ACADEMY OF ART UNIVERSITY
Thomas McNulty has served as a brand and package design consultant for over 30 years in United States and in Europe, and has been teaching at Academy of Art University in San Francisco since 1991. He has worked with various industry powerhouses over the course of his career, including renowned designer Robert Miles Runyan, Enterprise IG, CF NAPA, and Dublin-based marketing agency Neworld Associates. He has successfully managed and directed many multinational brand and packaging programs for Apple, Anheuser Busch, Anomaly Vineyards, Coca-Cola, Mrs. Fields, Oracle, The Hershey Company, Logitech, Charles Krug Winery, Lynch Vineyards, Safeway Stores, and Trinchero Family Estates. Thomas has also won numerous awards and recognition for design excellence, and has been published in American Corporate Identity, Communication Arts, GDUSA, Graphis, Graphic Design Showcase Publication, International Packaging, PRINT, How Magazine, CMYK, and Graphic Design Business Association. He is co-founder and vice president of Profile Design, which is feathered as a leading graphic design agency in the San Francisco area.
HOW AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO MAKE EDUCATION A MEANINGFUL PART OF YOUR CAREER?
Education has always been an integral part of my life and career as a designer. I was invited to teach evening classes at Academy of Art in San Francisco 27 years ago, and now I serve as a full-time professor and Associate Director for the School of Graphic Design. What I appreciate most as an educator is you never stop learning because you engage with students every day, seeking to find answers to complex problems. I get to teach design and also foster passionate and eager students, and help them fulfill their dreams of becoming a successful designer.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE THE TEACHING OF FUNDAMENTALS VERSUS THE NEED TO RESPOND TO OUR FAST-CHANGING WORLD OF MEDIA, TECHNOLOGY AND CULTURE?
We live in a time where technology and media have changed the way we communicate with one another and how we problem-solve design. As an educator, I find that young designers are eager to find their answers too quickly through the internet or simply forget to take the time to observe what is around them. I find this especially true for package designers working in 3D form and product design. I encourage my students to think outside the box as designers and storytellers. Taking a moment to look around, you might be surprised what you can learn.