Hello! I’m Peter Bella
Mentor, Thinker, Creative, Designer
Professor of Art | Graphic Design
University of Central Arkansas
Excitement! I’ll say it again and again. I had fallen in love with teaching since the beginning—the energy I find in instructing young creatives is unexplainable and I strive from it. My name is Pete Bella and I’m a design educator through the art and design of visual communications. I currently am an Assistant Professor at the University of Central Arkansas with the Art Department. Previously I taught as an Assistant Professor at Indiana University–Purdue University in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and have also taught at Shepherd University in the School of Arts and Humanities in the Department of Contemporary Art and Theater as a Visiting Assistant Professor and as a Lecturer with the Communication Design department in the School of Arts & Humanities at Buffalo State College in Buffalo, New York. I have also assisted as an adjunct faculty member in the undergraduate graphic design program within the School of Design in the College of Imaging Arts & Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology.
Contributing to communication design and typography as well as being an inspirational educator and a valued colleague are fundamental to me as a communication design scholar. My research and creative endeavor aspirations are to expose audiences and students to new ideas and perspectives within communication design and typography. Through these endeavors I question established conventions in a historical, technological, social, and cultural context suggesting future opportunities for emergent practices within communication design and the application/relation of typography. When it comes to the relationship between form and content in current communication design perspectives, I feel strongly that we once lived in a world where communication design was about the form of communication—meaning, what form does it take?—as in form follows function. As that is still true; I also feel today it has become much more. In current communication design the designer needs to consider not only the form and the content, but also the context in which we are designing. Factors such as integrated innovation, user experience, socioeconomics, psychographics, etc. are just as meaningful, if not more, as typography, grid structure, imagery, color, and so on within design. Simply, design can be a purposeful creation of value in a society. This pedagogy and exploration has permitted me to integrate and intertwine distinctive and unique experiences and perspectives into my classroom instruction.
I couple my impassioned pedagogy with my profound desire for communication design and typography to promote student discovery through an engaging curriculum that expands and strengthens their creative-thinking appetite. I have instructed a diverse selection of courses comprising: Graphic Design History, Computer Graphics, Introduction to Typography, Introduction to Graphic Design, Identity and Branding, Publication Design, New Media and Web Design, and Concept Symbolism. Additionally, I have assisted in internship and capstone thesis courses with review and critic of students’ work and progress towards their graduation. I find motivation in Robin Landa, Distinguished Professor in the Robert Busch School of Design at Kean University and recipient of numerous awards and honors, as she is an advocate committed to communication design and its instruction. Landa shared, “If you’ve done well it’s your obligation to spend a good portion of your time sending the elevator back down.” I embody these ideals within my pedagogy as well within my research. Through these experiences I’ve fostered a belief that the students’ academic endeavors should—first and foremost—follow their aspirations and passions. By this commitment to student learning and growth, I offer a vibrant learning environment communicating to students my belief in their abilities, ambitions, and objectives.
My enthusiasm for communication design and typography has permitted me to enjoy an array of scholarly service. Currently I am a peer reviewer for Design Incubation, a national organizer of peer reviewed colloquia, design fellowships, and educators’ awards. Regionally I contribute to the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Design Educators Community with the Indianapolis Chapter of the AIGA. Locally I am a board member of the American Advertising Federation, Fort Wayne, where I serve as Education Committee Vice President and serve on the Programs and Awards Committees. I also serve on the Faculty Academy on Excellence in Teaching (FACET) Teaching Coalition for Student Engagement, and have been chosen as a Summit Scholars Program interviewer.
Now is my time to give back and my ambition is, sending the elevator back down. Quotes such as Mies Van Der Rohe’s “Less is more” is legendary. A Stefan Sagmeister quote, “Complaining is silly. Either act or forget,” has always resonated with me. Each day there is less time to share our knowledge with others. Therefore, realizing time is limiting the further we travel along the road of life, I am guided to energetically explore and return to knowledge concerning this miraculous world of communication design. In closing I would like to leave you with a personal quote I always share with students; “I’d rather shoot for the stars and land on the moon than reach for the mountain tops and settle in the foothills.”
Imagine the possibilities…