Design education — think again

Q: What is the most treasured and well-used piece of equipment in your studio?

A: My head.

Alan Fletcher’s reply to a question from design students is the starting point for three blogs on a need to re-think design education.

Don Norman writes in Core 77 on the broader understanding that designers must acquire:

We must not lose the wonderful, delightful components of design. The artistic side of design is critical: to provide objects, interactions and services that delight as well as inform, that are joyful. Designers do need to know more about science and engineering, but without becoming scientists or engineers. We must not lose the special talents of designers to make our lives more pleasurable.

There’s a substantial bank of commentary following the article, worth reading for its own insights into the subject, on both sides of the argument.

In Eye 78, Max Gadney highlights the importance of information design in the world and the lack of preparation for this in graphic design schools:

Confidence with the content leads to better relationships with the clients and better solutions. I am staggered at how many designers do not understand the businesses whose work they represent. They then wonder why the clients treat them as ‘Mac men’.

Finally, Steve Heller’s interview with Milton Glaser for Eye 25, on adapting to change over 40 years, including a re-appraisal of design skills:

Drawing skills are not about becoming an illustrator. The most fundamental way of understanding the visual world is through the act of drawing. When you are about to draw something you become attentive to its appearance (and sometimes humble before it) for the first time. I know of no better way of preparing yourself for a career in the visual arts.

Attentive to appearance, and sometimes humble: Glaser, a lifelong learner, describes the moment when he knew he was  “no longer hot”!

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3 Responses to “Design education — think again”

  1. Isaiah Says:

    Do you people have a facebook fan page? I looked for one on twitter but could not discover one, I would really like to become a fan!

  2. gregsweetnam Says:

    There isn’t a fan page on Facebook at the moment, but watch this space!
    Glad you’re enjoying the posts.

  3. slot machines Says:

    I’m not sure that I agree 100% with your post, but I did find it interesting.

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