Learning Through Teaching

By Maece Seirafi


In order for me to charge more I realized that not only did my mind set had to change but so did my tone and communication level with clients. The way I framed my presentations, presented my arguments that backed up the work that I did for so long, all had to change,  if I were to see significant change in my business. Taking myself out my comfort zone was something that had to be done without question. I just didn’t know what it was exactly. I evaluated my skill sets that I was very proficient in and found parallels to the services that my clients where coming to me for. I realized with my form-making skills to create illustrations, logos, and intricate work I had to start teaching the things that I knew well if I wanted to see my business thrive and grow. Which is when I applied to a few universities in LA for design teaching jobs, until I landed at CalStateLA.


Lecturing and teaching infront of a class of thirty was no easy hurdle to get over, I found myself practicing for hours two days before class began. Only then did I realize that I had completely over-preppared and felt it was a breeze. I taught myself to enjoy teaching design for what it honestly was, to watch my students grow and evolve throughout the semester. I knew that in order to make teaching enjoyable I had to be teaching something that I personally enjoyed in order for my students to feel the same. 


One of the things I started to focus on was retracing my steps for completing a successful branding project, specifically a well executed logo. How can I recreate the necessary steps that I took to design this piece in the most practical yet engaging way? I thought, I had plenty of past client work that I could use. I would take client projects, retrace my process, and dissect the project into fewer steps that were easy to understand. Easy enough for students to follow along and learn through the basic fundamentals and principles of design while applying that knowledge into form. 


Teaching students for a few semesters gave me the opportunity to officially start hiring designers to work alongside me on projects. Slowly my responsibilities shifted to becoming a creative director overseeing a small team of designers for my projects. The duality of the teaching design and overseeing it in my business was a humbling place to be in. The idea of taking a lesson plan that outlined project objectives for students had a direct correlation with assembling a creative brief meant for a design team.


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