Featured Alumni Featured Students Success Stories

Graphic Design Student a YETI Featured Artist

Zaine Vaun is a recent graduate from the Graphic Design program at ACC. This past semester she was selected by YETI to be a featured artist for their “Artist Series”of customizable drinkware. YETI customers can choose from five of Zaine’s unique nature-inspired designs to customize mugs, tumblers, and water bottles. I met with Zaine over g-chat to discuss her design process and what it was like working for such a huge brand.

Zaine’s nature-inspired style makes her a perfect fit for outdoor brand YETI’s Artist Series.

Zoe: First of all, congrats on being a featured artist for YETI!

Zaine: Thanks, it was a really fun project and I felt honored to contribute to their Artist Series.

Zoe: How did you get connected with this opportunity?

Zaine: Well, the Associate Credit Director reached out to me and asked if I wanted to participate. And of course, I said yes. I think I came on their radar via Instagram, but over time I became friends with them. I don’t think that is the only reason I got hired, but I’m sure it helped!

Zoe: That’s amazing! What do you think caught their attention?

Zaine: I think I’ve done a good job of creating a niche for myself. I focus a lot on creating work that uses animals and nature as a main subject, which works well with outdoor companies like YETI.

I also have a pretty unique style, that is illustrative yet graphic. So I think they saw potential in how it could be applied. When an image is etched on a product it has to be pretty bold and simple, and work in just one color. I guess they saw that my style would work for that.

Zoe: I do see how your brand/niche and YETI’s brand seems like a natural fit! Were these designs that you already had on hand, or did you create them specifically for YETI?

Zaine: I created them specifically for YETI.

Zoe: What was the prompt that you were given, and what was your inspiration for these designs?

Zaine: The prompt was “High Desert”. When we met for the first time, they showed me a few different pieces of mine they liked and kinda just let me run with it.

Since this was an “artist series,” they had chosen that prompt for me specifically because it jived with my other work and common subject matter.

I drew inspiration from my time in the Southwest… Colorado, Arizona, Texas. I have spent most of my life in the more arid desert regions.

There were five designs commissioned, and so I had to be choosy about which animals I displayed. We played around with a lot… coyotes, hares, snakes… it was hard to decide!

The five we settled on were: bighorn sheep, mountain lion, collared lizard, gambel’s quail, and roadrunner.

The initial sketch phase of the project helped to narrow down the unique style for the designs.

Zoe: I think my favorite design is the Roadrunner! How did you narrow it down to those five animals?

Zaine: It was a combination of trying to find a balance of representing the animal kingdom and attempting to choose the designs that felt the most unique. I really loved the coyote, but it’s a little overused to represent the region.

Reptile versus bird. Predator versus prey… that kind of thinking. Comparing the demographic that may choose one over another. Lots of thoughts on that sort of thing.

Zaine drafted designs for many different desert animals before narrowing it down to the five animals featured.

Also, just which ones we thought looked the best played a role as well!

One that didn’t work very well and didn’t make the cut was a peccary. It’s a type of wild pig; they are cute in real life, but it was hard to make it look cute.

We did three rounds of designs, the first being a variety of sketches that approached the project in different ways. From there we homed in on the approach we wanted to take and which animals to highlight. The last round was just a few small tweaks to make them compatible with the etching machinery.

Zoe: Have you ever designed anything for etching onto a rounded surface before? If not, what did you learn from the process?

Zaine: Nope, this was my first time. It was pretty easy since YETI already knew all the specs. The big thing was just making sure the line width and spacing were to spec.

Otherwise, it is as simple as making a vector graphic. The cool thing is that YETI actually has a place on their website where anyone can upload anything they want (to spec) and make a custom mug or whatever. Mine are also available of course, but anybody can do it!

Zaine had to ensure that her designs met specifications for etching onto metal.

Zoe: Wow! I didn’t know that; that’s pretty cool! Other than making sure your designs were to spec, how did you approach the designs for this project? Did you have to take into account the way that the etching appears on the various colorways of the products? 

Zaine: Yes, I definitely had to take into account how it would look etched. My designs use quite a bit of texture, lines, dots, etc. Since there was only one color I wanted to make sure they still felt dynamic. When I was deciding on the patterns to use I had to play around with whether they would be inverted or not, and how that would work with the etching.

Doing mock-ups was a helpful tool for checking my work along the way and for showing the client what to expect.

Zoe: Was it a challenge to be so limited with how you could approach the design? Or did you enjoy having those limitations?

Zaine: I enjoyed the limitations. Boundaries create opportunities to explore new ways to approach my style. It kind of puts it to the test in a way.

Also, I knew what they were expecting, which is helpful. But they gave me complete artist’s freedom within the boundaries as well.

Zaine’s designs are often characterized by texture and pattern, which helped make the single color designs more dynamic.

Zoe: It sounds like YETI was pretty good at collaborating on this project. Was it intimidating at all to work for such a big company?

Zaine: They were very good at collaborating and made me feel welcomed and appreciated. It was a little nerve-wracking getting on our first call with everyone in a conference room… but I was put at ease pretty quickly.

Zoe: That does sound like it could be nerve wracking at first. Do you have any advice for other students heading into their first client meeting like that?

Zaine: My best advice is to take ten minutes or so before the meeting and just refresh yourself on who you will be meeting, their names, positions, et cetera. Maybe refresh over the emails or whatever you have already talked about so that it is fresh in your mind. That always makes me feel more prepared.

Additionally, remember that whoever you are meeting with are just people too, and there’s a reason they want to work with you, so act with confidence!

Zoe: Good advice for any situation! Especially job interviews!

Last question: Do you have any advice for students looking for opportunities like this or just looking to get their work out there in general?

Zaine: Yeah! It’s all about the time you put in. You have to make a lot of stuff to get good, and you have to share a lot of work to be seen. Showing consistency in your work allows potential clients to feel like they can know what to expect from you, which they like. So, making a body of work is good for that. Even just a series of ten things can help.

Also, there’s so much out there to learn and absorb in the design world. You have to be proactive in educating yourself with what is important historically or on trend currently.

Lastly, make friends and be friendly! There is no substitute for real-life friends and mentors.

Zoe: I love that. It’s the connections that make all the difference, in your career, and in your life.

Find Zaine on Instagram: @zaine.vaun

Visit Zaine’s Website:


Austin Studio Tour Design-a-Thon 2022

The ACC Highland campus is both beautiful and functional, with state of the art facilities and plenty of gorgeous gathering spaces for students to study, hang out, and relax between classes. With so many new opportunities packed into over 200,000 square feet of the former Highland Mall, it’s no surprise that navigation on campus is a challenge, a fact not lost on visitors, faculty, and students alike.

A lost visitor identifies the problem of way-finding at Highland.

At the ACC Austin Studio Tour Viscom Design-a-Thon, three teams of student designers had four hours to prototype a potential solution to the problem of how to help people find where they are going.

Student designers get to know each other before the event kicks off.

To do this they followed a four step User Experience design process, and ACC Viscom alumni provided mentorship throughout the event.

Design-a-Thon mentors, Cameron Primm, Cimone Almestica, and Kim Aland show off their Riverbat pride.


Before students could think of a solution, they first had to empathize with the needs of the users navigating the building. With hundreds of visitors pouring in to visit ACC on the Austin Studio Tour, this was a unique opportunity for our teams of designers to get real-time user feedback about the challenges of navigating Highland. Some teams conducted interviews with Austin Studio Tour visitors and Viscom faculty, others recorded their own experience using the current way-finding tools to navigate the campus.

Team Neon Flamingos conducts a research interview with Professor Spence.


After conducting research and gathering user feedback, students defined their audience by creating an audience persona: a detailed description of someone who represents their target audience.

Team Red Pandas introduced us to “Jamie,” a shy art major attending ACC to help pivot in his career.

Team Purple Honey Badgers identified “Billie,” a 35-year old introverted first time college student who also has a full time job.

Team Neon Flamingos chose an animal persona, “Frank Flamingo” who is visiting campus for the first time to meet with their professor.

Team Red Panda’s Elizabeth Solis creates a persona.

After identifying personas, they then created a journey map: a visualization of how an audience persona might interact with the product. For example, Team Purple Honey Badgers identified that when Billie enters the building for the first time he might get lost, check his phone, and then ask another student for directions.


After the teams empathized with and defined their audience, it was time to start brainstorming ideas. Teams employed a number of strategies to do this, including white boarding, sticky matrixes, and dot voting.


Teams then put their ideas to the test by either building physical representations of their product or a digital mock up.

Teams also had this time to prepare their presentations for judging. ACC alum and former Viscom staff member Kim Aland acted as a communications coach to help students prepare their pitches.

Kim Aland coaches team Purple Honey Badger’s Menwoe Gbalea and Brian Dekle.


At the end of four hours, each team pitched their ideas to a panel of judges from the Austin design community.

The judges reviewed the work based on the following criteria:

  • Is it a good solution? How will it make an impact?
  • Is it inclusive and accessible?
  • How feasible is it?
  • Does it make sense for the audience?
The judges consult on the designs.

The public also had an opportunity to weigh in on their favorite designs via online voting. The designs were posted immediately following the event for the public to view and vote on. With over 100 votes in just over two days, a clear winner emerged. Each member of the winning teams was awarded a $50 Amazon gift card.

Team Neon Flamingos shortly after being announced as winners of the Judge’s Award

View the Designs

Team Neon Flamingos
Winner of the Judge’s Award

Team Neon Flamingos: Keith Charba, Josephina Shea Fredericks, Kseniia Grudkina

The Neon Flamingos suggested that adding a “Meaningful Structure of Navigation” on campus can help students and faculty find their location more easily. Their proposal consisted of several strategies:

  1. Identify buildings with names and personas such as the “Willie Nelson” building.
  2. Add visual markers to different areas such as color on the walls to represent different departments and 3D Landmarks to create easy reference points.
  3. Adjust the signage so that it is more visible and functional by adding iconography and adding color to make the signs pop.
  4. Add signage at every decision point in the building.

The judges chose the Neon Flamingos as the winning team because they appreciated the “holistic approach” of their multi-step proposal.

Team Purple Honey Badgers
Winner of the Audience Choice

Team Purple Honey Badgers: Brian Dekle, Lauren Summerlin, and Menwoe Gbalea

The Purple Honey Badgers noticed that when students are lost, the natural reaction is to ask for help. The problem is that even if somebody knows the way, they have a hard time giving directions due to a lack of visible landmarks. The Purple Honey Badgers focused their design on giving students and faculty memorable reference points that can be used when giving directions. Their proposal consists of three parts:

  1. Assign colors to different departments on the directory.
  2. Match those colors to the walls for students to follow.
  3. Engage students to create logos to further identify each department.
Menwoe Gbalea and Brian Dekle act out a scene as part of their pitch

Team Red Pandas

Jessi Greene, Elizabeth Solis, Alexander Lopez

Team Red Pandas was the only team to propose a technological solution to way-finding at Highland: interactive kiosks at every entrance to welcome first time visitors and ensure they can find their way from the first moment they step in the door. The interactive kiosk would include:

  • A touch screen interface.
  • A directory selection by professor name or department.
  • Interactive maps that highlight your route.
  • QR codes which populate directions on your phone.
  • A slideshow of notices and other relevant information to enhance campus life.
Featured Students Success Stories

Viscom Student a Finalist in CA Typography Competition

Sophia Chow is a graphic design student graduating this semester from ACC. Her Kana Whiskey Packaging project was recently shortlisted for the Communication Arts Typography Competition. I met with Sophia over g-chat to discuss her design process and her experience with getting her work out in front of an audience.

Zoe: First of all, congrats on being a finalist in this prestigious competition! How did the Kana Whiskey Packaging project come about?

Sophia: Oh, thank you! I’m flattered. The Kana Whiskey packaging initially started off as a class project in my Design Studio I class. The concept was to create a high-end liquid bottle, and what’s more high end than fancy alcohol? 

I knew I wanted to do whiskey because I myself am a whiskey drinker, but I also wanted to create something that was different from what was already out there. My initial research confirmed that whiskey has a history of being a man’s drink, so I wanted to flip the switch. I know a lot of badass boss ladies who love to drink whiskey as well and that’s how the concept came about.

Three Kana Whiskey bottles.
Sophia wanted to create a whiskey bottle that evoked feminine beauty and power.

Zoe: I love that! I don’t drink much, but when I do, it’s whiskey. When I saw your design I immediately thought that this is the bottle I would reach for first.

Sophia: Oh awesome! See, many awesome women drink whiskey. It also doesn’t have to be a male versus female thing since gender is fluid, but I wanted to honor those women and honor just… feminine beauty and power. 

Zoe: Is that how the idea for the tiger came about?

Sophia: Well, yes. The tiger actually has several meanings. I was searching for a symbol that stood for fierceness and power, and badass. I also thought it paired really well with whiskey, which can be warm, yet fiery, yet soft at times. The tiger fit that perfectly. 

They are tempestuous yet calm, warm-hearted yet fearsome, courageous in the face of danger yet yielding and soft in mysterious, unexpected places. Tigers are very confident, perhaps too confident sometimes.

Also, in the Chinese zodiac I am a Tiger. It stands for power and respect in Chinese/Cantonese culture.

Zoe: That’s something that makes this design so unique. I feel like whiskey bottles are always reflecting back on Scottish or European influences, so this design really jumps out because it has different influences. How did you approach the idea of pulling inspiration from something so opposite of what we normally think of for whiskey?

Sophia: Well I actually had a lot of inspiration from the Japanese whiskies out there, but, especially since this is a school project, I wanted to create something that reflected my culture and background, which is Cantonese. I drew inspiration from the Tiger Balm ointment I used often as a child but wanted to elevate it to become more high-end. 

The name Kana is actually a Japanese name. It’s a gender neutral name meaning powerful. So I wanted to follow the Asian inspiration throughout but make it Cantonese instead.

I also love meshing seemingly opposite styles together like vintage and modern to create something new and fresh.

Zoe: Now I need to google Japanese whiskey!

Sophia: You need to try Japanese whiskey if you like whiskey. They’re all so good and subtle. I recommend Suntory whiskey to start haha.

Zoe: Awesome! So this design was shortlisted for the Communication Arts Typography competition. How did you approach choosing the typeface?

Sophia: Choosing the typeface was a long journey actually. I went through several iterations where I tried out different typefaces. Most of the high end whiskey bottles out there are using a fancy serif typeface because I guess that screams “high end.”

I tried the fancy serif, I tried the modern sans serif look, and I even tried a psychedelic typeface at one point. I was initially also looking for a vintage looking typeface.

All in all, I ended up choosing a thin sans serif typeface called Tropican. It had a lot of cool ligatures and looked clean yet fancy in a subtle way. Also the ascenders and descenders looked really nice.

Zoe: Yes, I noticed that, especially on the “Citrus Rye” label around the ‘u’ in citrus.

Close up of the typeface on the green Citrus Rye label.
The sans serif typeface, Tropican, is both clean and ornamental.

Sophia: Yess. I think that’s what made me fall in love with this typeface

Zoe: So would you say that that’s your typical design process? To try lots of different iterations until you land on one that you like?

Sophia: Yes, my way of designing is that I literally spit out a bunch of terrible designs until nice ones start coming out, haha. I feel like I always have so many ideas that are completely different from one another. I just have to create them to see how they’d look outside my own head. Then I can examine and think about what’s working and what’s not and narrow my decisions down slowly. It’s a long process but it works for me.

Zoe: I relate to that! Sort of like you have so many different possibilities, and you need to explore each one to see what works best.

Sophia: Yes

Zoe: So once you were happy with the design, what motivated you to submit it to the CA Typography Competition?

Sophia: Actually, my teacher at the time, Lisa Haynes, suggested it to me. I didn’t even know about these competitions, but she saw the potential in me and my design and encouraged me to submit it. I’m forever grateful to teachers like her.

It encourages me to put myself out there to show others (and my inner child) that someone who looks like me can also be celebrated.

Zoe: That’s awesome that Lisa encouraged you to submit! What was the submission process like?

Sophia: I had to put my whiskey bottles in a nice mockup, all flavors in one photo and then write a short blurb about it.

Zoe: Were you nervous to send it out to be judged?

Sophia:  Hmm… nervous? Not really… Is that bad? 

Zoe: Not at all!

Sophia: I was more excited than I was nervous. I feel we need more teachers out there who encourage students to share their work and be proud. I’m also in Portfolio class right now, and we are learning about how as a graphic designer or artist in general, it’s really important to share your process more than your final product. You never know who might learn from your struggles, or learn from the lessons you’re currently learning, or learn how everyone has a different process. 

I’m an introvert at heart so I know what you mean about being nervous to put yourself out there. But the more you do it, the more you’re like… “oh, this isn’t so bad”. I try to think of it in terms of anyone can learn from where you are right now. Also, I find it encouraging when people who look like me are celebrated, so it encourages me to put myself out there to show others (and my inner child) that someone who looks like me can also be celebrated.

I’m honestly super honored and flattered to even have someone suggest I put my project in a competition. For someone to notice my talents felt great no matter the outcome.

It’s really important to share your process more than your final product.

Zoe: That’s awesome! What advice do you have for other students who want to get their work out into the world?

Sophia: My advice for other students who want to get their work out there in the world is just to get their work out there in the world! We’ve got so many platforms to share your work. 

Post your process, not just the final outcome. Write about what you’re learning about. Write about what you’re struggling with. Offer advice to help others. Share resources. Just put yourself out there and be generous with your knowledge.

Zoe: I love putting it in terms of being generous. It kind of takes the focus off yourself, which helps, I think!

Sophia: Yes! And also have fun 🙂 haha.

Zoe: Sophia, this has been a delight. Thanks for making the time to chat with me! Where can folks find you?

Sophia: Yes, thank you for chatting with me. It has been a pleasure. 


Instagram: @sophiachow_designs


Featured Students Success Stories

How one UX Student Landed Her Dream Job

Angela Cerrillo is currently in the second semester of pursuing her degree in User Experience Design and she just landed an exciting new job with Zello, a push-to-talk communication app for frontline workers. I met Angela over g-chat to discuss her career goals, and any advice she may have for other students looking to start job hunting while they’re still finishing up their degrees.

Zoe: Tell me about your new role at Zello.

Angela: I’ll be starting as a “Bilingual Product Advocate”… In this role I’ll be providing technical support for users as well as gathering/synthesizing vital user feedback in English and Spanish to share with the team in order to promote continual improvement and innovation of the product and company. 

Upon interviewing, the company was excited to learn about my academic progress in UX Design through ACC and in particular about skills I’ve already acquired through the program (in Professor Bahrani’s excellent Responsive Design course) such as HTML, CSS, accessible design and a comprehensive understanding of WCAG 2.1 standards. Furthermore, as I continue my education at ACC, the company will allow me to shadow and collaborate with the Design team until I’m ready to transition into that department.

Angela on the job
Angela in her new workplace.

I’m so grateful to ACC and their wonderful professors and faculty for helping me get a job with possibility for career growth in a field I’m passionate about–for the first time in my life. I really didn’t think I could land a product design entry level position until the end of this program. But, the program has given me valuable marketable skills from the get-go and I’m only delighted to continue growing my skill set and network through ACC’s UX Design program.

Zoe:  That’s amazing! What made you interested in pursuing UX as a career?

Angela: Well, I got a biology degree and after graduating quickly realized that it’s difficult to get a job that will pay you a livable wage with that. So after years of grinding in startups and healthcare to get by, I took a step back to really look at my interests, strengths, weaknesses, and to make a new game plan. I’m a visual artist and creative person so I was initially interested in UX/UI due to the visual design qualities of the career. Then, I got even more interested when I saw the full scope of the field and possibilities to work in many different industries. It’s a growing field, well paid, and creatively stimulating. That’s everything I’ve realized I need from a career at this point in my life.

pastel self portrait of Angela
A self-portrait of Angela.

Zoe: UX is so interesting in that it attracts so many different types of people with different backgrounds. We have students who are entering the program straight out of high school, but so many others who are like you coming into the field after a career pivot. Is that something you’re finding at Zello? What are the backgrounds of some of the people you’re working with?

Angela: Yes, that’s so true! UX design is so interdisciplinary. You have everything from user research to business communications to visual design. So it does attract all sorts of people. Today was my 5th day at Zello, so I’m still meeting people on the team. The only UX Designer I’ve spoken to at length was actually in the UX Design program at ACC and has a graphic design background. So that was a great connection to make!

Zoe:  Amazing! Our students are everywhere! You’re right that UX has so many facets to it. Which is why it’s difficult to boil it down at times. In your own words, how would you describe UX? (Tough question, I know).

Angela: vision of UX is constantly evolving as I go through ACC’s program. To me, UX is about understanding human struggles and needs and then coming up with solutions. Everything around us is designed by humans except for nature. So, UX is all about making our human-designed world better for humans. Otherwise—what’s the point?

Zoe:  I love that! So you just started at Zello, which is so exciting! How did you get connected with this opportunity?

Angela: Yes, I’m stoked to be there! 

I had been searching for a job for three months and got to a point where I began applying to anything and everything. That included jobs that I felt I was underqualified for but that featured a Product Design or technology aspect to them. I must’ve applied to over 200 jobs. So, I applied to Zello after seeing the job post on LinkedIn which emphasized their need for a Spanish speaker that could work at their HQ in Austin among other things. I got an interview by (in my perspective) a stroke of timing-related luck and was able to tell them that I was studying UX Design at ACC and about my career aspirations. They loved that and right away told me they were willing to support my education and training in UX. It wasn’t networking. It was just applying to hundreds of jobs and being at the right place and right time for them to see my application. Applying for jobs can be a brutal numbers game at entry-level. I feel so lucky!

But it just occurred to me that having “currently studying UX Design at ACC” on my resume and LinkedIn profile probably helped pique their interest.

Zoe:  I understand that struggle of applying to lots of jobs! It can be brutal, but also amazing when you find the right fit! I’m sure Zello is thrilled to have you.

On that note, what advice do you have for other students who may be looking for work in their chosen field while they’re still in school?

Angela: My advice is to really play up what you already know in job interviews and on your LinkedIn profile and resume. If you’re already taking courses that are field specific, then you have an advantage! Also, job searching is crazy and some days it feels hopeless. BUT remember that all you need is one “Yes”. I got rejected about 15 times (after the interview stage!!!) before I got an offer. It hurts to be rejected but you have to keep trying.

Zoe:  That’s so true! And to echo what you said, the fact that you’re taking classes is an advantage! So many students view that as a negative. But being in school, and showing that you’re growing your skill set sends all the right signals to an employer. Play it up as an asset! 

Angela: Truly! I interviewed at companies that rejected me because they thought I’d leave once I finished school or that I wouldn’t be dedicated to them or their schedule. However, I was probably dodging a bullet by not working at those places. I think that any company worth your time will see your education as an asset!

Zoe:  That is a good point. A big part of any job search is finding the right fit, and making sure the company also aligns with your personal values, which can take some time.

Last question, where do you see yourself in the near future, career wise? More broadly, what are your hopes for the future of UX Design? (Another tough one).

Angela: I see myself as a UX apprentice for a while, getting real-work experience while I study in the evenings. Over time, I’d love to work in the music industry as a UX designer.

As far as the future of UX…

My hope is that the industry attunes its aspirations to designing for a cleaner, healthier planet for the sake of the future generations of all beings. Already, this needs to be a key pillar of good design for any UX Designer.

Zoe:  I think it will be your generation of designers who will foster that change.

Angela: Well, I hope I can live up to my own expectation!

Zoe Anything else you want to share?

Angela: One last thing, I’m just a big ol’ goof so if I can do this–you can too! Please reach out to me if you want to talk UX, art, life or anything else!

ZoeThat’s awesome! Where can people reach you?

Angela: @ghoul.friendd on instagram! I post art on there from time to time too.

ZoeI’ll be the first to give you a follow!


Welcome to Our New Department Website

The information you need should be easy to find and easy to understand. Our goal is for the website to be functional, focused, and packed with information. Details about the specific areas of study and their differences are front and center and so are your steps for how to get started. 

“Compared to the old site, this version should make it much easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for.”

Josiah Spence, Interim Department Chair

Tour the Website

Check out the Student Experience page to discover why it’s so awesome to be an ACC Riverbat. This page can answer all your questions about classes and student life.

Visit the Programs page to discover the degree program and future career path best suited to your unique skills and interests. Maybe you’re curious about the difference between Graphic Design and Visual Design. Or perhaps you’re wondering what UX stands for. This page holds all the answers.

Ready to dive in? Then look to our Get Started page to get a breakdown of your next steps for enrollment, registration and more.

A Fresh Design

As designers we know that function and beauty go hand in hand. Our students are the future of design, so we embraced a forward-thinking aesthetic that is both clean and friendly.

“As well as putting information about our programs front and center, the new website is more visually refined, friendlier, and more contemporary.”

— Josiah Spence

New Program Identities

To make navigation easier, we wanted to visually differentiate each program so that anyone can identify them at a glance. Finding a way to distill these multifaceted subjects to a single icon that expresses their full scope was a challenge, but in the end, we decided that shape and color were the obvious choice.

The simple and almost child-like nature of geometric forms makes our programs feel accessible and welcoming. The radiating colors from the central shape also evokes the layered ways in which design filters through every aspect of our daily lives. 

The next step was to decide which shape goes with which program.

Something that jumped out was that the triangle shape reminded us of the point of a pencil, especially if we used our yellow color — perfect for Illustration! Pretty soon, other mental associations led us through the other shapes.

— Josiah Spence

Graphic Design

A square recalls paper and layout grids — key elements of Graphic Design.

Visual Design

A circle represents the fluid nature of designing for screens — the basis of Visual Design.

User Experience

A diamond reflects the many intersections of knowledge within User Experience and mimics the angles of the letter X in the UX abbreviation.

Graphic Media Production

A pentagon’s many facets are a nod to the detail-oriented precision of Graphic Media Production.


A triangle suggests the point of a pencil, a nod to traditional illustration tools.

New Fonts

The headings are set in Inter by Rasmus Andersson, a neutral but friendly typeface designed with screens in mind. In many ways, it’s reminiscent of classic sans serif typefaces designed for signage. It doesn’t scream for attention, but greets the viewer with open arms.

The relatively tall x-height and minimal contrast between strokes makes Inter easy to read at all sizes — an ideal typeface for screens.

The body type is set in Hoefler Text by Jonathan Hoefler. A transitional serif typeface, Hoefler manages to convey both the elegance of more traditional serif faces and an openness that pairs well with Inter. It has enough character to impart a sense of class but is subtle enough to get out of the way and let you read.

Hoefler text was designed with screens in mind, maximizing readability by pairing a vertical stress with a moderate contrast between strokes.

For over 30 years our students have been inspiring us with their innovation and creativity. To meet your needs, we constantly evolve, whether that’s innovating curriculum to meet new industry standards or streamlining information so everything you need is at your fingertips, we always look to find better ways to serve you. Our ultimate goal is to help you jumpstart your career in the dynamic world of Visual Communication. We hope this website can be a springboard for you to do just that.


New VisCom Student? How to Get Started

New to ACC?

Are you looking to start taking design classes? Or maybe you’d like to learn how to use tools like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign? You’re in the right place!

If you’re new to ACC, then your first step in order to take classes is to submit an ACC Admissions application here. Once you have completed that process, you will receive your student ID which you’ll need to log-in to the Self-Service portal to register and pay for classes.

You can explore all of our Visual Communication class offerings on the online course schedule.

Not sure how to register? Here are step-by-step registration instructions.

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Other related questions can be directed to Admissions and Records. You can find their contact information here.


Spring 2019 Portfolio Show

Graduating students of the Visual Communication Department’s Graphic Design program were showcased on May 16 in the Spring 2019 Portfolio Show. The show was a great success with guests from the professional design community as well as family, friends, and faculty turning out to share in the celebration.

The show marked a milestone for the students, a culmination of years of preparation as they worked their way through the program. Finally, after years of hard work and perseverance, they were able to share the fruits of their labor on their final evening together before Commencement. We’d like to offer a sincere congratulations and best of luck to all our graduates with all their future endeavors!

If you were unable to join us for the show, you can view the online portfolios of this and previous semester’s graduates in our gallery of graduate portfolios. If you are interested in becoming a graduate yourself, take a look at our programs or reach out to our Program Specialist, Kimberly Aland for more information. 


AIGA/ACC Spring 2018 Recap

Spring 2018 was yet another activity-filled semester for AIGA/ACC. In case you missed it, here is a quick recap of our events.

We kicked off the semester in February with a presentation from Anthony & Natalie Armendariz, founders of local design agency Funsize. Anthony & Natalie shared their story in how they came to found one of Austin’s leading digital service and product design agencies. They also discussed the principles behind their business philosophy and the future of digital design. Afterward, they took time for a Q & A session from the audience. We want to extend a huge thank you to Natalie, Anthony, and their team for taking the time to share their experiences and expertise with us! Everyone had a great time and took away some valuable insights.

In April, Professor Frank Curry of the ACC Department of Professional Photography provided a demonstration on photographing both 2D & 3D objects at our event “The World Is Flat: Copywork For Designers & Photographers.” Professor Curry explained some of the foundational ideas behind photography as well techniques to offer the best results regardless of the camera you are using. It was an informative evening and we’d like to thank Professor Curry for his time, as well as hosting us at the Photography Department’s Stonehollow Photographic Studio!

We would like to congratulate our graduating officers, including our outgoing president Thomas Freeman, and thank them all for their contributions and hard work. We will be taking a break from events over the summer, but we will still be holding board meetings to prepare for Fall! In addition, we will also be assembling a new board of officers. If you have ever thought about participating, now is the perfect time to find out what we’re all about. For more information or to be added to the board meeting invite list, contact one of our faculty advisors. Follow us on Facebook for news and updates on all our upcoming events. We hope to see you there!


Spring 2018 Portfolio Show

The Visual Communication Department held a showcase for our graduating students at ACC’s Highland Campus on May 11th. The evening was well attended by guests from the professional design community as well as family, friends, faculty, and fellow students.

“It’s shocking how much the students manage to accomplish is such a short amount of time. The entire class worked feverishly the entire semester towards their goals. It’s at the portfolio show that they get the opportunity to showcase their passion for creativity and design,” noted Graphic Design Portfolio instructor Russell Toynes.

Graphic Design graduate and AIGA/ACC President Thomas Freeman added, “The portfolio show was a fantastic experience. My voice was sore from talking for over two hours, but I loved the opportunity to show people my work and chat with students coming up in the program. I think it’s a perfect end to the design curriculum and a fun celebration. Being in the portfolio class with talented designers was really special, and it was great to see everyone put their best foot forward and show off their hard work.”

The portfolio show also gave the User Experience Design graduates an opportunity showcase their skills. “Industry designers saw our student’s skills first hand by participating in user research activities and interacting with user interfaces, moderated and curated by our UX Design students,” said Instructor Molly McClurg. She added, “The support and turnout from fellow designers in Austin UX Design industry was overwhelming; we look forward to collaborating with Austin’s vibrant UX community as our program and students continue to grow and evolve.”

Best of luck to all our graduates with all their future endeavors! We invite everyone to visit our website for a gallery of graduate portfolios, as well as more information about our department and programs.


AIGA/ACC Fall 2017 Recap

Last semester was a busy one for AIGA/ACC. In case you missed it, here is a quick recap of some of the highlights.

We started off the semester in September with a pair of terrific presentations from Judy Shultz of OK Paper & Theresa Campbell of PIA MidAmerica. Judy discussed the importance of being confident in your work as a designer and communicating with your suppliers and printers. Teresa covered everything from the economics of the printing industry to augmented reality and AI. After their presentations, they held a Q&A session from the audience and Judy raffled off some swag bags from OK Paper! It was a lot of fun and we appreciate both of them graciously sharing their time and expertise with us.

In October we got together to screen Debbie Millman‘s “A Brand Called You.” This engaging and informative video seminar was offered free for a limited time to AIGA members through CreativeLive. (Just one of the many benefits of membership.) I think everyone learned something and it was nice to share the viewing experience, discussing it as a group.

We capped things off in November with a VisCom Alumni speaker panel, asking our guests “What do you wish you knew before graduating?” They shared their stories of starting out in the professional world, offering advice and answering questions. It was great evening and we thank all our panelists for joining us. It was a perfect example of the sense of sharing and community AIGA can foster and there was discussion of making this an annual event.

Last but not least, we concluded the semester by electing a new board, with Thomas Freeman taking over presidential duties from now-graduated Cynthia Jefferies. We are extremely grateful to all our departing officers for all their hard work and excited to welcome all of our new officers to the team. We already have some exciting things in the works for Spring 2018, starting with a presentation by Anthony & Natalie Armendariz of local design agency Funsize on February 20. Follow us on Facebook to get the latest updates on all our upcoming events. We hope to see you there!