By Michele Cohen
Emily Colburn teaches in both the Digital Media for Print & Web and the Web + Interactive Design Certificate programs through Continuing Education at Moore. Her web design courses cover topics such as HTML, CSS, web design, wire-framing, best practices and the user experience.
While Colburn has taught web design before to undergraduates at Temple’s Tyler School of Art, this is her first time teaching nontraditional-age students. So far, she said the transition has been smooth. As a design professional, she can relate to the students on a different level.
“Continuing Education students are more invested because they are paying for the courses themselves and they will put in the work because of it,” she said. “Most of my students have full-time jobs and less free time.”
A graduate of Tyler’s MFA program in Graphic & Interactive Design, Colburn earned her BFA with a concentration in Graphic Design from Millersville University. She is currently the lead interactive designer at Petplan pet insurance in Newtown Square, PA. There, she is responsible for the creation of digital design projects and oversees digital brand standards. Prior to her current role, Colburn was a senior designer for Petplan, designing a wide range of marketing collateral for both print and web.
“I really like my full-time job so it’s fun for me to talk (to students) about the web and get people to think about it,” she said. “If you’re going to be a designer, you want to be in Web because that’s where the higher-paying jobs and opportunities are.”
The classes offered through Moore are a great way to introduce web design to individuals who want to diversify their skill set or pursue a new career, she said. The Web + Interactive Design program was developed to prepare students with the technical understanding and proficiencies to work in the complex and continually evolving multimedia field of web design.
“Web is always changing. It challenges me and my students to keep up with the trends,” Colburn said. “There are a lot of training videos on the web, but one-on-one learning and instruction in small classes is always better.”
Colburn became interested in art at a young age. Her mom was an artist who pursued graphic design. She said she was always drawing or coloring at home.
“I thought I would be a painter in college, but I took one graphic design course – and I was hooked,” she said. “It made complete sense to me. I like how I can be really creative but it’s also about problem solving. In interactive design, you can create interactions that you can’t in print. You can also reach a wider audience and connect to different things. It’s more immediate.”
After earning her BFA, Colburn worked at a small design studio in Kennett Square, PA. After graduate school and a brief fellowship in San Francisco, she took the position at Petplan, one of the largest pet insurance companies in the nation. She has been with the company since 2013.
“In Europe, 30 percent of pets are insured and in the U.S. it’s only 1 percent,” she said. “It’s a growing market. What really drew me to the company was that they are all about keeping the brand fun and fresh. We have a lot of fun and have the freedom to do different things.”
In the future, Colburn hopes to become a creative director. She is a big supporter of Moore and the program in Web + Interactive Design.
“If you’re a designer, you should know and understand the web,” she said. “It’s only going to become more integrated in everything we do. Everyone should understand how it works.”
Learn more about Emily at emilycolburn.com