Looking to the Future
My final thesis explored the importance of considering multiple perspectives in design education. My argument was that if we limit students to the study of design principles alone and not consider other liberal art courses, then the academic institution is failing to prepare those students for the design industry. My research led me on a journey of discovery into the minds of Tim Brown and Tom Kelley, pioneers of the T-shaped designer and the application of design thinking principles. Since finishing my studies, these theories continue to intrigue and push me to gain an additional perspective on how the study of design management can aide in improving my role as an academic and community leader.
I have continued to write about the increasing capacity of education and the difficulties students and faculty will face in the years to come. Through additional research on the changes of the graphic design and the challenges faced in the education of the future generations I hope to complete a book on the topic. My initial research into addressing design from multiple perspectives only addresses the fundamental issues surrounding the topic and could benefit from further research and exploration. Moving forward and continuing to assess my research goals, I hope to expand my research in the coming years to study the affects of regional isolation on the designer and design education. Day-after-day my interest increases in how academia must fundamentally change in order to meet the demands of the future.
What Is a Designer?
Place a designer in a room of people who know very little about design and you will find yourself in a room filled with graphic designers. With the proliferation of the personal computer and the availability of the Adobe Creative Suite and other desktop publishing software, everyone believes they are a graphic designer. However, remove the word “graphic” from the title and you become a specialized individual who focuses on multiple tasks and works to deliver smart and precise solutions. For design is much more about the process than it is about the actual artifact that is produced. In percentages the artifact accounts for, at most, five percent of the creative process. A designer must approach each design as a creative challenge and work his or her way through the task. It is designer’s responsibility to be an expert in every field; we take on the role of investigator, asking questions and researching until we have found all the necessary answers. We must be an anthropologist, understanding the sensitivities of different people and cultures. A designer is much more than an individual who creates logos and brochures; we are active participants and interpreters of life.
Designer Turned Educator
While my mother nurtured my artistic talents and provided me with the inspiration, motivation and tools to become a successful designer, I owe my interest in education to my father. An early advocate of the use of technology in local educational systems, his belief of the importance of education and how it functions has offered great influence and insight. The belief that a single individual, put in the right situation, can influence change quickly developed into a passion, which was further nurtured in graduate school as I developed a new understanding of design. With the culmination of my formal education I was faced with a choice to continue my professional career or accept the challenge of passing on what I had learned to a new generation of design students. The decision was easy; I wanted to promote change in design education and better prepare students to enter into the field of design.