Visual Culture

By Normandale Continuing Education

Visual Culture:

The Demand for Design

"Effective design is so much more than artistry. It encompasses a mix of skills that are now crossing into a growing number of positions and fields." -Grant Chandler, Graphic and Web Design Instructor

More than ever, organizations compete for eye-share, mind-share and brand-share, whether they are communicating with their customers, employees or partners. Good design becomes great design when it is tied to a strategy. 

Normandale's Graphic and Web Design certificate program has become a popular and affordable way for working adults to build design-focused, career-building competencies.


Normandale's lead instructor, Grant Chandler, explains "Effective design is so much more than artistry. It encompasses a mix of skills that are now crossing into a growing number of positions and fields." Students from all backgrounds enroll in the Graphic and Web Design program - designers, entrepreneurs, administrative assistants, programmers, instructional designers, teachers...the list is endless. 

Melanie SchumacherWhile the program is largely organized according to the tools in the Adobe Creative Suite, what sets this series apart is the focus on applying business strategy to visual design. Grant approaches teaching from the perspective of a designer, consultant and developer as well as a visual thinker, problem solver and strategist. In each course, participants learn to apply tools and techniques to their own design goals, which culminates in a portfolio project.


When looking at Melanie Schumacher's resume, anyone would be impressed by her experience as a graphic designer. What isn't as apparent, though, is that she is something of a renaissance woman. She is a gifted illustrator and painter as well as entrepreneur, farmer, wife, mother and perpetual learner.

After researching several programs, Melanie enrolled in Normandale's Web Design certificate. As she explains, "I knew that I wanted to up my technical skills as a designer. And, I'm also interested in exploring how design connects to areas like UX (user experience). This program offered that real-world perspective for how the work of designers is changing."


Katie Goodwin and Miranda JerabekKatie Goodwin and Miranda Jerabek are part of a rapidly changing team at Regis Corporation that supports their hundreds of franchise operators around the country. With a new web platform on the way, they are taking on additional responsibilities. Normandale's program has provided them with the skills to improve their own work and to lessen what is currently being outsourced. Katie explains that as their knowledge continues to grow, so does their confidence. She says, "Everything is so visual today, and these tools are critical to helping us succeed. I know now that we can do this work in a way that improves efficiency, saves money and looks great."


As an employer, Hennepin County is committed to advancing the skills and abilities of their employees. Julie Longshore, Carol Cavazos and

David Wood know this first hand. While they each have different roles, they work together as an e-learning development team.

While progressing through Normandale's web design program, Julie shared "this program is helping us create great experiences for our employees. When that happens, employees learn faster and retain more." Carol adds, "by taking the program as a team, we now have a common understanding for how we can think things through, test and validate our ideas and create more appealing learning solutions." 

"I have learned more in one day with Grant than when I took an entire semester course at a university." -David Wood, eLearning Developer for Hennepin County


David Wood, Carol Cavazos, Julie LongshoreEvery design task provides an opportunity to learn and teach. Miranda Jerabek from Regis explains that in the classes at Normandale, "You are encouraged to speak up and share with the class how you do things. Everybody learns from everybody."

Our classes are shaped by the goals and interests of our learners and the demands of the marketplace. If you or your organization are interested in seeing how design can be combined with strategy to create stunning results, call Normandale at 952-358-8343.