Eye for Design, Passion for Teaching: Interactive Media & Graphic Design Leader

Posted by on January 7, 2014

Brandon Bombeck, program chair for the Interactive Media and Graphic Design (IMGD) department at Minnesota School of Business–St. Cloud (MSB), has designed a boat wrap graphic for Vikings defensive end, Jared Allen, and a sound system case wrap for country singer, Luke Bryan. Both were really cool and rewarding. But teaching graphic design is Bombeck’s passion. And that’s cool, too.

Bombeck graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Design Technology from Bemidji State. He later worked as a designer in a sign shop and as a photographer. In college, he thought hard about teaching but felt that he first needed real world experience.

Brandon Bombeck, Interactive Media and Graphic Design program chair

After moving to St. Cloud, an informal reference led him to MSB-St. Cloud, and he was hired as an IMGD instructor. Bombeck quickly became department chair.

“The students motivate me,” he says. “It’s great watching their progression. There can be so much confusion in this field with new and unfamiliar programs. It’s rewarding to see them finally figure it out; to physically see the light bulb turn on, and to be the one to teach it.”

Bombeck enjoys the fun and creative things the IMGD program offers. “Especially here,” he notes, “where it’s not just classroom projects but real-life situations.”

He adds that the student association does an incredible job seeking out businesses and organizations to partner with on actual jobs. One example would be the St. Cloud Downtown Council’s Santa Fun Run and Winter Nights and Lights Parade. IMGD association students sought out the non-profit, interviewed over the phone and then designed a proposal for the event. The St. Cloud Downtown Council chose them to create both digital and print images for billboards and posters that circulated throughout the city, marketing the annual events.

“It was outstanding,” Bombeck says with pride.

Bombeck also brings the real world into the classroom with guest speakers and exposes his students to industry experts through off-campus tours. He knows the importance of networking, and he also knows that students sometimes take things more seriously when it comes from the expert.

“I can lecture them all day on shutter speeds and apertures,” he cites as an example. “But when [professional photographer] Nick Campbell comes in and is so passionate, everybody connects. It’s another point of view. Someone in the industry who can talk about specific trends, practices and skills.”

Bombeck cautions his students that there is no guarantee on jobs out there, and he advises them “to step outside your bubble.” He urges them to take risks and to realize their business is face-to-face.

“You can’t be shy,” he tells them. “You have to be confident.”

Besides his colorful job history prior to teaching, Bombeck always leaves his students with A Few Random Facts about Me:

  1.       I’ve had glasses since I was six-months old.
  2.       I enjoy the outdoors even though I’m a geek.
  3.       I wasn’t into drawing and design until my second year of college.

The lessons appear to be:

  1.       Don’t let obstacles hold you back.
  2.       Don’t let others define you.
  3.       Realize you don’t have to have it all figured out at the beginning. There’s a lot of growth ahead.

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