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


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.  



Hacker – Noun: One Who Adds an Appropriate Application of Ingenuity to a Problem.

Our first-ever UXHackathon in April was a big success. Brought to you by the Visual Communication Department’s UX degree faculty and students in collaboration with our friends from Austin’s User Experience and Interactive Design community.

The hacking goal was to advance and enhance the online college experience for Austin Community College. And a big congratulations to Hackathon winner Jesse Beaman.     

VisCom students and faculty, as well as industry friends, participated in the Hackathon project teams in various capacities. Enthusiastic friends and family volunteered as usability testing participants for the teams to validate concepts and ideas.


Spring Showcase

A viewing and reception featuring the work of Visual Communication graduates was held May 13th at ACC’s Highland Campus.

Professor Russell Toynes presented Graphic Design graduates and Professor Davis Correa showcased students in the User Experience Design program.

Industry professionals, fellow students, faculty, family and friends were invited to meet the portfolio students and celebrate their accomplishments.

David Correa has guided students during his Portfolio Development class and describes the workforce his students are entering,

After exposure to UX, visual design, and coding, these students are becoming true hybrids. They’ll be taking their design skills into an industry filled with emerging technologies and form factors.

Most of the students hope to enter the job market soon after graduation, while some may be planning on a few more classes, either at ACC or a four-year school. On this special evening, everyone celebrated the achievement of an important educational goal.


Hello New Department

Game Development, Animation, and Motion Graphics is spinning off from the Visual Communication Department and becoming a separate department effective Fall semester 2015. This is exciting news for us and we believe it will provide clear benefits for our students.

The Backstory…

In 1976 a handful of instructors and 42 students made up a small department, know at that time as Commercial Art. By Spring semester 2015 the Visual Communication Department had grown to 66 full-time and adjunct faculty offering 125 classes with an enrollment of almost 1,300 – obviously a large department!

Last year we identified a need to divide the department into two so as to better serve the students. After recent approval by the college administration, steps have begun to implement this change fall semester.

We’ve had great success with student enrollment in our degrees and are very proud of their growth. Creating a new department will help us sharpen our focus and attention for all of our students.

Course Listing for Spring

One of the first effects of the department division can be seen in the course schedule. Looking for a class in any of our Animation areas? You’ll find it listed under the new discipline: Game Development, Animation, and Motion Graphics.

All classes for Graphic Design, Graphic Arts Technology, User Experience (formerly Web & Interactive Design) as well as the Design Coder and Illustration certificates will remain under the Visual Communication discipline.

Degree and Certificate Changes

In addition to this department division, there’s another changes we’d like you to know about. The Texas Legislature passed a law limiting Associate degrees to no more than 60 hours. As a consequence, effective Fall 2015 there are modification to all of our degrees and certificates – you will notice many course number changes and several courses are no longer offered.

We encourage you to contact an advisor to learn more. For information on Graphic Design, Graphic Arts Technology, Motion Graphics, User Experience Design (formerly Web & Interactive), the Design Coder and Illustration Certificates, contact Sue Durban, Martha Johnson (both at Northridge Campus), or Melinda Barker at South Austin Campus.

At Northridge Campus, students can set up advising appointments for the areas of Game Art, Game Design, 3D Animation and 2D Animation by meeting with Deanna Whaley and Colin Blankenship. Visit their website for more information.