Joe Schwartz has been a visual designer for almost 30 years,
and still loves doing it every day.
When I told my sixth grade teacher I wanted to be a "commercial artist", I had no full concept at that time of what that would entail. Forty years later, I have been fortunate enough to experience the spectrum of visual design in a career that has been very rewarding. I stayed focused and was able to package up that early enthusiasm into a career that has taken me from a small Jersey shore ad agency to New York City studios to one of the biggest stages in the world with the NBA.
There are few designers around who started their careers by creating marker comps and mechanicals, then successfully transitioned to digital. Having a foot in both worlds has given me a depth of knowledge that not many can appreciate. That I have been able to parlay these experiences into a successful teaching career is just icing on the cake.
In my role as a high school design teacher I have shown more than 1000 students the possibilities of being in a world surrounded by design and how they might be a part of it. As a design professor, I have informed the young designers in my care that they have a tremendous weight to bear if they want to be taken seriously and that the level of their success is in their hands if they choose.
As an advocate for design education, I have written, lectured and presented numerous times on the role that design can play in helping shape the lives of students in K-12 schools. As a co-founder of the DESIGN-ED coalition, I have sought to help other teachers in their quest as well, to fuel their fires of using design as a tool for teaching and learning.
Through all this, I always look around and ask "What's next?", as any serious designer should.
I'm not done yet, and never will be.
Kudos to anyone who knows where this photograph was taken. You're a true design fan!