Full Sail University

Faculty Spotlight: Eric Rosenfeld (Program Director, Digital Arts & Design and Graphic Design)

As the Program Director for two of Full Sail’s design degrees, Eric Rosenfeld focuses on how design principles intersect with the latest technology.

Eric Rosenfeld smiles at the camera. He has gray hair and is wearing a blue collared shirt with a tan blazer.

“My dad was an engineer, my mom is an artist. And so when the early days of the web came about, I was very interested in how to tie those two worlds together,” says Eric Rosenfeld, Full Sail’s Program Director for the Digital Arts & Design and Graphic Design degree programs. That curiosity about the intersection of technology and artistry served Eric well throughout his freelance design career – he’s worked with brands like MTV2, Disney, and Scholastic. Today, he’s exploring the ways new tech can help Full Sail’s design students forge ahead in the industry.

I always like to tell Full Sail students that there's a lot of work for these companies because they spend a lot of time and effort just to find out what other parts of the company are doing."

Eric graduated with dual bachelor’s degrees in Music and Special Education from Florida State University before he began his career as an educator. He was working as a middle school special education teacher when he first saw an opportunity to combine design with technology in the classroom.

“[In the early days of the web], I was a sixth through eighth grade special education teacher. So my students, they would draw [their own personal] websites and I went and bought a book on HTML to learn how to code… then they would get excited about writing and reading off of their own website. That way, a lot of those students had websites before major companies and major people in the field today,” Eric recalls.

He continued his journey in design by enrolling at Full Sail and earning an associate degree in Digital Media, then transitioned to working at the university as a course director in the Digital Arts & Design program. Simultaneously, Eric started building his freelance design career – a connection with a Full Sail design grad helped him land a gig with MTV2’s Monster Mix. The cable show remixed music videos for fresh visual experiences.

“[The grad’s team] would edit hip hop videos for the Monster Mix show, and I would create the graphical transitions between the videos,” Eric explains. “This was early 2000s. So [we’d start with a video from] Chingy, then go to Timbaland, to maybe some Beyoncé. And I would have to take those music videos and visually transition them from one to another to make one 30-minute-long music video.”

Eric also brought his artistry and technical skills to corporate communications for major organizations like Disney and Scholastic.

“I always like to tell Full Sail students that there's a lot of work for these companies because they spend a lot of time and effort just to find out what other parts of the company are doing,” Eric says. “One part of the company always needs to communicate with the other. When I had Disney as a client, [we had to demonstrate], ‘How did this big event happen at Disney?’ And then summarizing it through video and through design and motion graphics so it could be part of a big presentation to [employees on] the other side of Disney.”

When Eric worked with Scholastic, he helped design promotions for the books on sale at their popular elementary and middle school book fairs.

“We were working with the publisher to create commercials for their books that would then play as a part of the Scholastic Book Fairs… We'd have to very quickly figure out what the book is about, create a little storyline. The guy I was working for, he would actually travel and interview the authors and then we would come back, and he would edit [the interviews]. It would be kind of an author video, but then we created all original graphics to fly around the screen and get students interested in reading those books,” he says.

Currently, Eric is digging into the latest design tech to stay on top of industry trends and find out how new tools can benefit Full Sail students. He recently delved into NFTs by creating a few with other Full Sail design educators, and he’s exploring different prototyping technologies (like 3D printers and vinyl cutters) to see if they can be used in unique ways by Full Sail design students. Above all, Eric is using his professional experience to teach students about the design industry’s past – and prepare them for its future.

“[When you work for Full Sail], you’ve got to look for ways where your experience can contribute to the conversation,” he says. “But it's not about us, it's about the students’ experience. So we want to share our experiences with the students, but we also need to prepare them [for the fact] that their time in the industry is going to be radically different than what we experienced. And that's just the nature of progress.”