Denise Anderson

Educator photo

Transitioning students successfully from design education to professional practice has been my primary pedagogical focus since I joined the faculty of the Michael Graves College in 2013. To ensure that MGC students are well-equipped to achieve their career goals in the continuously evolving, highly competitive design industry, I have consistently prioritized two areas of study: design entrepreneurship and graphic design portfolio development.
My current research project, MGCSync, is a technology-based solution that empowers design students to find employment, internships, and freelancing opportunities that connect them directly to industry professionals. My mentorship role—guiding students through the process of developing their idea, art directing their work, and teaching them how to write a business plan—helped two students Second Place in the Kean Business Plan Competition (2019: Frank Mellana, “Trauma”; 2018: Christopher Hopkins, “Forte”). Since 2017, I have been a lead mentor in Kean’s EEO/EOF “Circle of 8” program and Research Aligned Mentor (RAM) program, a First in the World grant-sponsored initiative. In 2020, I humbly accepted the EEO/EOF “Circle of 8 Lead Mentor Award.”
The fundamentals of my approach to portfolio development in the classroom are laid out in my book, Stand Out: Design a Personal Brand, Build a Killer Portfolio, and Find a Great Design Job (Peachpit Press: 2016), which outlines a step-by-step process for students to create a visual identity that reveals their authentic brand, to build a body of work that represents the style, type, and industry-specific work they want to do, and to find a job that launches their career in the design field.
Informed by over three decades of professional experience as a graphic designer, brand strategist, entrepreneur, and proprietor of the award-winning creative firm DesignDMA, I am uniquely qualified to implement educational protocols that address the creation of branding strategies and corporate identities for entities ranging in scale from small start-ups to multi-national businesses. Before establishing DesignDMA, I served in the financial services industry as the Director of Marketing Services for Pershing, a BNY Mellon company where, working with internal clients, I oversaw all the firm’s creative projects.