Deann Garcia | Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Deann Garcia

Portrait of Deann Garcia


Adjunct Faculty
BFA, Oregon State University
Current Career
Corvallis, Oregon

Based in Oregon, Deann Garcia is a multifaceted designer with an obsession with cycling and a curiosity toward nature. Working as a creative director and graphic designer in the outdoor industry, her experience ranges from branding to product design. She thrives on the creation of strategic design systems, especially with cross disciplinary and collaborative teams. 

Describe what you do for work and how you feel about it.

After completing my MA at MCAD, I knew I wanted to do something impactful. I decided to leave my role as a creative director and become a teacher! Today I teach graphic design at Oregon State, and I’m also part of the faculty at MCAD in the Sustainable Design MA. These dual roles allow me to explore my own creativity while inspiring the next generation of socially and environmentally informed designers.  

How did you get your job? 

I’m an alum of both institutions I work for. Maintaining relationships with my professors and mentors throughout my career allowed me to transition into teaching after an initial career in design practice. 

What inspires you/your work?

Riding my mountain bike in very wild places.

What advice do you have for current MCAD students and/or artists at the beginning of their creative careers?

Find your voice. Figure out what you have to say, and go forth boldly.

How do you network yourself and your art?

Word of mouth. I believe in building relationships that last and bear fruit in time.

How do you feel about the Twin Cities?

It’s a nice place to visit!

Current obsession?

Cautious Clay and long distance bike rides. 

How did you hear about MCAD?

A friend from work was taking the SD 6500 Fundamentals of Sustainable Design course as a CE student and told me about it. I looked into it further and decided to go for the whole degree.

Why did you choose to earn an MA at MCAD?

I couldn’t move to Minneapolis, I owned a house in Oregon and needed to keep working. I was able to get the education I wanted without having to leave my life behind.

What was your biggest takeaway from the program?

Design disciplines must not be segregated. The sustainability-centered frameworks and processes we learned could be applied to any discipline. It’s opened my world of what design can be - like the old gesamtkunstwerk principle of Total Art, the integration of all disciplines in a united process.

Where were you located when you completed the program?

Portland, Oregon

What was the online education like?

Pretty seamless! In 2012 we were right at the start of this being fully tenable as a method. I felt connected to the other students in my cohort, holding online study sessions nearly every night. It was intense, but I felt fully supported.

How has the MA impacted your career/your life?

It allowed me to become a university instructor! I’ve leveraged my sustainability education to create new accredited programs at OSU that include sustainability as a central foundational element.

How do you incorporate sustainability into your everyday life? What advice do you have for others to do the same?

While it’s important to keep a low-impact lifestyle (I ride my bike to work, eat mostly plants, keep my heat low), I try to make a bigger positive impact by keeping it focused in my design work. Individuals can make small differences; designs can make massive change by influencing the behaviors of more people, fixing hidden impacts of production, and changing paradigms. It’s exhausting work, so keeping priorities where they make the most difference helps maximize what we have to give.