Brandan Craft is a practicing designer, entrepreneur and educator. Some of the many classes he teaches revolve around branding, interactivity, motion and user experience design. He is currently the brand director for the apparel company Flat Out of Heels and UI/UX & Branding Lead for ERinfo, a medical-based mobile app. Brandan believes that design is a problem-solving activity that forces us to understand why a problem exists before attacking how the problem should be solved. Focusing on the why in order to reinforce the how allows us to break down complex problems with the goal of coming up with high-quality solutions.
Upon completing his undergraduate studies at The University of Pittsburgh, Craft was hired as a visual communication designer on Nationwide Insurance's usability and design team. After seven years at Nationwide, he decided to attend The Ohio State University to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree.
He has taught at The Ohio State University, Columbus State Community College and Florida Atlantic University. He was a full time professor at Florida A&M University's School of Journalism and Graphic Communication for five years and spent about three years tasked with developing and teaching online design courses at Digital Media Arts College.
B.A., University of Pittsburgh
M.F.A., The Ohio State University
Teaching design as a problem-solving activity forces an understanding of why a problem exists while training students on how that problem should or should not be solved.
Craft sometimes uses the analogy that a designer, in some ways, is akin to an interpreter or translator. An interpreter helps two or more parties who speak different languages to communicate effectively. A designer also helps clients and their customers communicate by using design to translate messages visually. The problem lies in how to best translate the client's message to the user. The path becomes more clear when instruments such as training, research, testing and historical precedence are used to explain why a certain interpretation will or will not succeed.
Pertaining to the aforementioned design requests, students are taught why drawn wireframes are important, why site architecture matters and why user personas contribute heavily to the design of a website. When it comes to branding, when students understand what elements make a brand mark successful and why, they are better equipped to execute when the time comes to create one. Knowing that a feature on a proposed mobile app will not work because of testing done with paper prototypes is very helpful. Knowing why that feature did not work is invaluable and will help when proposing a better solution.
Visual communication designers are now, more than ever, expected to be problem solvers within an organization, corporation, firm or on their own. By focusing on the why in order to reinforce the how, design students should have the ability to break down complex problems in order to produce high-quality solutions with limited assistance.
Areas of scholarship
- UI/UX design
- Brand design
- Graphic design
- Motion design