Disrupting Genius: A Dialogical Approach to Design Pedagogy

Disruptive making methods to teach collaboration, discourage individual bias, and support understanding and connection amongst design students.

Bree McMahon 
Assistant Professor 
University of Arkansas

Rachael L. Paine 
Adjunct Professor
North Carolina State University

We are interested in examining the theme of ego and idea hoarding in student studios and design culture, methods for disrupting the existing monological status quo approach to design pedagogy, and opportunities for future culture shifts. During a short presentation, we will examine these themes and the outcomes of a classroom workshop case study which employed disruptive making methods to teach collaboration, discourage individual bias, and support understanding and connection amongst design students.

Dr. Philip Plowright criticizes the culture of design which aims to keep design unknowable (Plowright, personal communication, October 24, 2018). The conceptual foundations of design practice claim to be “indescribable and personal” (Plowright, 2017), with designers clinging to assertions that methods are idiosyncratic, steeped in personal genius. A genius instructor, fearful of sharing knowable, repeatable methods, must surely produce students who further promote this broken culture. When a designer’s goal is to be the smartest person in the room, the ego runs wild, idea hoarding takes over, creativity dwindles, and conversation suffocates.

During a collaborative design charette, students responded to questions about design authorship, origination, and agency. Using rapid prototyping, iterative processes, design dialogue, and making methods, students created multiple compositions reflecting their insights. Disruptive prompts were introduced throughout the workshop. A formal discussion followed the charette and participants engaged in a conversation.

Students explored complex topics in design culture and also learned methods for collaboration, which allowed for free knowledge exchange, design critique, and creative innovation. Challenging the traditional studio model provides a learning space for addressing new challenges or “wicked problems” while also learning skills for reaching agreements, coordinating actions, discussing specific goals, and exploring new modes of discovery (Dubberly & Pangaro, 2017).

Adopting a pedagogical approach that disrupts the idiosyncratic design culture keeps the ego in check, generates collaboration, fosters creativity, and encourages conversation. In the case of this workshop, participants began to see themselves as a smaller part of the collective whole, rather than an individual genius seeking personal gratification and recognition.

CITATIONS:

Dubberly, H., & Pangaro, P. (2017). Distinguishing between control and collaboration—and communication and conversation. She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation. 2. 116-118. 10.1016/j.sheji.2016.12.002.

Dubberly, H., & Pangaro, P. “What is conversation? How can we design for effective conversation?” Dubberly Design Office, 1 May 2009, Retrieved from www.dubberly.com/articles/what-is-conversation.html.

Pask, G. (1976). Conversation theory: Applications in education and epistemology. Elsevier Publishing Company, New York, NY, USA.

Plowright, P. (2017). Update – Project Goal. The cognitive structure of design methods (architecture). Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/project/The-cognitive-structure-of-design-methods-architecture

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
Room 213
Merrimack College
315 Turnpike Street
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

Moderators

Alex Girard
Assistant Professor
Southern Connecticut State University

Kelly Walters
Assistant Professor
Parsons, The New School

Presentations

Information Design and Voter Education: A Reflection on the 2018 Midterms and How to Design for 2020
Courtney Marchese
Associate Professor
Quinnipiac University

Visual Synthesis: Temporal and Expressive Exercises
Ann McDonald
Associate Professor
Northeastern University

Enter and Exit
Cheryl Beckett
Associate Professor
University of Houston

The Value of Impermanence in Design
Christopher Previte
Associate Professor
Franklin Pierce University

Using Icons to Encourage Visual Literacy on Campus
Lance Hidy
Accessible Media Specialist
Northern Essex Community College

Teaching the History of Graphic Design to Visual Learners
Ingrid Hess
Assistant Professor
University of Massachusetts Lowell

Humblebrag: A Game of Influence
Kathy Mueller
Assistant Professor
Temple University

African Americans in Advertising: Images, Stereotypes, and Symbolism
Omari Souza
Assistant Professor
Texas State University

Disrupting Genius: A Dialogical Approach to Design Pedagogy
Bree McMahon
Assistant Professor
University of Arkansas

Rachael L. Paine
Adjunct Professor
North Carolina State University

Price of Values
Shruthi Manjula Balakrishna
Graduate student
Vermont College of Fine Arts

Introducing MUGEN — A Javascript Library for Teaching Code Through Game Design
Brian James
Assistant Professor
St John’s University

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

Please join us, following the Colloquia, for a reception at 6 p.m. in the Rogers Center for the Arts. Drinks and appetizers will be served.

During the reception, artist Luba Lukova, will give an artist talk on her exhibition Designing Justice, which is located in the McCoy Gallery.

Venue

Crowe Hall Room 107

Directions on how to get to Merrimack College and Campus Map

Parking: Lot A, 8 am to 9 pm. Please no overnight parking.

Where to Stay

Andover Inn 978-775-4902
4 Chapel Ave., Andover, MA

Courtyard by Marriott 978-794-0700
10 Campanelli Drive, Andover, Ma 

Sonesta Suites 978-686-2000
4 Tech Drive, Andover, Ma

All of these hotels have a special Merrimack College Discount. Request the Merrimack Rate when booking.

Coffee Shops and Lunch options on campus

Dunkin’ Donuts

Starbucks

The Warrior’s Den

Zime

Restaurants in Downtown Andover, MA (2 miles away)

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

I believe we have a responsibility as educators to provide young people with honest information so that they are empowered to make choices that reflect their values.

Dave Gottwald
Assistant Professor
University of Idaho

When I was in graduate school, it was occasionally remarked that widely revered English artist Eric Gill was “a bit odd.” However, it was not until I had to prep a new History of Typography course that I realized this was a euphemism for “monster.” I knew that his eponymous san serif is essentially the Helvetica of the UK—you can find everywhere from British Rail and the BBC to the Church of England and many children’s books. Gill Sans is the face that advises all to KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON.

The truth is that Eric Gill molested two of his daughters from their teen years onward. He exposed himself to children and to women who worked for him. He maintained a sexual relationship with his sister for most of his life, and he even had carnal relations with the family dog. We know this from Gill’s own journals, which were brought to light in a definitive biography published in 1989. Yet in the two design history texts assigned for my course, one is completely silent about Gill’s crimes, and the other glosses over it.

I believe we have a responsibility as educators to provide young people with honest information so that they are empowered to make choices that reflect their values. Even though I teach at a rural campus in a conservative area, my students were more prepared to hear and talk about Gill’s crimes than I had anticipated. I will present a case study outlining the material presented, including highlights from our lively discussion about what responsibility one has in using a typeface. I will share the posters they designed about the subject, and quote from their written responses—both about Eric Gill and his typefaces, and their assessment of how I delivered the material.

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

Towards an Understanding of Cinema’s Impact on Design Education

Jason Tselentis
Associate Professor Of Design
College Of Visual And Performing Arts
Winthrop University

In the classroom, design students who view documentary films such as Gary Hustwit’s “Helvetica” (2007), Douglas Wilson’s “Linotype” (2012), and Briar Levit’s “Graphic Means” learn about designers, the tools they use (or used), and the meaning behind their creations. Film viewings and class discussions offer perspectives for students to recognize the significance (or lack of significance) a designer and/or their design has in yesterday’s and today’s culture.

To understand and appreciate designers and their work in those films and others has merit, exposing students to relevant issues and influences. But what can design students learn from not only watching such documentaries, but also investigating the methods and principles used for creating them? In cinematic arts and filmmaking degree and certificate programs, film studies deliver a framework to appreciate and understand cinematic creations. It’s visual literacy for cinema, teaching film students to read and analyze movies in preparation for making their own movies.

Film studies and filmmaking could also enhance a design student’s skill set. How would identifying a researchable documentary topic teach students about design history and design research, as well as storytelling? Studying film is also a platform for criticism. What could design students learn from fictional cinematic works, investigating the ways designers have been represented as antagonists, protagonists, or mere set dressing? What would design students say about the stereotypical designer, as (sometimes negatively) represented in movies and on television?

“Towards an Understanding of Cinema’s Impact on Design Education” will present a motion picture and film study platform  for design education that includes documentary films and more. It aims to demonstrate how a class (or classes) could shape design students into more well-rounded creatives, perhaps the next generation of filmmakers. And it proposes ways to mold them into capable and responsible critics or historians.

Recap of Teaching Type: A Panel Conversation

http://www.alphabettes.org/takeaways-on-teaching-type/

Read Amy Papaelias’ delightful synopsis of the panel discussion on Teaching Typography. Amy is Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at SUNY New Paltz and was one of the distinguished panelists at this past Saturday’s event at the Type Director’s Club.

 

Type Thursday Interview With Liz Deluna and Mark Zurolo

Read the interview with Thomas Jockin of Type Thursday, Liz Deluna and Mark Zurolo.

View story at Medium.com

Teaching Type: A Panel Conversation on Typography Education

Educators will discuss innovations, challenges and best practices for teaching typography.

As a mainstay of design, typography is a corner stone of most degree programs in visual communication design. Still questions abound. How and where typography is taught is as varied as its use in design applications. We invite you to join fellow educators in a conversation which will focus on how, where and when we teach typography. Our panelists will explore the role of typography in the continuum of design education and identify areas where traditional programs experience shortcomings and challenges. We will ask what fundamental skills should be taught and whether the way we are teaching typography needs to change in a screen-based world? Finally, we will ask the audience to participate in identifying specific skill sets and methodologies which should be part of type-centric design curriculum in the 21st Century.

The conversation will be moderated by Doug Clouse, President of TDC and Principal at The Graphics Office and Liz DeLuna, Associate Professor of Design at St. John’s University.

Type Directors Club
347 West 36th Street
Suite 603
New York, NY 10018

Saturday, April 1, 2017
2pm–5pm

Moderators

Liz DeLuna
Associate Professor of Design
St. John’s University

Doug Clouse
President, Type Directors Club
Principal, The Graphics Office

Panelists

Thomas Jockin
Founder of TypeThursday
Adjunct Professor
Queen’s College, CUNY
and Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY

Amy Papaelias
Assistant Professor
Graphic Design
SUNY New Paltz
Co-founder of Alphabettes.org

John Gambell
Senior Critic
Yale School of Art
Yale University Printer

Juliette Cezzar
Designer, Writer
Assistant Professor
Communication Design
Parsons School of Design, The New School

 

Hosted by the Type Directors Club.

Graphic Arts in the Liberal Arts: Panel Discussion @TypeDirectors

Educators discuss Graphic Design Programs at the Type Directors Club, Saturday, November 12, 2016. 2pm–5pm.

What challenges and obstacles do graphic design programs encounter today as they work to balance the multitude of critical thinking, and conceptual and technical skills needed to help students grow into thoughtful, adept and culturally aware design practitioners? How do programs housed in liberal arts institutions differ from those in art schools? We invite you to join educators in a conversation on the teaching of design in institutions with varied pedagogies and student communities.

 

Moderators

Liz Deluna
Associate Professor of Design
St. John’s University

Mark Zurolo
Associate Professor of Design
University of Connecticut

Panelists

Robin Landa
Distinguished Professor
Robert Busch School of Design
Michael Graves College
Kean University

Allan Espiritu
Associate Professor Graphic Design

Graphic Design Program Director

Rutgers University

Dan Wong

Associate Professor
Communication Design

New York City College of Technology, CUNY


Nick Rock
Assistant Professor Graphic Design

Boston University


Jessica Wexler
Assistant Professor Graphic Design

Purchase College, SUNY


Kelly Walters

Assistant Professor Graphic Design
University of Connecticut

Event Details

aiganySponsored by AIGA/NY

tdc-logoHosted by Type Directors Club

Saturday, November 12, 2016
2pm–5pm
Type Directors Club
347 West 36th Street, Suite 603
New York, NY 10018

Please register on AIGA/NY events page here.

Eat Your Vegetables: Sneaking in Conceptual: Thinking during Technical Instruction

Suzanne Dell’Orto
Adjunct Lecturer
Fine & Performing Arts
Baruch College, CUNY

“Eat Your Vegetables: Sneaking in Conceptual Thinking during Technical Instruction” is an experiential progression of graphic design projects that helps to introduce and refine the technical skills essential to professional practice. More important, it overlays other 21st century skills, adding pedagogical depth to the skill-building through an implicit layer of meaning-making, critical thinking, and abstract and symbolic thinking.

My introductory graphic design class is mandated to build the skills to communicate ideas and cover the essence of branding (a highly competitive game of attention-getting, recognition and trust), and the class is enriched by the addition of a critical thinking element. Students imagine, conceptualize, then filter and form allegiances to a random “theme word” assigned at the beginning of the semester. The challenge of deepening the development of this key word threads through 15 weeks of instruction, intersecting critical thinking with learning technical skills. This approach also allows the mimicking of a real-life designer/client relationship, using the theme word as a surrogate client. Students also learn and use tools for thinking in the curricular sequence, some borrowed from other domains such as the writing process of “word mapping”.

Attendees will learn, in this illustrated lecture, that the complexities of contemporary professional practice and the competitive global business context demand a critical and creative approach to foundational coursework––well-prepared hands, eyes, and minds.