Going Beyond the Classroom with JWU Graphic Design

Katie Flynn '23 is a graphic design major at JWU. She hopes to pursue a career in board game design. She attended the Von Glitschka virtual event and shared her perspective below.

Graphic designers need an expansive digital toolbelt in order to be successful in their careers, and JWU recently provided students the opportunity to speak with a professional who provided just such a chance to expand that toolbelt. In early March, JWU graphic design students were given the opportunity to speak to industry professional Von Glitschka, who shared with them fourteen tools they will need to master Adobe Illustrator. Von Glitschka is a design industry professional with years of Adobe Illustrator experience to offer the students of Johnson & Wales University. Glitschka has worked with notable clients such as Disney, McDonalds, Nike, and numerous others. As a result of his extensive portfolio, he is greatly admired by many of the design professors.

graphic design Zoom presentation

Tricks of the Trade

Through Zoom, Glitschka was able to demonstrate to students how to take the basic tools of Adobe Illustrator and use them in ways many of us couldn’t even imagine. This is no exaggeration — many students thought the lecture revolutionary to their technique. For instance, the pen tool, one of the first elements of the program learned in Illustrator, became almost an entirely new implement over the course of this presentation. By combining the pen tool with certain plugins, Glitschka demonstrated how to use plugins to save time when designing. These basic tools and plugins, combined with Glitschka’s encouragement to break your drawings down into the most basic of shapes, show that you can create intricate illustrations. Some students insisted that Glitschka must be some sort of Illustrator magician. As the lecture came to a close, they were taught numerous new techniques to take their designs to the next level.

This is no exaggeration — many students thought the lecture revolutionary to their technique.

Graphic Design Best Practices, In Action

Glitschka’s presentation heavily reinforced many of the principles central to JWU design courses. The first step Glitchka encouraged was always starting on paper, something that design students hear constantly from their professors. Drawing on paper is quicker and more efficient than what can be achieved on a computer when it comes to getting ideas from your mind to the real world. Glitschka heavily reinforced this idea consistently during his time speaking to the students, much to the delight of the attending professors. Along with this, Glitschka also strengthened the idea of just playing around — “slapping things down” — within the Adobe programs to see what you can create, reinforcing the professors’ teachings of “play every day.”

 graphic design sketch

Putting Designers First

One of the most unique but admirable traits of Von Glitschka is his willingness to speak out against the programs we rely on when they decide to make our jobs harder. As designers, our industry-standard programs are those made by Adobe. If Adobe suddenly becomes harder for us to use, there are no other programs we can turn to that would produce the same quality of work. Glitschka chooses to hold Adobe responsible whenever there is an update or bug that makes our lives as designers difficult. In doing this, he reminds the company that their consumers, who rely on Adobe for their jobs, should be their top priority.

By providing guest speakers like Von Glitschka, the JWU design department demonstrates its unwavering dedication to its students. Post-presentation, design students had the opportunity to ask any questions they saw fit and receive advice from a professional, a rare and valuable opportunity. This experience was one that many design students will remember, and draw inspiration from, for semesters to come.

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Screenshot of zoom session