Faculty Spotlight: Craig Jobson
By Jon Graef (MA '12)
As digital media overtakes physical product, Art + Design Associate Professor Craig Jobson comfortably straddles the line between both.
A faculty member of Columbia since 1997, Jobson teaches Intermediate Typography and two Publishing Design classes. Between teaching responsibilities, Jobson also runs Lark Sparrow Press, a small letterpress and poster work company based in Evanston, where he resides.
Through his teaching, Jobson is able to combine his educational and professional projects in an artistically rewarding environment for both faculty and students.
“I find Columbia College just a fascinating place to be,” Jobson said. “We have close to 350 full-time faculty and nearly every one of those is some kind of artist.”
In class, Jobson shows his students what he’s learned from many years working on design for companies like McDougal-Littell, where he was design director, and as national art director for American Heart Association in Dallas, Texas.
Jobson shows students how to make their own publishing and typography designs, by using both digital techniques and traditional methods. Students use computers to plan their art but then transfer the digital images onto magnesium plates. Magnesium plates are soft metals that allow digital information to be stored on a letterpress. Through the letterpress technique, a surface is inked then pressed onto a sheet of paper to obtain an image.
Artists can then put the plates into the press, and fill in their designs with ink. Once the artists press the paper down to the plate, the image is then transferred.
Jobson and his students work with students in fiction writing, graphic design, and illustration to create a wide variety of projects, including Zine Columbia, a magazine featuring short stories illustrated with experimental typography.
Although Jobson admits that what he teaches his students will be outdated within five to six years, he says that by passing along curiosity and encouraging lifelong learning, students can take what they learn at Columbia and use it to continue growing in the professional field.
Jobson says adaptability is key in any field. He had to learn how to use computers in his profession by going back to school—which took him to Columbia College, blocks away from where he was working at the time.
His professor, Kay Hartmann, was teaching publication design. Encouraged by the supportive environment in the classroom, Jobson asked Hartmann to let him know when any faculty positions came up. One did, in 1997, and Jobson was hired. He’s taught at Columbia ever since, and says he is grateful for the school’s artistic bent.
“The overwhelming amount of art experiences that you can have on this campus—it’s just unlimited,” Jobson said. “I tell my friends who aren’t teachers and aren’t involved with Columbia that, seven days a week, I’m surrounded by opportunities to be around amazing art.”