When Tyreke J. saw a new barbershop open in his neighborhood, he noticed they didn’t have a logo. He knew he could design something eye catching. “So, I went in and told the owner that I was a graphic designer, and he should hire me for the job – and he did,” said Tyreke. “It was my first paying design job.”

That bold confidence came from his graphic design courses at our school. While completing the four-semester pathway, he and other students learn basic industry software like Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, plus animation, logo design, merchandise design and photo editing. Equally as important is an emphasis on the skills needed to work in this industry.

“Once students become proficient in the software and design basics, we foster their independence and help them find creative solutions to a series of design problems,” said Leticia Sanchez, graphic design teacher.

“The environment becomes like a real job, and they participate in all aspects of the design process, like creative brainstorming, conceptualizing, critical thinking, collaboration and making presentations.”

Students pick companies they like and create animations and other designs. Then they pitch their creations to fellow classmates, invite critique and incorporate those suggestions into their projects.

“Plus, they’re learning that time is money. In the business world, they need to work under pressure and quickly,” added Sanchez.

Senior Leilanie S. is graduating in May after successfully completing the graphic design pathway. She already has a part-time job at a print shop, and they have offered her a full-time position this summer. Before she came to this school Leilanie had been struggling at her previous high school.

“I always liked drawing, and someone suggested graphic design classes, but I was too shy,” she explained. “But after being at this school for a while, I had gained the confidence to try the graphic design pathway and I’m so glad I did.”

Leilani loves how hands-on the design classes are, and they have made coming to school more fun, and her teacher agrees.

“When we can engage students in career technical education classes, they are more excited about their other classes,” said Sanchez. “My fellow teachers often tell me they are so glad their students are taking the graphic design classes because they become more motivated in other parts of their schoolwork.”

March is Youth Art Month, created to celebrate and promote arts education.

Written By:
Ann Abajian