Auburn professor named a Graphic Design USA 2018 Educator to Watch

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Robert Finkel, associate professor of graphic design at Auburn University, was named an “Educator to Watch” in 2018 by Graphic Design USA.

Graphic Design USA initiated its “Educators to Watch” feature in 2017 because “design education and educators have more influence than ever on the fast-changing shape of design, media and culture.” For the second year, an Auburn graphic design professor has been included on this prestigious list. Fellow graphic design Associate Professor Courtney Windham was on the inaugural list.

Finkel joined the graphic design faculty in the School of Industrial + Graphic Design in 2012. He teaches courses in graphic design history, corporate identity design, letterpress printing and design for social good, while maintaining an active design practice.

“Teaching has helped me clarify my own design process and to be more intentional and reflective in the projects I pursue,” says Finkel. “Every day I’m around curious and enthusiastic designers—both students and colleagues. The reciprocal nature of the student-teacher relationship is motivating and inspirational.”

Finkel’s work has received numerous awards. Alabama Workshop[s] Toolkit, created by Finkel and Sheri Schumacher, associate professor emerita of architecture, was selected for the Communication Arts Magazine Design Annual in 2017.  Honors that Finkel and his team of graphic designers have received for the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art Third Thursday’s Poetry Letterpress Broadsides Series include a Gold Award from the University & College Designers Association Design Competition as well as awards from the 45th Annual UCDA Design Competition, “Creative Quarterly 38/39,” and “Signs of the Times: Juried Broadside Exhibition” at North Dakota University. Finkel’s identity design for locally-based company, Hunter Construction, was selected for inclusion in the South section of the 75th Anniversary Edition of the Print Regional Design Annual 2015-2016, and his brochure design for Alabama Workshop[s] was selected as a Runner-up in the Graphic Design Professional category for Creative Quarterly’s Winter Edition (2014).

Finkel received his Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology and sociology from Rhodes College. He is a graduate of the Portfolio Center in Atlanta and received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Florida. He interned at Pentagram under Michael Bierut and was a designer at Slaughter Group in Birmingham where he specialized in corporate identity and branding, and custom letterpress printing and design.

Read more about Finkel on Graphic Design USA’s website:

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.