"Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated." -Paul Rand
My personal approach to design stems from my desire to empower people and make a difference by crafting work that is both creative and engaging. As an educator, my goal is to inspire my students not only through the attainment of skills and methods of design but in becoming critical thinkers who solve problems strategically. I want students to see the beauty of design and be amazed by what design is truly capable of. To know that because we are constantly surrounded by design, it is our responsibility that we create engaging meaningful work. My challenge is to encourage future designers to understand that we possess powerful tools in the art of visual communication, and how we use these tools really matters, because design can influence the world we live in. Graphic design is a source of power and depending on its use can have dramatic results. Take history as an example, from what Germany chose to do with the swastika in destroying an entire race to what America opted for with Mickey Mouse in saving a country from despair. Graphic design is everywhere you look, it is for everyone to see and it gives every idea a visual identity. It is special because it participates in the world of communication, it provides a visual approach to ideas and in so doing tells a story of its own.
I wish to instill a thirst for knowledge within my students, my own thirst for knowledge and ideas is insatiable, and often leads me down paths and trails I have yet to discover. I want my students to enjoy the process of discovery and in general be more curious about the world of design and its influences. I feel it is necessary to encourage that they take part in exercising their creative skills and image references through the use of process sketchbooks en route to design solutions. As part of the beginning stages of a student’s process I intend to present my students with projects that ask them to alternatively create their own content (based on a main idea or premise) utilizing thoughtful research and rigorous analysis it should enable them to successfully create self-initiated work. I believe exposing students to many different voices, methods, techniques, design examples and relevant historical context is an important part of their education. Ideally, my students will want to know the history of design, feel invigorated by what’s possible, and know that they can make their mark on the world. Their quest for knowledge is my ultimate goal and I hope my work and ideas will inspire my students, and that in turn, their work and ideas will inspire me. In preparing the next generation of designers it is imperative that I instill in my students the desire not only to create but to think.
Learning is an active process, and therefore, students need to be immersed in the concepts and ideas of design. Class discussion and peer critique are methods I use to draw students into discussions that emphasize design fundamentals and conceptual thinking. I ask students to look at their own work and ask themselves what is working, what is not, and why. A lot of student growth occurs through reflection and critique, for students to look at their own work and assess what they need help on, to feel comfortable in opening up a dialogue with the class, and ask for feedback in certain areas they are struggling with will expedite their development as designers. I plan to approach my classroom as a collaborative expert—challenging my students to frame their own opinions about their work, the work of their peers, and the work of professionals. Recognizing that students have differing degrees of comfort about speaking in public, I ease deliberately into the practice of critique; early on in the class, I make sure to demonstrate that I value each student’s voice. During critique I utilize questions tactically: as a point of discussion, as non-dogmatic forms of feedback, and as a demonstration of the curiosity that I strive to cultivate in my students. As a teacher, my fundamental desire is to create an environment where students want to show me their work and hear my feedback, and for them in turn to be enthusiastic about the work that they are making. It seems especially important to do so in graphic design, a discipline that I see embracing contrast and composition, logic and intuition, word and image, communication and art. In closing, I seek to inspire my students; it is those sparks of inspiration that turn those tools and skills into creativity and ultimately, success.
Graphic Design II / Gimme Coffee Branding Project