Solving Visual Problems

"If I can teach kids to think creatively and to solve visual problems with effective solutions, they are going to be more employable,” says Ron Lana. “They are going to have a brighter future.”

Lana, OBU associate professor of art, has a definite vision for the University’s newest academic major.

OBU’s bachelor of arts degree program in graphic design was launched at the start of the 2007-08 academic year. It is one of the most versatile fields of communication, and which offers OBU a lot of potential for growth, according to the veteran designer.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to make the program an effective educational opportunity,” said Lana, who previously taught at the Art Institute of California and Grand Canyon University.

In his 30 years of graphic design, Lana has done advertisements internationally while working as a creative director for a worldwide advertising firm. He said his primary focus on the program at OBU is to teach students how progressive and fast-paced the field is in today’s market.

Lana said he supports the liberal arts approach to learning graphic design because of the broader knowledge base the well-rounded education provides.

“As a professional graphic designer, you never know who is going to walk in your door,” he said. “You never know what the project is going to be next.”

Lana’s teaching philosophy is designed to help students think critically and know how to respond to tough questions and pressure situations.

“You have to learn to research and think and work within marketing constraints, to come up with effective and efficient solutions visually because anybody can make a pretty picture, but does it sell?” Lana said.

“I want my students to find their creative voice and learn to defend it,” he said. “It can be an aggressive field, and there is going to be somebody who is going to say ‘it stinks.’ You have to learn to ask why, handle good criticism and maybe make some alterations.”