Professor lends wisdom to RCC

Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm

A former Art Institute of Washington instructor and the president of a successful graphic design studio, Barbara Brecher will pass on her skills in two Spring 2013 classes at RCC: “Introduction to Graphic Skills” and “Introduction to Computer Graphics.”

Brecher holds the degrees of bachelor of fine arts in art education from the University of Massachusetts, and master of fine arts in communications design from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

Entering the program with, she says, “a portfolio of paintings and a handful of brushes rather than the usual box of T-squares and triangles” carried by her fellow students, she found the contrast so remarkable that she wondered why the program had accepted her. One of her professors, however, pointed out the great potential demonstrated by the strong graphic elements in her paintings, and the “wonderful eye for composition” that was apparent in her photographs.

After graduation, Brecher became director of an educational program at RIT that paired design students with staff members from area non-profit organizations. She then free-lanced as a graphic designer for five years before taking the position of director of publications with the University of Rochester Medical Center, and finally establishing her own studio. She describes her Brecher Design Group as “a full-service graphic design company,” working in print and on the Internet to produce annual reports, conference materials, branding, event packages, exhibits, web sites, publications, and logos for its clients.

Brecher has lived through the evolution of graphic design, watching creative tools evolve from drawing with pencil and paper to using computer-aided design programs. She calls the computer “a pencil on steroids,” and notes that she used to need five to seven designers to do what a single person with a computer can now accomplish.

“Today we live in a very visual society,” says Brecher. “If you can tell a story with a single image rather than with five lines of copy, the audience will prefer it that way. And once you have them with the ‘info-graphic,’ then you can offer them the text.” She adds, “Being a graphic designer is fun. Where else can you go in to work and be creative every day?”

As for job opportunities in the field of graphic design, Brecher believes that they are indeed out there . . . but to find them, the designer must be willing to freelance, arrange internships, join associations, and maintain a network of associates.

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