Meet the Graphic Design Faculty | Sessions College

Graphic Design Faculty

Welcome to Graphic Design

Andrew Shalat,
Department Head

When I speak to a large audience, at a conference or a lecture, I ask how many of the attendees are designers. Those who are eager, or not bored, will raise their hands.

Nominally, just a few out of a lot. To which I will say, to those who didn't raise their hands, you're wrong. As human beings we are all designers.

We may not say it out loud, we may not introduce ourselves to each other that way, and rightly so. Because even though we're all designers, we're not all good or accomplished or even articulate designers. If you've ever set a table, if you've ever made a choice about what color shirt to wear with what jeans or trousers or dress, then you've acted as a designer. It may not necessarily be art, and it's not necessarily commercial, but it is design.

Design is taking something from the state in which you find it, and moving it to a preferred state. That something could be an idea, a message, a color, or a shape. That something is an element of language; a form of articulation. And the degree to which you are aware of that as an act of design is also the degree to which you can call yourself a designer out loud.

Graphic design and branding final project by Associate Degree graduate Lisa Skowyra.

Like tourists in a foreign country, at first we can't speak the language. The signs tell us little, and the sounds we hear are strange. The words are unfamiliar and we have to point at what we want like children. After a while, however, we start to pick things up. Words that were once unrecognizable now begin to make sense, gain meaning. How do we get to the train station? How much does that shirt cost? How much for the food?

As we start to learn the language of this foreign place, it begins to be less foreign. We know where to turn right, where to go straight. We begin to understand where the train station is from the signposts that say where it is. We see the address numbers and they make sense. The map is readable. The menu is recognizable.

Well, design is like that. When we begin to speak the language of design, when we start to understand how the various and previously unintelligible forms combine now to show intention, and meaning, we begin to take control and take ownership of our surroundings.

The online Graphic Design program at Sessions gives you entry to digital art, print, and Web design. What we delightfully call distance learning lets you work with a freedom and focus that in its own way is a training in professional discipline. Meeting deadlines and finding design solutions. Our program will hone your visual vocabulary and help develop a fluency that in turn will help you to become an articulate designer, one who not only knows how to read the language of Design, but how to create it. This curriculum is designed(!) to address the specific needs of the marketplace, balanced with all that palaver I wrote about above. I also hope it is fun.

Whatever the internal stirrings that brought you here in the first place, coming through a rigorous and focused course of study and practice such as ours will serve you well both professionally and in recognition of who you already are—a designer. Our program will give you the right skills to help you say it out loud, and know it's true.

Andrew Shalat, Graphic Design department head

Featured Faculty

Meet some of the faculty who teach Graphic Design at Sessions College.

Kristen Becker is an educator and a graphic and business designer specializing in e-commerce.

Margaret Penney is a teacher, designer, writer and media artist.

Boris Margolin is a logo, branding, and Web specialist with his own design company.

Michael Hamm is a Senior Visual Designer and Web developer.

See All Faculty
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