Meet Carmen Schaefer – Head of Creative Department and design/art direction lecturer. A meticulous detailer with a holistic design aesthetic and a strong focus on typography, she knows how to nurture talent and bring out the best in students. She is also the primary driver of our exciting, new online Graphic Design course.
I am determined to teach every student to…
Do proper in-depth research, always use uncoated paper, avoid Arial or any other system font, never design without a concept, always align left, and last but not least: never cry about your studies/ job. In the greater scheme of things, it’s not worth crying over (even though I don’t always follow that last bit of advice myself).
What is the best thing about lecturing?
I love seeing concepts that make me smile or laugh: when students have unexpected and charmingly delightful ideas. I love making mood boards: fonts, shapes and colour schemes.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Achieving every single degree: my own and my students. Also when my students win awards, get amazing jobs, start their own companies. I am proud of the ISTD (International Society of Typographic Designers) memberships my students achieved, because it’s based on impeccable typographic practice. Another great moment is mentoring the students who designed the brand identity for the Nelson Mandela Children’s hospital. Not only was it awarded a Gold Pendoring, it’s still up on the building today.
How do you transform lives?
I would never assume that I could turn an entire life around! But every time one of my students gets married or breaks up with a person not good for them, I take credit. Because I’m a relationship guru (or that’s what I tell myself – I’m not sure if anyone else would agree).
Sidebar: Carmen is quirky – that’s why we love her!
Before lecturing, were you involved in industry?
Yes, I was a Graphic Designer focusing mainly on corporate identities and publications. I still remember printing of presentations at 2am in order to meet ridiculous deadlines.
Do you have any side-line ventures?
Yes, I regularly design book covers for an academic book publisher. I love coming up with the ideas that enhance what the author intended to convey in the book. Studying and researching educational issues, and sometimes I make oil paintings. Of my students, of course!
BAFA (Information Design); MA Interactive Media Design. PGDip in Tertiary Education (in progress).