A Creative Journey

“…technology comes and goes but good ideas sustain.”

In 1991, as a high school sophomore, I began my creative journey as the editor of our newspaper and yearbook. Prior to graduating, I began working as a screen printer’s assistant where I served many clients, including NASA. In junior college, I would go on to work in the outdoor advertising industry with large-format vinyl graphics, on political campaigns, and aero-graphics for a variety of companies. To this day I look back on these tactile, hands-on mediums that laid the foundation for the creative I would become.

As an undergraduate design student at UNF in the late 90’s, the design industry was on the precipice of a digital revolution. The transition from working in Aldus, Quark, and Corel to Adobe, Final Cut, and a host of Macromedia multimedia technologies helped to strengthen my portfolio and aid in building a range of freelance clients, some of which I still serve to this day.

I have had the privilege of working on local, regional, and national design and media projects for a range of clients over the past 31 years. Subsequently, I have built design curricula for six different colleges and universities throughout the country. Looking back I can honestly say, the best design tool I have ever used is a pencil – to tell a good story, to concept, to sketch – technology comes and goes but good ideas sustain.

Enjoy the work.
-Chris

Professional Accomplishments

Featured Accolade:
Troy University Research Grant

Abstract
Broken Ground highlights the crossroads where abandoned capitalism meets visual art. The research will examine the waste that humans leave behind in search of economic prosperity and how nature slowly reclaims these spaces. The project is a deep-dive into a video and photographic documentation-style essay that discusses the opportunities to leave spaces in better conditions through a variety of out-going options that can be established before ground is initially broken in comparison to the state of current dilapidated, yet striking, environments.

2022
Recipient of Faculty Research Grant
for Documentary:
“Broken Ground”
Troy University

2022
Featured Artist
A Walk In The Forest
Troy University Faculty Art Show
Design & Photography

2022
Created 3-week Seminar
Intl’ Typography Seminar
University of Zaragoza
Of Spain

2022
Executive Producer
Program of Distinction Video
Department Art & Design
TROY University

2022
Creative Director
Sorrell College of Business
Interior Wall Redesign
TROY University

2021 – 2022
Vice President
& ADDY’s Chair
Montgomery
AAF

2022
Juried and Accepted
When Two World’s Collide
Chair of Session
MACAA

2021-2022
College of Communication Fine Arts
Voting Member
Tenure & Promotion Committee
Troy University

2021
Creative Producer & Editor
Tutweiler Women’s Prison
Garden of Perserverance
Still Image Documentary

2021
Creator & Host of
4-Part Lunch & Learn Series
The Design Industry & Everything
They Don’t Tell You About Clients

2021
Featured Presenter
Entrepreneurship Week
From Rapid Visualization to Identity
in 60 Minutes

2021
SECAC Conference
Juried CHOPPED Competitor
Graphic Design Edition Challenge
Lexington, Kentucky

2021
Recipient of TROY University
Presentation Grant
SECAC
Lexington, Kentucky

2021
Developed 3-week
International Typography Seminar
Changzhou Institute of Technology
Changzhou, China

2021
Awarded Major Grant
for Creating
The YellowHammer Film Festival
Alabama Humanities Alliance

2021
Created & Curated
Ideation X Gallery
A collaboration between
DTI, COB, and A&D

2020 – 2021
Education Co-Chair
ADDY’s Co-Chair
Montgomery
AAF
 

2018
Creative Editor
Brown Lady Academic Magazine
Chowan University
Murfreesboro, North Carolina

2018
Honorable Mention Winner
Suffolk Photography Show
“Triplets”
Digital Photography Series

2018
14th Annual
Faculty Interdisciplinary Symposium
Presenter
“Seeing Color” Photography
Chowan University

2017
Juried Speaker Selection
Chowan Lecture Series
“Leveraging Video In Classroom”
Chowan University

2017
Receipent Harris Grant Recipient
 Study Abroad Program
 Chowan University’s Travel Program

2017
Juried Exhibition
33rd Annual Photography Show
“She Never Sleeps”
Suffolk Art Gallery, Suffolk, Virginia

2017
Presenter
13th Annual
Faculty Interdisciplinary Symposium
“Diversity in Design”

2016
2nd Place
Healing Power of Art Competition
Suffolk Art Gallery
Suffolk, Virginia

2016
Juried Presenter
Visual Literacy
“Deconstructing Stereotypes”
SE Writing Center Association

2015
Advisory Board Member
Full Sail University
For Media Design
Orlando, Florida

Program of Distinction
Published 5/15/2022 | Chris Stagl | Troy, Alabama

My Department Chair, Greg Skaggs, and I decided to create a promotional video for our department that would showcase our students, faculty, facilities, and such. I served as executive producer of this promo video with my UX students serving as directors and writers in the Spring of 2022.

Kids, Never, Ever, Burn Bridges!
Published 3/16/2022 | Chris Stagl | Prattville, Alabama

In 1997, I relocated from Ocala, Florida to Jacksonville, Florida – at the time, it was easily the biggest move of my adult life as I left home in the sticks for the big scary city on the coast. During my junior year of design school undergrad at UNF, I kicked around doing random jobs in the design industry: print ads, p.o.p., even some binding and folding at several of the local printing companies in Jacksonville thanks to my graphic arts program in high school, Lake Weir representing! Looking back, I made some incredible connections and lifelong friends in the industry – had some really cool client work in my portfolio for the likes of UF Health, Captiview Advertising, and Studio City – a well-known sports and senior photography outfit located between Jacksonville’s San Marco and Downtown areas. Specifically, I landed a part-time job with their outfit, Graphic Central Station, building sports templates with my good buddy Shane Bailey. Fast forward fifteen years later and I have been lucky enough to maintain my relationship with the CEO, Mike Luter, who keeps me quite busy, when I’m not in the classroom for Troy, creating how-to videos, banners, and other marketing materials for his new company PSU: Photography and Graphics Education. Kids, this is why it’s so important to not burn bridges and really, just to be nice to the people you meet along the way. Mike and I have been able to leverage each other over the past 15 years when needed. Here are a handful of brand new sports banners I created for PSU’s 2022 collection along with a before and after from a how-to demo so you can see where I begin and where I end.

International Typography Seminar
Published 2/4/2022 | Chris Stagl | Prattville, Alabama

At the end of last year, 2021, and the beginning of this year, 2022, I was able to deliver a 3-week seminar to two of Troy University’s International Sister Schools, the University of Zaragoza in Spain, and Changzhou Institute of Technology in China. The opportunity stemmed from the desire to keep international experiences at the forefront of our Art & Design department even amid the pandemic. I modeled the program around the idea of an introductory typography course that I offer here at Troy and worked one on one with students as they began to experiment and experience how we approach typography as design and communication in the states. Once the structure and projects of the seminar were developed, it was marketed to schools without a typography focus. The results were outstanding and I have since begun to install an international art showcase in our digital media lab located in the International Arts Center.

Featured Students:
Marta Burriel Leon
Alba Sanz Reglero
Eneko De Blas Eseberri
Iris Roche Romeo

What’s That Sound?
Published 12/15/2021 | Chris Stagl | Prattville, Alabama

This year, my Typography class collaborated with the Department of Theater to design Holiday Cards for their year-end show, “Sounds of the Season”.

Here are a handful of pieces that will continue to inspire me for many holidays to come.

Happy Holidays.

Featured Students:
Sofie Bilberg
Chris King
Marley Davis
Tate Moseley
Claire Ledbetter
Ailin Jiang
Mary Crigler

Can You Dig It?!
Published 12/1/2021 | Chris Stagl | Prattville, Alabama

I was approached by my Department Chair, Greg Skaggs, and asked to serve as a video producer for a documentary about the Tutweiler Prison for Women. Specifically, the project was focused on their “Garden of Perseverance”, which is a team initiative between the prison and Troy University. The entire documentary was lengthy but here are the intro and outros.

The final documentary can be seen in Huo Bao Zhu Gallery at the International Arts Center on Troy University campus from December 9, 2021 – February 1, 2022, along with works of art created by the inmates.

Three Photographs, Two Hours, One Kitchen
Published 6/21/2021 | Chris Stagl | Prattville, Alabama

In mid-June, 2021, I had some time to kill between client work, teaching classes online, and mowing the yard. I was jonesing to break out the camera but I needed to stay around the house because I truly did only have a few hours to kill. Just so happened, I received this email talking about this photo critique opportunity for anyone with photos of water drops. Well, I had never captured water drop or splash images before. But I’ll be dammed if that was going to prohibit me from trying.

I lit the whole scene with only the stove light (from behind obviously) and in the fruit shot, I used a warm bulb from a nearby lamp.

Here are the results.

Camera: Sigma SD Quattro H
Lens: Sigma 85MM ART
F: 1.4 – 5.6
Speed: 1/4000
Distance: 3 feet

What the heck is a YellowHammer?
Published 5/20/2021 | Chris Stagl | Prattville, Alabama

Technically, it’s a bird. The State Bird of Alabama to be exact. Honestly, this project was about challenging myself to do something I could never really wrap my head around in my 20 years in education: writing a grant! I had no idea what that entailed and no clue what I would do with said grant money. My fiance’, Stacey, her kiddos and I, use to be active members of the 48 Hour Film Project in Jacksonville, Florida and we’ve been missing it. CUT TO: GRANT IDEA! Hey, if we can’t be in the 48 anymore, why don’t we make one?! And that’s essentially how the YellowHammer Film Fest was born.

Synopsis:
The YellowHammer Film Festival is a free and enriching interactive experience for high school and college students which will consist of workshops, a keynote speaker, student film exhibition, and an awards ceremony. Anyone can attend the day long festival but only students can compete in the exhibition!

Partners:
Alabama Humanities Alliance
Troy University
DTI Center

Leveraging the Creative Process in Tenure
Published 4/9/2021 | Chris Stagl | Prattville, Alabama

In my other, less creative and yet in some ways MORE creative, life as a professor often times I present ideas to various groups. I was excited to learn this concept I had to “Leverage The Creative Process in Tenure Seeking” was accepted as a presentation at TROY University’s College of Education Research Conferece.

Proposed Title
Understanding How To Leverage The Universal Creative Process In To Your Classroom, Service and Research Efforts

Abstract
This session will be an integrated learning experience where members of the audience will provide narrative from their own experiences that I will then leverage to show them how to consider the universal creative process when approaching education as a whole. This widely accepted universal creative process involves critical thinking and problem-solving skills. From songwriters to television producers, creative individuals generally go through five steps to bring their ideas to fruition—preparation, incubation, illumination, evaluation, and verification. More often than not, many educators are already taking part in these steps and simply need a little guidance on one or two of the steps along the way – this session will provide just that. Lastly, I will bookend the the entire showcase with real world examples they have probably all seen in practice and not even realized. Creativity can seem like a foreign language and this session will help debunk the myths that pose it as unattainable and realign your sights on adding the creative process to all of your academic endeavors.

Format
This format would be an alternative session format that included presentation and workshop components combined with live audience interaction and bookended with real world examples. Ideally 45 minutes would be a good fit for something of this nature.

Objectives, Goals, and Takeaways
By looking at real world and practical classroom examples, participants will walk away with a much clearer understanding of what it means to bring the creative process in to a seemingly uncreative discipline and how to leverage it in future practice.

Target Audience
I would say the demo for this session would be anyone looking to bring an element of creativity in to their educational pursuits.

American Advertising Federation: ADDY Awards
Published 3/5/2021 | Chris Stagl | Prattville, Alabama

From Fall 2020 to Present I have served as the Education Chair, and now ADDY Chair, for the Montgomery Chapter of the American Advertising Federation. In 2021, I created this elaborate video for all the winners. This reel streamed online where participants of the ceremony could log on to watch it – due to CoVid the ceremony was virtual in 2021. While I didn’t personally win an ADDY award for any of my work I feel honored for everyone to have enjoyed this video and look forward to being a part of the AAF Montgomery chapter moving forward.
Click image for video.

LTRFRMS: a typography experiment
Published 2/16/2021 | Chris Stagl | Prattville, Alabama

What if everything we know and think about typography is based on a flawed system? Take that clickbait of an intro and set it to low in your design crockpot brain. Businesses rebrand often. Because they’re not successful. Because something’s wrong. To simply refresh a visual. To roll out a new product, brand, or idea. To distance themselves from previous mistakes in order to say, “look, look how far away we are from those ideals that dragged us down in the mud.” This is not a new or novel idea. So, why are we basing the most fundamental teachings of children on a system that hasn’t been rebranded well, ever? Why do we accept a premise of communication, that frankly, maybe completely ineffective? Are letterforms, word shapes, aesthetic of communication properties – are they correct, now? Were they ever?

LTRFRMS examines a simpler way of communicating by narrowing down one square region of each current letter and allows us to read, think, and process information in a faster and more streamlined fashion, in theory.

A gallery…outside: IDEATION X GALLERY
Published 2/11/2021 | Chris Stagl | Prattville, Alabama

Troy University’s graphic design students now have their award-winning art displayed at the IDEA Bank “to bring life and art to Downtown Troy.” The Ideation X gallery is a partnership between the Sorrell College of Business’ IDEA Bank and the Department of Art and Design’s DTI Center.

Chris Stagl, an Associate Professor of Graphic Design, Judson Edwards, Dean of the Sorrell College of Business, and Ed Noriega, Director of the Design Center and a Professor of Graphic Design, worked together to create the external gallery around the walls of the IDEA Bank.

The murals were designed in Stagl’s Fall 2020 typography class. Stagl later met with TROY First Lady Janice Hawkins, who liked the projects the students created. “She then gave me the thumbs up to move forward with getting them installed on the outside of the IDEA Bank’s walls,” Stagl, the creative director and designer behind the gallery, said.

Stagl created the identity of the outdoor gallery and worked alongside the students to get the designs created in the proper format and size to be displayed at the bank.

Going Global with Creativity & Collaboration
Published 2/1/2021 | Chris Stagl | Troy, Alabama

In this new role at TROY University I am, happily, tasked with wearing many hats. One of those is being the Director of the IC3. Primarily, and notwithstanding covid limitations, my role as the director focuses on building relationships overseas to further expand TROY’s International reputation and to deliver high-quality design education to those who otherwise may not have the opportunity to experience this incredible field. Currently, I have nearly a dozen International students who I mentor on a semester basis. In order to give the position and office a fresh feel, I redesigned the identity of the program focusing on TROY colors and negative space.

Elementary My Dear Watson…Troy Elementary
Published 1/1/2021 | Chris Stagl | Troy, Alabama

In the Fall of 2020, my Paper & Screen students were tasked with creating infographics for Troy Elementary’s new nature walking path. After many visits to the future site, about 30 acres of dense woods, they were tired of the spiders and wanted to see more deer and rabbit. I just wanted to see them pull together some amazing graphics and illustrations for the kids. Serving as creative director while teaming up with an important group in the community was definitely a nice welcome to the area.

Featured Students:
Kris Ballard
Abigail Irwin
Hannah Hogan
Tori Carpenter

Partners:
TROY University Office of Civic Engagement

What Remains When We Do Not
Published 10/21/2020 | Chris Stagl | Prattville, Alabama

“What Remains”
Photography Series

Synopsis:
Photographs highlight the waste that humans leave behind for nature to deal with.

Camera: Sigma SD Quattro H
Lens: Sigma 85MM ART
F: 1.4
Speed: 1/4000

24 Months in Eastern North Carolina
Published 8/16/2018 | Chris Stagl | Spring Hill, Tennessee

From 2016 – 2018, while working as a Design Professor at Chowan University, I documented the beautiful landscapes in Eastern North Carolina, AKA God’s Country. The images are some of the highlights from those days.

Camera: Sigma SD Quattro H
Lens: Sigma 14MM ART
F: 1.8
Speed: 1/4000

Brown Lady Magazine

Published 4/14/2018 | Chris Stagl | Murfreesboro, North Carolina

Honored to serve on the Editorial Board as a Design Editor for this amazing publication.

While I was teaching at Chowan University, an HSBCU, in Eastern North Carolina, serving on college and community boards was a part of the role I truly enjoyed. Being able to help Brown Lady curate an art and literature magazine is an experience I will not soon forget, truly inspirational.

A Conversation about Diversity & Inclusion
Published 2/21/2018 | Chris Stagl | Como, North Carolina

Honored to be asked to moderate this event for AIGA Charlotte.

The world changes when we change our perspective.

Join us for a casual evening of conversation at Free Range Brewing as we host a diverse panel of designers, thinkers, and creators from the Charlotte community.

With open minds and hearts we’ll be sharing stories of diversity in design and discussing the value of inclusion in the workplace, what it’s like working with members of different backgrounds, and how everyone can contribute to a broader community perspective.

AIGA Charlotte is committed to creating an inclusive environment where diverse voices are active in all aspects of our organization. We aim to inspire a culture of inclusion in which all individuals feel respected and are treated fairly, and different viewpoints, opinions, thoughts, and ideas are encouraged and embraced.

“Research has shown that diverse groups are more effective at problem solving than homogeneous groups, and policies that promote diversity and inclusion will enhance our ability to draw from the broadest possible pool of talent, solve our toughest challenges, maximize employee engagement and innovation, and lead by example by setting a high standard for providing access to opportunity to all segments of our society.”
President Barack Obama | October 5, 2016

Chowan University Unveils New Visual Identity

Published 1/1/2018 | Chris Stagl | Murfreesboro, North Carolina

One of the proudest moments of my professional career is when I was asked to consult on the new identity for Chowan University in Murfreesboro, North Carolina. After the first meeting, somehow, I had talked myself into taking over the creative direction and design of the project.

Chowan University Statement:
Chowan University announced a new branding strategy this week, marking the most significant change to its visual identity in more than a decade.

Designed by Chris Stagl, Associate Professor of Graphic Design, the official launch of the new logo is scheduled for January 1, 2018.

The new logo honors Chowan’s Christian heritage while incorporating everyone’s favorite campus icon, McDowell Columns Hall.

With the new logo, the seal will be reserved for more exclusive instances like diplomas, official documents, and formal programs.

Mark My Words
Edited Continuously | Chris Stagl

Over the past 2 decades, I have had the distinct privilege to serve as a creative director for a number of local, regional, and national businesses. Here is a sampling of some of the logos I truly enjoyed being a part of.

The featured logo here is French Fry Heaven. At its peak, this potato-focused fast-food franchise topped nearly two dozen locations around the country.

Media
Edited Continuously | Chris Stagl

A collection of motion and video projects I have served in creative capacities within the past 20 years.

Clients Include:
Web(.)com
Taco Lu
SpaceJunk
Daily’s
Jacksonville Zoo
WinterWave
Dustin Monk
Alabama
Starship
Myers Dental
NBAJAX

Client: Taco Lu
For: Web(.)com
Medium: Promo Video
Credits: Chris Stagl, Editor, Art Director

Client: Daily’s
Medium: Commercial
Credits: Chris Stagl, Director, Editor | Stacey Ahmed, Producer | Seth Bass, Cinematographer

Client: SpaceJunk
For: Web(.)com
Medium: Promo Video
Credits: Chris Stagl, Editor, Art Director

Client: Dustin Monk (band)
Medium: Music Video
Credits: Chris Stagl, Director | Stacey Ahmed, Producer | Will Napier, Cinematographer, Writer

Client: Myers Dental For: Web(.)com
Medium: Promo Video
Credits: Chris Stagl, Editor, Art Director, Cinematographer

Client: NBAJAX
Medium: Promo Video
Credits: Chris Stagl, Motion Graphics Artist, Art Director

Client: Zoo Lights | Medium: Commercial
Credits: Chris Stagl, Director | Stacey Ahmed, Producer | Jesse Westfall, Cinematographer | Seth Bass, Cinematographer

Client: Winter Wave (band)
Medium: Music Video
Credits: Chris Stagl, Director, Editor| Brian Oakley, Cinematographer

Client: Web(.)com
Secondary Client: Guard Encryption
Medium: Guard Encryption Product Video
Credits: Chris Stagl, Motion Graphics Artist, Art Director

Client: Web(.)com
Secondary Client: One Shopping Cart
Medium: One Shopping Cart Product Video
Credits: Chris Stagl, Motion Graphics Artist, Art Director

Client: Starship
Medium: Lyric Video
Credits: Chris Stagl, Motion Graphics Artis

Client: Alabama w/Luke Bryan
Medium: Promo Video
Credits: Chris Stagl, Editor, Art Director

Academia: Student Portfolio
Edited Continuously | Chris Stagl 

I began in higher education in 1999. It’s been an incredible journey. I’ve had the privilege of serving in many roles, ie. Professor, Chair, Dean in FL, CA, CO, NC, TN, and AL. Currently, I’m serving as an Associate Professor in Design at TROY University.

Any student who has ever taken a course with me will tell you that I love saying, “don’t let these walls, these teachers, these classes, define your education – you have to be in the world and experience design for yourself – first hand.” Hopefully, if students remember anything from my courses it is that one thing.

For Troy, I am teaching: Typography, Digital Tools, User Interface Design, User Experience Design, Thesis, Portfolio, Business of Art & Design, Concept & Process, Special Topics, Travel Study, Internship, Digital Tools, and Motion Graphics.Here is a sampling of some of my student work that has stood the test of time. The featured student work is a typography mural by Dang Long at TROY’s Idea Bank.

Experimentations
Edited Continuously | Chris Stagl

From time to time, I tinker with artistic storytelling through image-making. Here now is a variety of digital art experiments from the past 20 years.

Featured Image:
Pieces of Me

Medium:
Digital Collage

From The Archives: She Never Sleeps
Published 2006 | Chris Stagl | Jacksonville, Florida

This four-part black and white photo series defined a long weekend in the city visiting an old UNF design student, Travis, during a trip to upstate for a family wedding in 2006. These were shot on my very first digital camera and each image is under 1mb. I like to keep these around and show them to my students to remind them that you don’t need the best, cutting-edge, technology to make cool images.
From left to right:
Image 1: Dinner with Travis
Image 2: No Sleep Till
Image 3: Pier 57
Image 4: Don’t Breathe

Make, Contact.

Feel free to reach out, let’s get creative!