Friday Feature: Learning About the World of Graphic Design with Angela Gomez-Holbrook

Professor Gomez-Holbrook has worked in graphic design for years and is passionate about teaching students the metaphorical ropes.Woman writing on white board. Friday Features at Coastline.

When I am updating my resume and sending it out, I find myself asking, “how can I make my resume stand out?” Competition for job positions is at an all-time high, and standing out from the crowd is incredibly important. I’m sure you have asked yourself this question, too. What do we need to do to be that one in a million? I talked to professor of Digital Graphic Applications Angela Gomez-Holbrook and learned how valuable graphic design can be in all aspects of someone’s life and can give them essential skills beneficial in any workplace. From math to business to just your personal use, graphic design can be an important tool that opens doors.

Graphic design is defined as practicing and planning project ideas and experiences that include text and visual content. It's all about sending out messages in a visual way. This is important because it helps the consumer connect with the product. Graphic design is used in every aspect of advertising, from branding to commercials to web design and anything else that helps convey a message. 

Graphic design isn’t limited to commercial use. It can also be used in your everyday life. You can use applications like Photoshop to touch up your old family photos, and you can use Illustrator to release your creative side. Even websites like Canva, where you can easily create your own digital graphics, have become popular not only for businesses but also for personal use. 

Picture of professor Angela Gomez-HolbrookƒCourtesy of Angela Gomez-Holbrook

Professor Angela Gomez-Holbrook is a California native. She was born and raised in Santa Barbara. When asked about her passion and drive for design, she said it started in high school. She said she took AP art classes all four years of high school, and in these classes, she developed a portfolio. At the end of the school year, everyone in the class sent their portfolios to Princeton for college credit. “During that time, I realized my strengths were logos, graphics, working with positive and negative art, and particular compositions,” said Gomez-Holbrook.

After high school, she attended Santa Barbara city college and got her Associate’s Degree in liberal arts. She then transferred to Long Beach State University for her Bachelor’s degree, where she studied art design and art history. During her studies, there was an emphasis on understanding design and typography. It was these classes that made her want to go into graphic design. 

Angela worked in graphic design for ten years before getting her Master’s degree in Advertising Design at Syracuse University in New York. Throughout her years of working in graphic design, she found herself enjoying guiding others, giving design ideas, and pointing out how to make improvements; that's how she got into teaching. 

woman standing in room with people sitting in chairsShutterstock

Professor Gomez-Holbrook started teaching in 2001 at Goldenwest College, where she taught desktop publishing. She began teaching full-time at Coastline College in 2016. When asked about what she loved to teach most, professor Gomez-Holbrook said, “I love teaching Photoshop.”

Not only are students learning graphic design, but they are also learning traditional design elements. Students aren’t just learning applications like Photoshop and Illustrator. All students are getting the benefit of learning traditional design elements and photo composition. 

“It’s satisfying to see the students' portfolios at the end of the semester,” said professor Gomez-Holbrook. The classes she teaches show students art basics including typography, design elements, creating logos, and how to use Adobe software. “The variety of students from designers to home crafters is exciting.”

Now, you may be asking yourself, “Okay, but how is this relevant to me?” I asked myself the same question too. Knowing how to use graphic design tools and knowing important composition rules can give you skills that set your resume apart.

Computer with graphic design software.Shutterstock

I think Professor Gomez-Holbrook explained it best as to why these tools are essential, “I think that students, whether they are in math, English, economics, should take photoshop because it's valuable for all disciplines. It allows students to understand concepts, layering and create compositions for graphics. It helps people who want to edit their family photos and want to print them. It helps people train their eyes and to make their work not look a novice.” 

The best part is that you can use any other photo editing software out there once you understand how to use these tools. Photoshop tools are used in almost every other graphic design program, and they are used in other Adobe programs as well. If you learn any of the keyboard commands, you can use those in all programs; they’re universal. Programs like Photoshop can help you build a foundation in graphic design and give you the building blocks for a successful future with all photo editing programs. 

Graphic design skills can help you stand out. Don’t get left behind.

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