The next time you do a canon-ball jump into the deep end of a pool don’t listen for the noise, nor pay attention to the waves – rather, feel the billions of bubbles knock up against you and fizz. You’ll need to jump in a few times and literally slow time down to pull it off. Try not to jump to the bottom of the pool so control your impact – land in the middle – for the purpose of suspension. Experience the sizzle, then think to yourself…now I know how ice cubes feel in ginger ale.

Chris Stagl
Creative. Educator.
Fan of the Soda Sizzle.

1991 was a helluva year for me and Bryan Adams
Published 6/22/2021 | Chris Stagl | Prattville, Alabama

I began my creative life in 1991. My mother would argue that I have been finger painting since I was a baby, but, that logic is the same that makes everyone with a cell phone a photographer. I remember coming home from high school as a sophomore and saying to my dad, “Hey man, you’re not going to believe this software that we just got at school – it’s called Corel Draw.” I can vividly recall looking at the artwork on the box of this beautifully illustrated hot air balloon and thinking, good grief – whoever created that is a genius.

Ripping open the box I found a stack of 3 1/4 inch disks – and I mean a STACK! At the time, I had no idea what a Mac was, I was all PC. Adobe didn’t exist to me. I was rocking with Aldus Pagemaker and Corel Draw.

I was the only kid that I knew in Ocala, Florida (look it up) that was doing paste-up of magazine and newspaper spreads with hot glue – and so when that software showed up I was blown away. No more cutting out clipart and burning my fingers. I was about to be in heaven with Corel Draw – or at least I would get to heaven in about 6 hours when it was done installing.

Bryan Adams was topping the charts with “Everything I Do”.
Terminator2 was redefining cool movies on the silver screen.
And I was knee-deep in Corel Draw.
1991 was a helluva year.
Enjoy the work.
-Chris

I stole this image from user “bernieandbensbargains111” on Ebay.

Professional Accomplishments
Recent Highlights | Chris Stagl

Juried and accepted in to SECAC 2021 in Lexington, KY to compete in their CHOPPED: Graphic Design Edition challenge.

Subsequently, recipient of TROY University Presentation Grant 2021.

6/29/2021
Edited Continuously | Chris Stagl

A snapshot of highlights and accolades from my professional and creative career over the past two decades.

2021

Awarded Major Grant from Alabama Humanities Alliance

for YellowHammer Film Festival

2021

Created & Launched Ideation X Gallery

A collaborative, outdoor, art & design project with COB & DTI at TROY

2020 – 2021

Served as Education Co-Chair & ADDY’s Co-Chair

for Montgomery’s American Ad Fed Chapter 

2018

Editor / Creative Editor for The Brown Lady Academic Magazine

at Chowan University

2018

Juried Honorable Mention Winner

of 2018 Suffolk Photography Show, “Triplets” Digital Photography Series

2018

Juried Presenter at 14th Annual Faculty Interdisciplinary Symposium

for “Seeing Color” Photo

2018

Invited by AIGA Charlotte to serve as panel moderator

for Diversity & Inclusion conversation

2017

Named Creative Director and Lead Designer

for Rebranding Chowan University Identity 

2017

Juried Speaker Selection at Chowan Salon Lecture Series

for “Leveraging Video in the Classroom”

2017

Harris Grant Recipient

for Study Abroad Program at Chowan University’s Travel Program

2017

Selected in juried exhibition at Suffolk Art Gallery

“33rd Annual Photography Show
Suffolk, VA

2017

Juried Presenter at 13th Annual Faculty Interdisciplinary Symposium

for “Diversity in Design” 

2016

Second place winner of the juried exhibition – Suffolk Art Gallery

for “Healing Power of Art” photography

2016

Juried Presenter at S.E. Writing Center Assoc. on Visual Literacy

for “Deconstructing Stereotypes” 

2015

Invited to be Advisory Board Member at Full Sail University Curriculum

for Media Design

2013

Awarded Best New Program, “Digital Publishing”

by Association of Private Sector Colleges and Univ. 

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

Kickin’ around in the backyard
Published 4/28/2021 | Chris Stagl | Prattville, Alabama

It was a beautiful spring day in Prattville, Alabama. I could literally hear the birds calling to me from inside. Cardinals, Blue Birds, and Ostriches oh My! Okay, maybe there were no ostriches but that Mourning Dove is a beautiful creature. Little did I know two weeks later a tornado would come through and destroy that fence – now the birds are non-existent. Timing is everything!

I suppose my love for birds began at a young age. My parents had three birds as pets at one point, and my grandparents had two love birds. Bird watching is certainly a hobby of mine but it is rare that I find three distinct species in one setting so close to home.

Camera: Sigma SD Quattro H
Lens: Sigma 24-300MM
F: 5.6
Speed: 1/4000

Leveraging the creative process for 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 the IC3: International Center for 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 are gone
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 with in 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
Medium: Guard Encryption Product Video
Credits: Chris Stagl, Motion Graphics Artist, Art Director

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

Client: Starship
Medium: Lyric Video
Credits: Chris Stagl, Motion Graphics Artist, Creative Director

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

Academia
Edited Continuously | Chris Stagl 

I began teaching collegiately 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.

Currently, I am teaching:
Typography, Digital Tools, User Interface Design, User Experience Design, Thesis, Portfolio, Business of Art & Design, Concept & Process, Special Topics

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.

Not An Artist
Edited Continuously | Chris Stagl

I don’t consider myself an artist. But I do, from time to time, 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