John is a visiting professor at Pratt Institute and City University of New York’s New York City Technical College.
As creative director, art director, designer and illustrator John De Santis has always had a keen interest in integrating education and multidisciplinary design studies into his varied working environments. By combining disciplines such as design principles and interpersonal skills he tries to develop multifaceted designers.
In a classroom or studio I strive to teach the professional rigors of design thinking and the realities of creative design combined with client expectations. The ultimate goal is to impart practical, professional creative thinking and communications to students.
In teaching, I strive not only to pass on the skills and knowledge that are part of my design practice but also to impart the students with passion for design. I wish to instill an awareness of the responsibilities that designing for a client entails. I try to focus on the working environment and design methods in an on the job environment. I place emphasis on students ability to market and effectively present themselves to prospective clients and competition. The thinking process and how to apply creative to the final objective will be stressed under the same constraints as potential work environment.
Analysis on the concept behind a solution and teach students how to generate strong ideas though research and analysis. Focus on targeting the right audience, and recognizing client and consumer trends and behaviors.
Developments in the design field are addressed. I highlight designing on global scale, and the blurring of boundaries between the design disciplines. I also discuss issues related to working in international markets. I encourage students to become involved in the local design and business community.
Projects are presented in a client designer critique situations, where students explain and defend their choices. The class then reacts and gives feedback. I encourage the use of visual vocabulary to express concepts and design.
To prepare students for employment, I address issues such as personal brand and portfolio development, internships and gaining work experience.
Design Education in Practice
As creative director at Webb Communications, De Santis has hosted and guided international college level interns through design education and career development. He designed and supervised college credited design and marketing internships for international university students through J1Visa exchange programs. These internships focused on training programs in graphic design, marketing, new media design and online marketing. The design component was one part of these internships. An equal (if not more) focus was placed on the operations of a design studio. Through supervision and evaluation interns learned: client interaction, presentations skills, marketing research skills, and online marketing. Students were evaluated at completion of each internship course.
He works with university/ college administrators, deans, public school administrators, and teachers as the artistic director of Italian Heritage and Culture Committee of New York. He designs annual educational campaigns consisting of branding and educational materials. His focus is to develop educational materials distributed to colleges, universities, private and public schools throughout New York City and state.
De Santis launched a education custom publishing company to design and produce educational posters for museums, schools and national parks across the country. These works include United States history and Italian language themed educational posters. His work is featured at: The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, The Statue of Liberty Ellis Island, The Newseum, The Independence Hall National Park, Philadelphia, Gettysburg Civil War Museum and others.