Digital Design: Where Technology and Talent Come Together

Digital design students work on Adobe Illustrator.

Neal Waites

Digital design students work on Adobe Illustrator.

Neal Waites, Features Editor

WOODBURY — Whether you realize it or not, digital design is around us everywhere. From posters hung up on the walls to billboards on the side of the road to advertisements and commercials, digital design is always prevalent. It has become a career for some who are able to combine technology and art to the best of their abilities.

Nonnewaug’s digital design courses, taught by Genna Riggi, teach kids how to use computer programs such as Adobe Illustrator to create digital art. 

“In digital design, students learn how to make images have meaning without using the power of words. There are a lot of skills offered by the programs, specifically by Adobe,” Riggi said. “Students are typically taught one program at a time; the more advanced students know when and how to use the programs together.”

Senior Ava Witte, a Digital Design 1 student, said that she likes the fact that she can learn skills while also practicing creativity.

Genna Riggi teaches her digital design students how to use certain tools on Adobe Illustrator. (Neal Waites)

“We learned how to use all of the tools on Adobe Illustrator, and do projects that let us practice using those tools while keeping a sense of self-expression with each of our projects,” Witte said.

“Kids are taught one program at a time,” said Riggi. “Things that are taught include logo design, typography, poster design, editorial layouts, bookmaking, digital painting and illustration, branding, and more.”

These skills allow kids to put their creativity to the test, and can even be a career path for some.

“These skills can definitely be used for career paths, specifically those that have to do with design, web design, illustration, branding animation, freelance,” Riggi said. “There are so many options.”

Not only can it be a career path, but it’s also an important life skill.

“If students don’t want to go into this as a career, [it’s still good that] they have this under their belt as it primarily teaches them how to have good visual craftsmanship to present themselves on paper one day, such as a resume, for example,” Riggi said. 

It also serves as a good way to improve your communication skills through visual art and animation.

Jiaqi Xie, left, and Kayla Hall work on digital design projects. (Neal Waites)

“It teaches students how to communicate visually with society and in their community, and [its] important to be able to communicate visually,” Riggi said.

The class proves popular with students.

“We’ve learned a lot so far, and it’s a class I look forward to every day,” said senior Diego Razo. “None of the work feels overwhelming, and it’s honestly such a relaxing class.”

If you are interested in a future career path involving digital design, want to improve your art and graphic skills, or just want to take an enjoyable course and pick up a life skill while you’re at it, the digital design program here at Nonnewaug is the perfect place for you.