Rocket Fuel for the Creative Soul

Be more creative in your daily life.

Be a wonder wanderer!

Graphic Design & Creativity Courses based on design coach Val's years as a professor turned coach. Don't struggle with D.I.Y.


Frustrated with DIY learning or group forums that are not paced to your best workflow? With Coach Val, you can study college level graphic design at a fraction of the cost at your own pace in your own abode.

Bringing you 20+ years of developing relevant industry standard graphic design courses at the college level to an easy to digest format for all age levels from a design industry insider and dedicated educator turned design coach.

Are you a home schooler looking for graphic design courses?

Are you a teen/tween who lacks access to art or design in your school? OR are you looking for more feedback, more projects, or help creating your portfolio?

Are you considering college level graphic design, but reluctant because of the costs or barriers to entry? Or maybe you want to add to the courses you are already taking or need another perspective beyond current instructors?

Maybe you are just dabbling in graphic design or looking for a career shift and reluctant to pay big prices in tuition. 


If you work better with instruction and feedback rather than D.I.Y., then Coach Val's program is for you.

If you want a program that encourages you to find your own voice with interesting assignments, then Coach Val's program is for you.

If you want to work at your own pace or even time of day, these courses are suited to you.





Personalized coursework that speaks directly to you that recognizes various learning styles. Lessons have been developed and tweaked over 20 years to be relevant yet timeless. Val's coaching style is comfortable and approachable best suited for encouragement and synthesizing sometimes complex ideas or procedures into palatable, simple to understand instruction.


Graphic Design is not just about the final image artifact created. All industry leaders would typically affirm they are seeking to hire people who can think creatively. This is conveyed through being able to document the DESIGN PROCESS in all projects. Graphic Design is problem-solving using visual aesthetics. The lessons move from simple to complex just as one would not typically start with a marathon, but work your way towards that goal.


The final outcome of the lessons is Rocket Fuel for the Creative Soul. Whether or not you may intend on pursuing graphic design as a career, these lessons will integrate creativity into your daily life. Why wait for the possibility of taking a few college courses or try this as a major? You can start learning graphic design at any age and the creative process may integrate into your daily life.

Make it a habit to Be A Wonder Wanderer!

What's YOUR SuperPower?

Whatever your age you can channel your inner child energy and spirit of discovery, curiosity, and not limits imagination. With coaching in Val's program, you'll be rejuvenated and encouraged to embody your individuality. Graphic Design is not just about the final visual artifact, it's about the journey to get to that point. Val's program is different than a D.I.Y. on various learning platforms. Val shares metaphors and other techniques to allow you to understand the topic concepts. With this coaching you'll begin to understand your strengths to highlight and continue to improve them, while understanding your weaknesses or habits that you want to change. All in an effort to identify your own super power that makes you a great creative thinker!


We each have a different learning style and creative path. The structure of Val's programs encourages individuality as the primary essence of the creative pursuits in design or in life. How the ideas are generated - the design process - that's the most valuable intellectual property. Each person is unique. The outcomes in each program are not prescribed.

How does one develop ideas in the problem-solving process that is graphic design? How can you train your brain to be a creative thinker to combat the future of automated production including in the creative fields? Val's programs encourage research, exploration, and the ability to recognize and embrace HAPPY ACCIDENTS as a legitimate solution.

Finding the balance between individuality, hand craft traditions, and digital tools is a skill built with confidence. As digital tools become more commonplace, the uniqueness of individuals can be expressed through traditional means of creating. Each task in Val's program encourages extensive research, sketching, experimenting, and exploring prior to final digitalization.


Graphic Design is not just about selling products, making logos, and cashing in on culture.

Graphic Design is about Creative Thinking.

Citizen Designers have been in our midst over time and the groundswell is happening now more than ever. So many movements happening we are in the midst of making history! If you want to channel your passion and energy into a solid path after boots on the ground demonstrations, then CITIZEN DESIGNER as a course is just for you!


With Coach Val's lessons you will have a majority of creative projects grounded in the role of Citizen Designer whether it be researching endangered animals for a lesson on figure/ground imagery to creating an entire brand for a non-profit and even try your hand at the Urban Forest Banner (images here).

You'll learn how the creativity skills of a graphic designer can be used now more than ever beyond just digital production.


Don't Miss Out on Coach Val's Courses

Check out all of Val's offerings including a 10 week in person bootcamp for a max of 10 people optimizing social distancing. 10 x 10 x 5 (5 courses in 10 weeks!)

Pricing Options

Would you like to take a series of classes? Check out the special offers here including a comprehensive program of ALL FIVE courses. Course series: Wonder 101 / Wander 101 / Design Concepts / Citizen Designer / Brand Me




4 month commitment

Citizen Designer





6 month commitment

Wonder 101

Citizen Designer

Achieve a foundation in graphic design in 6 month 2 course sequence.





12 months commitment






Design Concepts & Weekly Coach Sessions


10 week commitment

Design Concepts: Emotion and Rhetoric



10 weeks of one-on-one coaching in video conferences and email


"Val was my professor for several high-level design courses (at ---- university)... My experience speaks to her organization of a study-abroad to Japan. This adventure broadened, challenged, and activated my mind. This was not without the help of Val's interesting assignments, working collaborations, and an always creative spirit... In addition to the study abroad, (her courses) were very challenging and encouraged me to find my own style, voice, and direction in the graphic design world. She encouraged me to use my natural artistic ability in an otherwise mechanical, corporate, and program based curriculum. I felt she aimed to bring out and enhance my own personal style devoid from her own and that of trends. I recommend her to designers that seek this."

Zoe Temple
former student when Val was a professor

Things to Consider and FAQs

Design is more than just using a computer or software, it's about thinking which leads to the design process and how you develop innovative concepts. Design is not always art because it's about communication not personal objectives, but it uses aesthetics to achieve that goal.

Will a robot replace you or your job in the not so distant future? Recent research suggests that the way to stay robot proof is to learn creative thinking and motor skills not easily managed by machines. The creative fields will see automation and already have many DIY and automated options for web and even logo design. That's were critical thinking and design thinking emerges as somewhat robot proof for innovations. P.S. Did you know that a tip for the aging brain is to learn new creative skills?

Design is readily accessible either as D.I.Y. with the technology being more and more affordable, or through the proliferation of 'cheap' inexpensive or standardized design sources for logos to web templates. Understanding design concepts, design thinking and having design principles in your tool belt means you have more value in whatever other hats you wear.

Why spend 4 years in a college amassing debt when only approximately 10 or less classes are emphasizing graphic design? 10 classes is 30 credits which is 1/4 the requirement for most B.A. degrees which require 120 credits. (consider an avg of 100k div 4 = 25k for the design classes or per year)

If you are considering a college/university, ask these questions:

  • When was the last time the curriculum was updated?
  • Are the faculty full time or part time?
  • Are the faculty engaged in timely professional development like attending conferences?
  • Are the majority of the courses you will take taught by part-time faculty (making average of $2,000 – 4,000 per class, typically)?
  • How many courses are emphasizing typography? 
  • How about graphic design history - not art history? There's a difference!
  • When do you start the design program? In your freshman, sophomore, or junior year?
  • Are you encouraged to create your own imagery off or on the computer?
  • Will they try to mold you into a box that's not you?

The tools are so easy to learn and access now that 12 and 13 year olds are designing apps and creating their own brands or businesses. You may find that the pace of college is painful and that you aren't being encouraged to flex or grow but breaking down bad habits that may have formed.

Consider that salaries for entry level graphic design positions have been stagnant for more than a decade while tuition increases. You may earn in your first few years what college tuition and room/board will cost. It takes several years to advance in experience, responsibility, job title and the salaries that go with those.

For many years I've been looking at the system from within and became disenchanted with what college has transformed into. You may not be getting the value you deserve if you wait to take these courses in college and that institution you choose may not be serving your best interests.

Forget the institution and let's work together for a similar outcome - a portfolio that you can use to promote yourself.

Why choose Design Coach Val over all the other options?

A design coach gets to know you as a person and a creative problem-solver. Before you dive into any of these courses, Val can help assess your creative box and provide a recommendation on how improve your repertoire, type sensitivity, or get you out of your rut of same old tricks and which courses, if any would be ideal for you. But don't worry, if none of these classes fit your needs, there are other options. Whether you are a novice, self-taught, or a mid-career professional she can customize a program suited to your individual goals and needs. With a short consultation, you'll get an assessment of your visual solution strengths and weaknesses.

Need a portfolio review or consultation?

Not ready to dive into a course just yet? Let's chat about your work, your goals, your experiences to establish a plan of study.


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