Graphic Design is about 90% thinking, organization, and reasoning, and about 10% making of objects. Design colleges are great at teaching how to make great design, but sometimes fall behind in the everyday components that Graphic Designers must use, in fear of hindering the creative process.
Starting October 24th, 2009, Matthew White of Dirk+Weiss will be teaching a pre-college class at the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University.
The class, titled Graphic Design Techniques, is a college credit course for high school students seeking to learn more about a career in graphic design. Typically, students would look at magazines, posters, and books; and topics such as type, image, and form would be addressed. When making my syllabus and course materials, I really thought about what Graphic Design Techniques are in the 21st century. Instead of the typical topics that you find in every college level graphic design curriculum, I decided to take a more eventual, and collaborative approach.
Here is a pull-quote from my class syllabus:
“Now more than ever, designers must realize the value of versatility. A designer’s skill set can influence all aspects of society. This course transcends traditional design techniques to explore contemporary design thinking.”
For example: Instead of showing stylized examples of graphic design, and lecturing about typography and the tools of designers, the class will collaborate and on projects and make pitch presentations to the class. While at the same time, learning Design Techniques such as:
- art vs. design
- designer collaboration
- connections between ideas
- design(ing) research
- reading the client
- presenting your work
- and more…
But what about type? Image? Form? Composition? How can a student design a class project without knowing about the rules of type?! Well, it’s not that those items will not come up in class. It is a graphic design class after all.
If it is a question of making pretty, and perfect examples of graphic design, then seven weeks is not a substitute for a design BFA. So emphasis will be placed on using whatever methods apply to the individual student, to design a solution for each project at hand. If a student is comfortable with illustration or photography, then use illustration or photography!
Since the course is only seven weeks, I would not expect a student to learn all about type, image, and composition, as well as learning a lot of the tools that make ’Graphic Design’ happen. Also, if the students do decide to pursue a career in Graphic Design, they will take four years worth of classes that will teach them those fundamentals.
Also, I was thinking about how to connect my course content to the students, and possibly others. Why not share my course materials with the world? So, in leu of using the college online learning environment “Blackboard”, I have chosen to post all class materials, projects, and external media to a Facebook fan page, specifically designed for this class. Im sure Blackboard is a great tool, but it’s cumbersome nature as far as posting links with images, YouTube videos, and photo galleries, seemed to be a hurdle that I wanted to avoid. The students are already on Facebook, so why not bring the class materials to an environment that they already understand.Share