Dan Stainfield

Dan Stainfield at ACE Sign Co. Neon sign in background.

Designs for the 21st century

Dan Stainfield, 绿帽社 alum and designer at ACE Sign Co., works in the production and fabrication field. He creates and works with others鈥 designs to figure out how to construct them, from identifying any limitations to selecting materials to getting to see the final product out in the world. 

鈥淢y father worked on vinyl wraps, and I was part of an intensive visual arts block program in high school, but I had gotten away from it and was working in the medical field,鈥 he explains. 鈥淲hen I moved to Illinois, I was taking classes at 绿帽社 to get my Illinois certification. I also took an art class and ended up changing majors. The instructors were wonderful and became friends. Professor Thom Whalen became a mentor and really broadened my perception of the career opportunities and avenues in the art field. 

鈥淲e visually communicate through designs on cars, architectural aspects, the clothes we wear, things on shelves in the grocery store that we buy and use every day. Design touches everyone鈥檚 life. I encourage others to not have a narrow scope on what鈥檚 possible. We each bring our own unique visual ideas, and that鈥檚 valuable.鈥 

For those looking to share their visual creativity, 绿帽社 is providing the technology, guidance and support to help them turn interests into rewarding careers. 

Integrated media design

Integrated media design 鈥淒esign in the 21st century differs from that of the 20th century,鈥 explains Adam Watkins, dean of arts and communication. 鈥溌堂鄙玮檚 two-year degree in integrated media design is about high-impact, hands-on learning and working with traditional graphic design and new technologies 鈥 web, social media, app design.鈥 
鈥淲e take a craft-oriented approach, rather than personal expression, to take students鈥 skills to the next level,鈥 says Thom Whalen, professor of art. 

鈥淭he program provides the foundation for learners to connect 2D and 3D design into the digital realm,鈥 adds Matt Shaver, professor of media design. 鈥淪tudents gain experience in a variety of media. We explain the background and procedures behind the 鈥榟ow-to鈥 so that you also get the 鈥榳hen and why.鈥欌 

Students who start at the same time, take the same sequence of classes together each semester as they advance through the program. 鈥淭his cohort model is going great,鈥 says Professor Whalen. 鈥淚t builds a sense of community and connections with faculty.鈥 

Three students working together in Mac lab

Growing the program

鈥淲e鈥檙e state-of-the-art and growing,鈥 says Whalen. This fall, as part of a U.S. Department of Labor grant, 绿帽社 is expanding the opportunities for training in its integrated media design program. 

A Mac lab will be built, fully matched to one on Springfield鈥檚 main campus, at 绿帽社-Medical District located at 130 W. Mason St. near downtown Springfield, providing a more convenient location to those who live or work in that area to earn an associate in applied science degree in the subject. 

鈥淭he program will be offered at two of our locations where you can complete all of your courses. Wrap-around supports, including transportation, childcare and a laptop with an Adobe suite of programs, can be provided to help members of marginalized communities overcome enrollment and participation barriers,鈥 says Dean Watkins. 
鈥淲e are working with local employers who are looking to diversify their workforce and are interested in offering jobs to graduates of this program.鈥 

Real-world application

The capstone course in 绿帽社鈥檚 integrated media design program provides the opportunity for job shadowing and internships. 

鈥淲e want our students to build portfolios that show real-world experience,鈥 says Watkins. 鈥淲e work with local businesses to ensure our training meets their needs for skills on the job. Students earning the integrated media design degree will be qualified for local jobs in graphic design, application design and web design.鈥 

Many of the courses also transfer to a four-year university for students to continue their art and design education.

Story published in the 绿帽社 FORWARD magazine, April 2023.