Student work created in the ACX Teens course Design 360°
Details of student work created in the ACX Teens course Design 360°.

feature / artcenter-extension / faculty / alumni / graphic-design
September 01, 2020
By Solvej Schou
Images courtesy of Christian Perez-Morin


In the ACX Teens course Design 360°, students explore the wide world of ArtCenter’s degree programs, including Advertising, Environmental Design, Film, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography and Imaging, Product Design and Transportation Design. ACX Teens is ArtCenter’s extension program of art and design courses for high school students in grades 9 through 12.

“The course shows students that design and art disciplines are connected to each other,” says designer and alumnus Christian Perez-Morin (BFA 12 Graphic Design), who co-teaches Design 360° with artist Gabriella Carboni. “It’s a simple way for someone to try out multiple disciplines without committing to a certain area of study,” he adds. “It shows students their options.”

With Fall ACX Teens courses being taught remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Perez-Morin and Carboni have focused their course on communicating and verbalizing ideas, and on drawing skills as an essential way to express those ideas. “During this time, as we find ourselves more dependent than ever on technology, we’re actually pulling our students away from the computer as much as possible,” says Perez-Morin.

In the course, students choose a topic to focus on, then develop a product and brand related to that topic. In each class, students explore their brand through the lens of a different ArtCenter degree program, says Carboni. They’ll make a brand logo for Graphic Design. They’ll draw the product itself, exploring Product Design. They’ll design a space that represents the brand, for Environmental Design. Students will also learn the process of printmaking and making prints, for Fine Art, and will use flexible tape to create a car on a wall, for Transportation Design.

“We start with lectures that show a variety of work made in the specific field, and then move into creating projects,” says Carboni. “Our class is perfect for students who are creative and find themselves interested in visual arts, but don’t know where to start.”

Perez-Morin, whose clients include Acura and Girl Skateboards, emphasizes the importance of creativity, problem-solving, art and design during this unprecedented time—for both teens and adults.

“Serious problems need to be solved, and designers can help by using their talents for humanitarian, environmental and social initiatives,” he says. “Art can also bring people joy and purpose in a time of fear and confusion. Art reminds us of the beauty in the world.”

ACX Teens faculty members Christian Perez-Morin and Gabriella Carboni.
ACX Teens faculty members Christian Perez-Morin and Gabriella Carboni.