills for advanced critical thinking.

Course outcomes:

• Understanding of creative innovation tools including visual rhetoric and semiotics.
• Become an explorer as you examine objects, time and place in developing a creative artifact.

• Integrate all of the skills you have learned so far, but with coaching continue to stretch yourself.

The assignments will have creative prompts but open ended as far as solution to allow the process to determine outcome using the ideation tools you'll discover and practice more than once.

VALUE:

$1000 usd

TIME TRVL

THIRD COURSE

This is a journey into the history of graphic design. We'll start in the 1980s with the introduction of the Macintosh and jump back in time to discover threads between cultures, social, economic and historical contexts. Having a contextual foundation for the discipline of design and how cultures communicate can inspire and inform your decision-making in the design process. Perhaps you are an appropriator or attempt to be a pure modernist. This course will include reading, links to contextual videos in content that exists in the interwebs along with short lecture style overviews of course material, and critical thinking exercises to make connections over time. You will be encouraged to produce a short writing assignment that will be integrated into a design project that emphasizes the book format producing your own document using InDesign primarily and other digital or hand craft tools to complete the visualization process. Throw out the test anxiety syndrome and take this course for the love of learning and discovery as if you were a time traveler.

Course outcomes:

• Understanding of the historical context and significance of graphic design and visual communication throughout recorded time.
• Flex muscles in a creative way in a research investigation as a time traveler.

• Utilize your evolving design aesthetics for actualizing design artifacts that integrate copy.

• Overview of the grid and visual hierarchy, how to structure a book format, and creating a unifying visual statement.

One large project combining word and image in a multi-page document with a smaller assignment sprinkled through the production of the other work to give your brain the breaks it needs for a-ha moments.

VALUE:

$1000 usd

IN PERSON

ADDITIONAL CONTENT

Taste. Trek. Globetripping.
Three unique in person workshops including travel opportunities.

Once you complete the sequence of five modules, it is highly recommended that you participate in at least one in person workshop with several others (maximum 12 participants). Taste is all about food and design, from farm to table experience gardening, cooking, and even making pottery not only as creative inspiration but as potential subject matter for creative project.

Globetripping is a travel experience emphasizing designer as author as you explore an immersion in place. Some destinations include Dublin, Japan, Italy, and Spain.

VALUE:

$750 + up

 

course options

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