SCHOOL OF INDUSTRIAL + GRAPHIC DESIGN
Courtney Hurst-Windham is an Associate Professor of Graphic Design in the School of Industrial + Graphic Design at Auburn University. She teaches courses in Interactive Media, Kinetic Typography, Package Design, and Branding. Before teaching at Auburn, she was a designer in Atlanta GA where she specialized in corporate identity and branding, marketing, web design, and information design. Courtney attended The Rhode Island School of Design where she received a BFA degree in Illustration. In 2009, she received an MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah GA. She says: “I come from a family of bee keepers and master gardeners so it’s no surprise that my work is heavily influenced by patterns in nature. There are endless color palettes, rhythms, and types of motion in nature that filter into my compositions. As a result of a life of observation, I create collages out of repurposed paper materials that most often mimic types of organic motion. All of the work inevitably filters into my teaching which makes for a wonderful feedback loop of inspiration.”
HOW AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO MAKE EDUCATION A MEANINGFUL PART OF YOUR CAREER?
The truth is that even though I had recently received my MFA, teaching was not on my mind. I was completely focused on building up my professional career. However, a surprise opportunity presented itself in 2012 – someone I cared for and respected suggested that I apply for a full time faculty position at Auburn University. I threw my hat into the ring, received the offer, weighed the pros and cons, and accepted the position not knowing what an incredible blessing this path would be for me.
IS THERE A SPECIAL CHALLENGE TO EDUCATING STUDENTS IN 2017 IN LIGHT OF TODAY’S CULTURE OR ECONOMICS OR TECHNOLOGY OR POLITICS OF THIS MOMENT?
In this world of smart phone distractions and Pinterest regurgitation, I have found that many times students need to be led to places where they can find authentic inspiration. Natural patterns and ideas in nature are one of my influencers but sources can be found in many places and are unique to each designer. Though economics can sometimes hinder opportunities to travel, I encourage them to venture outside of their immediate space and keep notebooks of collected items that are interesting to them. For additional inspiration and ideas, I encourage them to listen to podcasts while they work so as to stay in touch with what is happening in the world.