Ann Alcasabas

Ann lives in Kansas City where she works as Senior Art Director. At the time of applying to school, she was living in San Francisco working as designer for a design strategy firm.

My ambition to be a professor of graphic design has been reinforced by my education in design and my experiences as a graphic designer at Jump Associates. Armed with a BFA in Visual Communication, I entered Jump’s medium sized strategy company to lead their graphic design initiatives. I have now spent the past two years as the sole graphic designer, creating, teaching, and nurturing a passion to build a career in design education.

My interest in graphic design education was fostered when I developed a special topics class focusing on re-branding the Kansas Art and Education Association. Interviewing the board and talking with teachers revealed inspirational teachers bringing art and design to student’s lives.

Now, at Jump Associates I have been able to fully participate in business strategy grounded in empathy, culture and most importantly, in design. HereI am tasked with designing information graphics, product labels, and large format posters for project with subjects ranging from cars to candy. I continue to develop brand identity systems for Jump and the special events we host. Last year, when I saw an opportunity to develop and expand Jump’s design capacities, I created in house workshops and critique sessions. My greatest satisfaction has been observing the ripple effect of education my peers in the principles behind great design and enabling them to apply these ideas to their own projects Teaching small hands-on “Intro to Design” working sessions in Illustrator and InDesign creating and co-teaching a series of internal learning classes around basic design skills such as layout, type and hierarchy has given my students/tutees more ownership over their own ideas. These opportunities have ignited my passion for teaching and it is a path I hope to continue on.

Working as a design professional has taught me that the resonant, meaningful design that people seek is not created in an isolated vacuum of the design world. In fact, great design is strengthened and informed by an understanding of applied business strategy and relevant cultural research. Last year, when tasked to create the packaging design for a company branding healthy snacks for teens I immersed myself in the research and contributing beyond my expected role. Reading teen magazines, and listening to the tunes of lil’ Mama and SoulJa helped me better understand the audience for my designs. This understanding empowered me to contribute to the design of snacks that came out of beta testing with the highest approval rating our client had ever seen. Now, I want to apply my experience and learn to create a new and fresh interpretation of design education in MICA program. I believe that in order for the education of graphic designers to remain relevant and valuable, graphic designers will have to interpret and communicate the visual, critical and perceptual analysis of their designs. I aspire to learn the design skills the MICA faculty are impassioned to teach, while observing and applying their teaching methods to my future career. I believe gaining this knowledge from the hands-on collaboration of the Design Studio classes with Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips will equip me to have a future impact as an instructor. I am an avid follower of their inspirational Graphic Design MFA Blogs. Seeing the transparent design process of the research, work and writing that went into the creation of “Graphic Design: The New Basics” is a testament to MICA’s dedication to continue to help students originate and apply new perspectives into the contemporary culture and education of graphic designers. The entire MICA faculty displays thought leadership in theory and practice as evident by the continued pursuit of their passions outside of school, speaking at conferences, curating shows, authoring books and designing in their studios. The faculty’s active professions in education and design practices are invaluable to a program that dedicates itself to the evolving and changing complex demands of a graphic designer’s education. This program influences design education in the classroom, online and in the professional world and it emboldens me to embark on the pursuit of a future in design education.

I hope to be given the opportunity to contribute to a vibrant discourse on graphic design in the MICA program