In Chapter 15 of 17 designer and educator Jon Kolko shares how design schools can improve how they teach. He notes that most
design professors teach what they have learned which is rooted in traditional design theory such as Bauhaus form giving, meaning color theory, typography, 2D design and 3D design. He highlights these are relevant for manufactured product design and not necessarily for social problem solving design.
Tags:Improve Design School Education and Teaching,design in 21st century,design in new age,design school education,design teaching,teaching design methods,teaching new techniques,capture your flag,jon kolko
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Erik: What opportunity do you see to improve how design schools teach?
Jon: Ah there’s a lot of opportunity for designs schools to improve how they teach. The – there’s a number of different conversations occurring right now in traditional industrial design circles and then traditional prints or graphic design circles alluding to the fact that there is a crisis of design education in the United States and I think this is true in Europe too, to some degree although to a much lesser degree. Professors are teaching what they learned. What they learned is deeply rooted in bauhaus form giving meaning color theory and typography and 3D design and studio design. Those are all valuable things when the artifact you’re making is a – an item, a mass produced object or a poster or an annual report. Those are much, much less important when the problem you’re solving is access to clean drinking water in the middle of Nairobi and so – and arguably, those aren’t important at all, which is – which is a highly controversial thing to say in a graphic design circle, your typography is not important. ‘Whoa! Wow! I don’t know about that.’ It’s gonna take a lot of old dogs learning new tricks or a lot of new dogs to really get the type of new design education paradigm as a norm in the United States. There are some notable exceptions to that but most of those notable exceptions are coming out of Sweden, Finland, Denmark. I think the program at Malmö University in Sweden, the program at CID in Copenhagen, there’s a – the chaos pilots program in Denmark, all of them are focusing on a much broader sense of how design thinking and design doing play a role in – in large scale problem solving. I spent about six weeks in Malmö University and they’re working with a very small area a town called Rosengård which is the first stop for a great deal of immigrants that are leaving the middle east. I’m not sure why? It doesn’t – I mean geographically, it doesn’t make a lot of sense but there are some large percentage, disproportioned percentage of unemployed immigrants, mostly women and children living in the city and so the school, the university is working with them to understand, how they can empower them to – to have the self esteem, to – to find a career path, to find a life path. Those are problems worth solving and the end result is not a beautiful annual report for British Petroleum, it’s something very, very different. The artifacts that are made to support that, maybe a print piece, it maybe a website, it maybe a mobile phone application or it may be just a system or a way of changing policy but all of those things required a designerly approach.
Capture Your Flag creates a model of success college graduates and early- to mid- career professionals can follow by interviewing up and coming leaders about formative decisions and experiences shaping their careers.