“To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means you can control or master.” -Milton Glaser.
Design is the dissemination of ideas through a visual language. It is about understanding, to the point where the concept seems transparent. It is learning to marry content, context, and composition and grasping the interplay of those three entities. We experience a pandemonium of different media that bombards us constantly and designers must rise above this noise.
An Ever-changing Medium
The very nature of new media is a cross-disciplinary study from design history to code syntax. Creating an atmosphere in which young designers can derive their own solutions, in whatever medium will best deliver the message, is key. I present ideas and visual references from history and popular culture. I question design choices and help nurture skills. Fostering a collaborative atmosphere through peer review and open conversation, I help designers learn to give and receive useful feedback. I assert that mere talent is not enough —students learn through problem solving, failure and persistence. This is how to wield a medium which is constantly shape-shifting with time and technology.
The Value of Process
Whether a sketch or a prototype, brainstorming allows the thought process to expand, edit, and grow a concept from ambiguity to clarity. This is an essential skill, as I believe the process of design should be attuned to the way the mind works as opposed to the way technology does. I encourage the development of the student’s process and constantly pose the question: “What can we learn from this?”
The societal responsibility of an artist is to engage and inform, to encourage community cohesion, and increase trust and understanding. I am interested in the practice of teaching for the reason of creating not only skilled designers, but intelligent and adept members of society. Millennials and younger generations tend to have a nimble understanding of technology, yet lack some principles that can be found in design and art history. This is one of the challenges in working with digital natives. I spent invaluable time studying traditional art in high school and my first two years of college before ever opening a design program. On this foundation I built my design career and technical skill set. I want to bridge this gap for my students because I believe the world needs astute visual communicators.