Profile: Nelson Wei Tan

Nelson Wei Tan

Nelson Wei Tan, M.F.A., Assistant Professor
Department of Design – Graphic Design

Where were you before coming to SJSU?

Before this, I was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Indianapolis. Prior to teaching, I worked with various media production agencies producing television commercials and broadcast design projects.

Tell us something about your personal life, such as your family or your interests outside of work.

My wife and I tied the knot a year ago. We live with our two dogs and enjoy cooking and dining.

Why are you excited to be here?

Being here in Silicon Valley is exceptionally exciting. In the months being here, I have had the opportunity to meet quite a few innovative individuals. The vibe and synergy in the Bay Area is consistent to my own work.

It is also an honor to be able to work with world-class designers in the Department of Design at SJSU. The quality of work from the students speaks for itself. I look forward to working with the students to produce meaningful design projects that enrich their personal and professional endeavors.

What is your educational background?

I graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo with a BA in Media studies, and an MFA in Communication Design. Additionally, I graduated from the Interactive Media Design program at Temasek Polytechnic, School of Design, Singapore.

What do you enjoy about teaching?

I enjoy working with students to develop interesting projects. I also take pleasure in working closely with my colleagues to develop and refine the curriculum. I actively participate in conversations with my peers from other institutions to keep up with the ever-changing design curriculum and pedagogy.

What do you enjoy about being a specialist in your field?

When I first graduated from college, there were no smart phones and tablets. Now, almost all designers are expected to be able to design content for these devices. To me, the most enjoyable part of being in my field is that I never stop learning. When I engage a design project, I am not just a designer in my own little space. I need to understand and work with a multitude of specialists. From PR to engineering, I never stop learning.

Please give us a quote that sums up your personal, educational, creative, or scholarly philosophy.

“If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.” – Dr. Ralph Speth, CEO Jaguar