Thoughtful Social Impact Through Scaffolded Design Methods and Well-Time Fieldwork

A spring 2018 design studio, case study—how to attain that balance of a good quality course and meaningful social design.

Cynthia Lawson
Associate Professor of Integrated Design
Parsons, The New School

Alik Mikaelian
MFA Transdisciplinary Design Candidate
DEED Lab Research Fellow
Parsons, The New School

Devanshi Sihare
Design Strategist

Megan Willy
MFA Transdisciplinary Design Candidate
Parsons, The New School

The past decade has seen an explosion of interest from the design academy in running projects and courses on design and social impact. The challenge remains, however, to have students get enough exposure on relevant competencies in the 15-week semester.

This presentation discusses a spring 2018 design studio as a case study in how to attain that balance of a good quality course and meaningful social design. Specific methods of both course development and delivery as well as conducting design research are discussed. The ultimate stakeholders of this course’s projects were in a different country and not easily accessible, adding a particular complexity.

The first part of the semester included exercises such as an Ecosystem Map and the Business Model Canvas. Students developed a Theory of Change placing special emphasis on the assumptions they were making about their stakeholders, which were clarified during the fieldwork research which took place in Guatemala over Spring Break.

The second part of the semester included expert interviews and guest visits, to support each project in becoming  as realistic as possible.

We argue that while the design process is often used as the central point of discussion for studios, there are, in fact, other variables such as the weekly structure, the timing of fieldwork, and the explicit scaffolding of learning, which can yield more effective social impact design. The key is getting enough exposure on relevant competencies dealing with social impact design into the 15 week semester.

Story-Doing Concepts

To create a fundamental shift to what a brand or entity’s story can do for the greater good, we have to think of storytelling in terms of actions.

Robin Landa  
Distinguished Professor
Michael Graves College, Kean University

Underpinning any successful brand or nonprofit is a distinctive story. In today’s global economy, to differentiate a brand, social cause, or organization in people’s minds, storytelling is critical. That story involves brand values and strategy—what a brand or entity stands for and communicates. To create a fundamental shift to what a brand or entity’s story can do for the greater good, we have to think of storytelling in terms of actions. Ty Montague and Rosemarie Ryan, creative directors at co: collective, call this proposition StoryDoing.

Rather than conceiving promotional communication design that merely tells the brand story, I teach students to conceive promotional design concepts that involve beneficial actions on the part of the brand or entity. To conceive story-­‐doing concepts, one needs to restructure the idea generation process to embrace social good. Can the communication design solutions contribute to society in terms of beneficial messaging, a business platform (think Bombas or Warby Parker), or charitable works?

Think of how Dove brand advertising changed the conversation about beauty through their Real Beauty campaigns. Dove listened to the negative messaging women were writing on social media and set out to change the conversation. Partnering with NBA star Kevin Durant, Kind Snacks announced their goal was to “launch a new cultural initiative that aims to challenge deeply rooted stereotypes and redefine cultural perceptions of strength and kindness.” Instead of merely promoting Kind Snacks, their communication design goals included changing the conversation about what it means to be strong.

The story-doing proposition can become an organizing principle for conceiving communication design concepts incorporating socially positive actions on the part of a brand. To shift the brand storytelling paradigm to a story-doing one, students must learn how to conceive brand stories with organic beneficial actions. This presentation will center on teaching students to conceive story-doing design projects.

Tactics & Strategies

This presentation will discuss tactics and strategies for critique within the design school classroom that go beyond the archetypal “group crit,” and into innovative and unexpected ways of engaging students in critical dialog.

Mitch Goldstein
Assistant Professor
School of Design
Rochester Institute of Technology

Educating designers is a complex and layered process — a chaotic mixture of facts and opinions disseminated primarily through critical discourse. This presentation will discuss tactics and strategies for critique within the design school classroom that go beyond the archetypal “group crit,” and into innovative and unexpected ways of engaging students in critical dialog.

The AIGA “Designer of 2025” suggests that students need to learn a number of emerging competencies while attending design school, including working with complexity, understanding accountability for their design decisions, and embracing new forms of sense-making and dialog within their work. In addition to teaching the formal and methodological elements of design, educators need to make sure students have a clear understanding of why and how their design decisions resulted in work that accomplished its goal or missed the mark. This understanding primarily comes from critique.

Educators place a high value on critique, for many of us, it is how we spend the majority of our class time. Traditionally, critique has happened in a large group setting, with all members of the class and the instructor discussing each project one by one and offering feedback as a group. This method has value but is too often about social baggage and performance art, with the same handful of outgoing students doing most of the talking, drowning out students who are quieter or more anxious in large groups. This presentation asks a simple question: what are the most useful, most effective ways to give and receive feedback in the classroom? We have all had students we know are excellent thinkers but never speak in a large group critique — it may be time to move past the traditional models of feedback into other ways of helping students better understand what is happening within their work.

Communication Design Educators Awards 2018: Design Incubation

2018 Design Incubation Educators Awards competition in 4 categories— Creative Work, Published Research, Teaching, Service.

Call for Entries: Deadline, May 31, 2018

Recognition of excellence through peer review in scholarship, teaching, and service is fundamental to the professional development of communication design academics. To support this need, Design Incubation established the Communication Design Educators Awards in 2016.

An independent jury of esteemed design educators is invited by the Awards Jury Chair. This year’s jury chair, Maria Rogal, invited these internationally recognized jurors: Jorge Meza Aguilar, Ruki Ravikumar, Wendy Siuyi Wong, and Steven McCarthy. Rogal writes, “this jury reflects the diverse perspectives and experiences that exist in communication design today.”

The awards acknowledge faculty accomplishments in the areas of published research, creative work, teaching, and service. The award processes and procedures are rigorous, transparent, and objective. They reflect Design Incubation’s mission to foster professional development and discourse within the design community.

This year, award entries are open February 1, 2018 – May 31, 2018 via the online application. An overview of the awards program is on our website.

We are excited to announce Bloomsbury Publishing is sponsoring this year’s awards.

The 2018 Jury

Steven McCarthy is Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis/St. Paul. He conceived of the Design Incubation Communication Design Educators Awards and chaired the jury in both 2016 and 2017. McCarthy’s teaching, scholarship, and contributions to the discipline include lectures, exhibitions, publications, and grant-funded research on a global scale. His creative work was featured in 125+ exhibitions and he is the author of The Designer As… Author, Producer, Activist, Entrepreneur, Curator and Collaborator: New Models for Communicating (BIS, Amsterdam). From 2014–2017, McCarthy served on the board of directors of the Minnesota Center for Book Arts.

Jorge Meza Aguilar is Professor of Strategic Design and Provost for Outreach and Collaboration at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, where he founded the Bachelor in Interactive Design and the Master in Strategic Design and Innovation programs. He is widely recognized as an expert in strategic design and is the founding Director of Estrategas Digitales which focuses on research, strategic design, branding, trend forecasting, branding, Internet, and digital media. Meza is also a consultant and entreprenuer and holds degrees in art, graphic design, and systems engineering. Previously, he studied in and worked as a designer in Poland at Advertising Agency Schulz.

Ruki Ravikumar is Director of Education at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, a position she has held since April 2017. She joined the museum following thirteen years of service at the University of Central Oklahoma, where she held successive positions as professor of graphic design; director of graduate programs; chair of the Department of Design; assistant dean; and most recently, as associate dean of the College of Fine Arts & Design. In addition to her practice as an educator and published researcher in the areas of intersections between graphic design and culture and their impact on design education, she is also an award winning graphic designer. Further, she has served in leadership roles at the local and national levels of AIGA, the professional association for design.

Maria Rogal, Jury Chair, is Professor of Graphic Design, School of Art + Art History at the University of Florida and was Interim Director from 2015–2017. She is the founder of Design for Development (D4D), an award-winning initiative to co-design with indigenous entrepreneurs and subject matter experts to generate sustainable and responsible local outcomes. She has lectured and published about D4D, recently co-authoring “CoDesigning for Development,” which appears in The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Design. Her research has been funded by AIGA, Sappi, and Fulbright programs, among others, and her creative design work has been featured in national and international juried exhibitions.

Wendy Siuyi Wong is Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Department of Design at the York University, Toronto, Canada. She has established an international reputation as an expert in Chinese graphic design history and Chinese comic art history. She is the author of Hong Kong Comics: A History of Manhua, published by Princeton Architectural Press (2002). She is a contributor to the Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design (2012), The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Design (2015), and acts as a regional editor of the Greater China region for the Encyclopedia of East Asian Design to be published by Bloomsbury Publishing. Also, Dr. Wong has served as an editorial board member of Journal of Design History.

Colloquium 4.4: Parsons Integrated Design

Design Incubation Colloquium 4.4 (#DI2018jun) will be held at Parsons Integrated Design on Thursday, June 14, 2018.

Design Incubation Colloquium 4.4 (#DI2018jun) will be held at Parsons Integrated Design on Thursday, June 14, 2018.

Hosted by Cynthia Lawson and the department of Integrated Design. This event is open to all interested in Communication Design research.

Thursday, June 14th
10:30am–1:30pm
The New School
Theresa Lang Student Center
55 W. 13th St., 2nd floor
New York, NY 11011

 

To attend this event, register here. Abstract submission of presentations deadline April 15, 2017.  For details visit the Colloquia Overview and  Online Submission Form. 

Presentations

The Future of Water

Jeannie Joshi
Principal/Director
Joshi Design LLC (joshidesign.com)

Mike Edwards
Founder/Lead Technologist
rich | strange (richstrange.com)

Teaching the Truth About Eric Gill in the Age of #MeToo: A Classroom Case Study

Dave Gottwald
Assistant Professor
University of Idaho

Tactics & Strategies

Mitch Goldstein
Assistant Professor
School of Design
Rochester Institute of Technology

Story-Doing Concepts

Robin Landa
Distinguished Professor
Michael Graves College, Kean University

Visualizing Historical Arguments

Camila Afanador-Llach
Assistant Professor, Graphic Design
Florida Atlantic University

Power in the Dark

Nina Cooke John
Assistant Professor
Parsons, The New School for Design

Thoughtful Social Impact Through Scaffolded Design Methods and Well-Time Fieldwork

Cynthia Lawson
Associate Professor of Integrated Design
Parsons, The New School

Alik Mikaelian
MFA Transdisciplinary Design Candidate
DEED Lab Research Fellow
Parsons, The New School

Devanshi Sihare
Design Strategist

Megan Willy
MFA Transdisciplinary Design Candidate
Parsons, The New School

PERSONALIZE. COMMUNICATE. SOCIALIZE. LISTEN. PREPARE: Teaching Professional Practices for Designers

Holly Tienken
Assistant Professor
Communication Design
Kutztown University

Urban Abstract Design of Modern Architecture in Bauhaus

Min K. Pak
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
Art & Design
University of Southern Indiana

 

Developing Citizen Designers: Our Civic Responsibility

Social Design is the practice of design where the primary motivation is to promote positive social change within society. As the design industry evolves, so too must design education.

Social Design is the practice of design where the primary motivation is to promote positive social change within society. As the design industry evolves, so too must design education. Developing Citizen Designers is a compilation of case studies written by design educators to address the notion that design, and the teaching of design, can empower students to play a more an active role in improving the way they live, interact and communicate with each other and their audiences. My presentation will address how social design pedagogy can be developed to address concrete social needs utilizing strategies like design thinking, collaborative learning and participatory design process.

Elizabeth Resnick is a Professor Emerita, former chair of Graphic Design and current part-time faculty at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts. She earned her B.F.A. / M.F.A. in Graphic Design at Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island.

Professor Resnick is also an active design curator having organized 7 comprehensive design exhibitions, the last 4 on socio-political graphic design: The Graphic Imperative: International Posters of Peace, Social Justice and The Environment 1965–2005; Graphic Intervention: 25 Years of International AIDS Awareness Posters 1985–2010; Graphic Advocacy: International Posters for the Digital Age: 2001–2012 and Women’s Rights Are Human Rights: International Posters on Gender-based Inequality, Violence and Discrimination (2016) investigating gender-based inequalities deeply entrenched in every global society.

Her publications include catalogs for the exhibitions, plus Developing Citizen Designers, Bloomsbury Academic (2016), Design for Communication: Conceptual Graphic Design Basics, John Wiley & Sons Publishers (2003) and Graphic Design: A Problem-Solving Approach to Visual Communication, Prentice-Hall Publications” (1984). She is currently working on ‘The Social Design Reader’ for Bloomsbury Academic (2019).

Elizabeth Resnick
Professor Emerita, part-time faculty, Graphic Design
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
621 Huntington Avenue, T617
Boston, Massachusetts 02115 USA

Elizabeth.Resnick@massart.edu

Colloquium 5.3: Merrimack College

Design Incubation Colloquium 5.3 (#DI2019mar) will be held at Merrimack College on Saturday, March 30, 2019, 10:00am-6:00pm.

Design Incubation Colloquium 5.3 (#DI2019mar) will be held at Merrimack College on Saturday, March 30, 2019, 10:00am-6:00pm.

Hosted by Nancy Wynn and the Department of Visual and Performing Arts. This event is open to all interested in Communication Design research.

Crowe Hall
Classroom #107
Merrimack College
315 Turnpike Ave
North Andover, MA

Featured Presentation

Developing Citizen Designers: Our Civic Responsibility
Elizabeth Resnick
Professor Emerita, part-time faculty, Graphic Design
Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Abstract submission of presentations deadline Monday, December 31, 2018. For details visit the Colloquia Overview and Online Submission Form.

Visit back to this page for more details.

How important is it for an author to have a significant social media presence and to demonstrate that to the publisher?

Questions: How important is it for an author to have a significant social media presence and to demonstrate that to the publisher? –SR 

Answer: Generally a social media presence is less important in academic publishing than in trade publishing (which are books for the general reader).

But obviously being able to utilise your contacts for promotion of the book is certainly a plus and may well reach people we wouldn’t naturally get to with our own marketing. 

It wouldn’t be a sticking point really though on whether a project was signed up – there are plenty of hugely successful academic authors who barely touch social media.

Your background, the project and the reviews are the most significant aspects for us.  It’s nice to be able to say when presenting a new book idea to our committee that an author has 10,000+ followers, and we would certainly exploit that with the author’s help, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the book will sell any better than one which relies on our own marketing contacts. 

With fairly limited marketing budgets across academic publishing, having a pro-active author, whether on social media or through other channels, is a big help in reaching the right people.

Louise Baird-Smith
Commissioning Editor – Design and Photography
Bloomsbury Visual Arts

“Ask the Editor” is a Design Incubation series, where design academics, researchers, and practitioners pose their questions to editors of books, journals, conferences and other academic and design trade publishing organizations. If you would like your questions answered by publishing professionals, send your questions to Design Incubation via the “Ask the Editor” form on our website.

Aaris Sherin’s Latest Book, Introduction to Graphic Design, A Guide to Thinking, Process, and Style

Our own Aaris Sherin, director of the Fellowship Program at Design Incubation has recently published an Introduction to Graphic Design: A Guide to Thinking, Process, and Style, with Bloomsbury publishing.

Looking for a new book for Graphic Design 1 or a basic design class? Sherin’s text introduces students to the design process and examines the current landscape of contemporary design practice in addition to including chapters on layout and production and the use of basic visual elements such as color, type and shape. This textbook includes over 500 images from international designers explains critical thinking and visual exploration in addition to describing the special relationship graphic designers have to creative problem solving. Check it out!

Can an author approach more than one publisher at the same time?

Answer: This is an interesting question and one which has caused much discussion even in our office! 

Question: Can an author approach more than one publisher at the same time? -MR

Answer: This is an interesting question and one which has caused much discussion even in our office! 

In some cases, publishers will request that you only approach one at a time, but this isn’t always enforced in every subject or publisher.  Some editors I’ve heard will not consider a project if it has been sent to multiple publishers – the argument being that it can seem like you’ve just sent it out haphazardly to everyone, without fully considering which is the best publisher for you and the project.  It’s best to really consider who already publishes in the area you’re working in, where the best books are coming from and whether the reputation of the publisher is right for you (for instance, if you need a university press for tenure, or you need a publisher who double reviews the manuscripts, and so on).  As each publisher will invest time and money in the review process, submitting to various places is a difficult one, but you should certainly feel free to submit elsewhere if you haven’t heard back.

I’d personally say that given the fact it can sometimes take a little while to hear back from editors initially, it might be worth approaching a few to start with to gauge interest – however, it is best to be upfront about this, and certainly once you have had contact with an editor you need to make it clear to everyone if the project is also being considered by another publisher (for politeness as well as practicalities).  It is tricky if you were to get to the point of being offered a contract by two publishers at the same time without either knowing you’d been discussing the project elsewhere, especially as by that point there will likely have been a significant amount of input from the publishers and reviewers in developing the overall approach of the project.  Again, if in doubt have a look at the publisher’s website and see if there is guidance on multiple submissions.  And individually submitting the same project to several editors at the same publisher is generally poor form – if you’re not quite sure who to approach, try one editor and ask them to pass the project on to a colleague if it’s not right for them, or copy the editors into the same email so they don’t all end up individually assessing the same project.   

Louise Baird-Smith
Commissioning Editor – Design and Photography
Bloomsbury Visual Arts

“Ask the Editor” is a Design Incubation series, where design academics, researchers, and practitioners pose their questions to editors of books, journals, conferences and other academic and design trade publishing organizations. If you would like your questions answered by publishing professionals, send your questions to Design Incubation via the “Ask the Editor” form on our website.