Q&A with Jim Wolf

We are excited to announce the addition of Mr. Jim Wolf to the C3D team! As a Design, Interactivity & Media Arts instructor at Metropolitan Community College, Jim is on a professional sabbatical to further his industry experience and bring that knowledge back to the classroom to better prepare his students for their own careers. Check out a short Q&A to learn more about him and look for his monthly music playlist in January.

Where are you from?

Born and raised in Michigan, two hours north of Detroit, near the “thumb” (holds up hand, points to thumb).

What do you like about living in the Midwest?

This might be cliché, but the people here are very friendly and genuine. After living in a large city for 10 years, Omaha was a refreshing change. There’s room to breathe, literally and figuratively. While I’m not exactly an outdoors person, being surrounded by concrete and asphalt day in and day out can be kind of grim.

How long have you been in the industry?

I began my design career the same year that Netscape Navigator 1.0 was released. I became a full-time design instructor 9 years ago.

Describe an experience that had a significant influence on your career.

While in my final year of college, I went to a design conference with some fellow students. The keynote speaker was a well-known designer, known for using vernacular references. During the Q&A, a young woman (probably a student) asked something along the lines of “Why do you use vernacular references, regardless of the project or client? All your work looks the same.” The designer was, of course, stumped… after an uncomfortable pause, he laughed and then said “Hmmm, well, that’s harsh.” That exchange taught me to be careful about idolizing successful designers, and to look at my process to make sure I’m not putting my own personal style before the needs of a project or client.

What do you like about teaching design?

Preparing someone to enter the design profession is a great responsibility, and I try to deliver on the implicit promise of an education that’s worth the time and money. That sense of responsibility is balanced by vicariously experiencing a sense of wonder and excitement as I help students discover their passion for design.

What are your goals for your time at C3Design?

To not accidentally lean on the self-destruct button? Well, that, and to get some first-hand, practical experience of how a contemporary design studio approaches web design. I’m self-taught, but, I want to see how the pros do it, and you can only learn so much about process by reading blogs and attending speaker events (not that I don’t love doing those things too).

I’d also like to say that I’m very grateful to Corporate Three Design for allowing me to be part of the team during my teaching sabbatical. Taking on the world’s oldest intern was a gracious leap of faith, and I just wanted to acknowledge that generosity!

What do you enjoy doing when you are not teaching or designing?

Lately I’ve been reading a lot (18 books in the last 7 months, but nothing super challenging… mostly fantasy / fiction novels). My long-term hobby has been creating my own remixes. I know dance / club music is perhaps past its heyday, but, it’s fun, and I need a creative hobby that isn’t so closely tied to what I teach / do for a living. And I’m counting the days to the season premiere of Downton Abbey!

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