Instructor Spotlight: Ken Miller

Written by Mary Lock Albrecht

In late 1987, Ken Miller left his job as graphic designer at the Philadelphia Inquirer and headed west to Madison. His mission: to re-design the Wisconsin State Journal and to introduce Macintosh computers to the editorial newsroom.

“The introduction consisted of one computer, a printer, and a scanner—and it cost around $10,000 because everything was so new and so expensive in those days,” Miller recalls.

Ken MillerThe redesign involved every aspect of the paper from the nameplate to restructuring the pace of the paper. Miller won an award from the Society of Publication Design for that exhaustive project.

“Working in the newspaper industry was rewarding, and a lot of fun. I thoroughly enjoyed putting out something on a daily basis and reinventing myself every day,” he says.

In 1987, Miller began teaching seminars on using graphic design software at UW-Madison. He remembers starting with the MacDraw program. Since then he has also conducted design seminars for Associated Press Association and for newspapers and companies in other states. He was hired to teach Introduction to Publication and Design for the Department of Mass Communication at UW-Milwaukee, and to teach graphic art at Mount Mary College in Milwaukee. He was recently named assistant professor of art.

“I continue to practice as a consultant and a free lance designer,” Miller added.  This real-world experience keeps him in touch with the rapidly changing industry of graphic design. Keeping active as a designer also keeps Miller on top of the important software used in the field.

At UW-Madison programs, he enjoys the variety of students that he meets. “The participants in my programs range from absolute beginners in graphics and some that are  self-taught to some very knowledgeable people. Some know that things can be done better and easier and want to find out how; others are looking for a solution to some complicated problems. I try to help out everyone.”

Miller appreciates the good student/teacher ratio. Classes consist of no more than 14 students. “This makes the teaching and the learning much easier,” he points out.

This fall, Miller will share his many years of experience with course participants as he teaches several programs. Check out upcoming publication and web design workshops.