Professor Noopur Agarwal is USF Design‘s newest full-time faculty member. She brings a wealth of knowledge and advice to the program and has already taught a range of classes including Vis Com 1, Vis Com 2, Typography, and Digital Literacy. She shared with us some words of wisdom, including the importance of relaxation and “brain food”, as well as why she developed a new course about Brand Identity for Spring 2018.
What do you like most about working at USF?
I love that when I ask students, “how are you?” they genuinely ask the same question back of me.
What has been the most valuable opportunity you have had as a designer?
My first job out of school was at an art museum / cultural center / think tank called Asia Society in New York City. The design department was very small. Because of this, I was able to work on a lot of projects that I perhaps had no qualifications for and wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do elsewhere. Being in a museum / think tank environment shaped my design practice as I was tasked to design within different mediums (print advertisements & publications both large and small scale, web, animation, branding, and exhibition design) and for different subject matter (climate change, food security, contemporary Asian-Art….). As a designer right out of school trying to keep up with the demands of the job, I learned to watch the news and stay up on current events, integrate reading for pleasure back into my life, I learned how to design during normal business hours not at 2am in the morning (though that still happens some times), how to conduct myself in a board meeting, and I met friends and mentors that I am still collaborating with today.
What is one thing you want students to know about you?
For most designers and artist, creating work takes a lot of time and dedication. Relaxing with my work helps and in order to do that I am often listening to 90s R&B with a fizzy drink and kettle chips on hand—brain food 🙂 Figure out how to give yourself space to relax with your work which to me means never rushing and figuring out the right “brain food” for the moment.
Why did you decide to develop the course “Unpacking Brand Identity” for the Design Program at USF?
Messaging seems more important than ever. A message is more effective if it is consistent and packaged appropriately. I wanted to take a closer look, with students, on how branding affects cultures and societies both positively and negatively. I hope that this class serves as a reminder to designers that we have to be responsible for the messages and the vehicles for the messages that we put out into the world.
Which project are you most looking forward to seeing your students develop in your classes this semester?
This semester in Visual Communication 1, I assigned first year design students a postcard + animated gif project where each student was tasked with using “illustrative type” to interpret a U.S. Civil Liberty of their choice. This will be their third project of the semester, right before their final project. I love the “third project” in the semester because I feel like it is the most successful for students. I see students start to “turn the corner” in their design process. Students go from struggling with design concepts and the Adobe Creative Cloud to actually having a strong command of the programs and concepts and are able to more easily visualize / express their ideas.
You can see more of Professor Agarwal’s own work on her website here. In Spring 2018 she will be teaching Visual Communication II and her new course UnPacking Brand Identity.