The Reynolds School of Journalism Expands Visual Communication Track with addition of Amber Walsh, Lecturer of Visual Design
In a flurry of new additions, the Reynolds School is welcoming designer Amber Walsh, MFA, as a lecturer of visual design. Walsh looks forward to teaching her students how visual design and communication works in conjunction with journalism, noting that the two have become increasingly intertwined.
“There are so many parallels between visual communication and journalism,” Walsh said. “The core at what we do is communication, so how we do that varies according to audience and context in order to most effectively develop appropriate and relevant visual design solutions. Traditionally, graphic design has been put in art schools, and to me, that doesn’t quite align because designers are very different from fine artists.”
Walsh earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design from University of Texas at Arlington, her Master of Fine Arts from the University of North Texas, and comes by way of Baylor University where she taught students about the fundamentals of visual design.
After getting her start right out high school working for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Abilene, Walsh’s career in visual design has spanned almost 20 years.
Walsh says she feels the work of visual designers is ubiquitous and integral to helping audiences get the information they need. Visual communication now extends beyond photography to include infographics, maps, video production and more.
“There’s usually a visual that pulls our audience into the story,” Walsh said. “That visual needs to be able to pull your audience in and hook them so that they do read the story and that they are getting the information that you’re trying to disperse out to them.”
Walsh’s addition is part of an expansion of the visual design track at the Reynolds School, noting that with the increasingly digital nature of communications, visual communication and design are an important part of any communicator’s toolbox whether they are in advertising, public relations or journalists.
“The faculty recently took a trip to AJ+ in the Bay Area, and they had an entire group of animators whose jobs were to design their explainer videos,” Walsh said. “To know that those roles are there affirms that it’s not always just about writing the story with words, although that’s definitely part of what the journalism agencies are doing. It’s also about looking at what the other components of communication are and best preparing our students for that.”
For more information about Walsh or the undergraduate and graduate programs offered at the Reynolds School visit journalism.unr.edu.