Nimble: Thinking Creatively and Strategically in the Digital Age

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

Employers want to hire nimble thinkers—people who are not only content experts but who also are agile in adapting to new technology and new directions in their fields. With rapid technological changes and globalization, the ability to think creatively and strategically is crucial. What employers want are creatives who can generate big ideas—platforms that build community, branded utilities, unique content as branded entertainment that is so good it competes with all entertainment, disruptive business models that benefit everyone, marketing as service, and products that make lives better.

To prepare students to be nimble thinkers, advertising design education in the digital age must incorporate problem finding and imagination preparation. Students must learn to be content creators, storytellers, and create brand experiences people want to share. Students need to learn to create “pull marketing,” content that pulls people in and that is shareworthy.

Advertising design pedagogy needs to address:

  • imagination preparation so that original ideas and works can emerge
  • the methods to teach content creation people will find engaging, relevant or beneficial
  • advertising as content creation, with the credo: entertain; inform; be useful; or do good.

This presentation focuses on advertising design pedagogy, on teaching students to be nimble.

 

Making Places: Design Methods And Practices In Interdisciplinary Scholarship Labs

Amy Papaelias
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
Art Department
SUNY New Paltz

Interdisciplinarity is the ability to combine, cross or think through multiple disciplines in order to create new bodies of knowledge. Environments that foster interdisciplinary scholarship and critical making explore innovative pedagogical and research approaches in the liberal arts, sciences, and humanities. Although these interdisciplinary scholarship labs (and related environments including makerspaces and digital humanities centers) exist at many institutions, few have explicitly brought design thinking and visual design strategies into their practices and research. By definition, design includes the collaborative creation of experiences, processes, systems, services, through the study of human behavior, social research methods, and critical thinking. Across a variety of disciplines, these design activities can benefit and enhance research and scholarship as integral to the dissemination and communication of new knowledge.

What is design’s role in these spaces? How are design methods and practices being implemented, engaged with, and applied to the liberal arts and sciences? In what ways can design help communicate complex visual messages, ideate physical artifacts, and build digital tools within these contexts? What are some of the challenges of integrating design methods or practitioners in cross-disciplinary projects and how might we encourage more collaboration between design and other disciplines within our institutions?

This presentation will discuss the role designers and design methods can play in interdisciplinary scholarship labs, centers, and spaces. I will share some of my current research that seeks to understand how design is integrated into these environments at colleges and universities. By examining design’s role in research and pedagogy outside of our own field, we can expand the possibilities for future emergent scholarly practices within design and beyond.

Worry Quest: Adventure Games for Fighting Anxiety

Matthew Bambach
MFA candidate, Graphic Design
Maryland Institute College of Art

Worry Quest is an app that helps fill gaps in mental health care experienced by young adults. It uses joy and technology to combat anxiety with simple, proven, psychotherapy techniques. The app lets youth envision themselves as a hero and their anxieties as a personalized monster. From there, they can choose between three different therapy adventures to “defeat their demons,” depending on how they prefer to cope with their own anxiety. Users are directed through a rousing dialogue with their “anxiety demon” and are rewarded along the way with pleasant visuals, sounds, and animations upon completing both tactile and self-reflective activities.

Activities in the app have been conceptualized from participatory research prompts, and are backed by approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Narrative Therapy, humor and mindfulness practice. The app continues to be developed in consultation with public input, beta testers, and mental health professionals. The app blends information design, interaction design, motion design, game design, user research and cognitive science—accessible through a device that nearly every millennial uses every day. By doing so, Worry Quest will help youth contextualize negative thoughts in an empowering way that affirms psychological agency and encourages positive self-care.
Abstract
Design Incubation Colloquium

Slow Plastic

Freedom Baird
MS in Media Arts and Science from the Media Lab at MIT
MFA candidate, Sculpture/Installation, Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Plastic is a material, and also a social and cultural construct. It arrives to most of us fully formed out of the “black box” of manufacturing. Plastic’s history—only a few generations old—is also something of a mystery to us despite plastic’s ubiquity in every facet of our lives. With this presentation we reclaim our awareness of the origins and manufacture of plastic, and how it can be made differently, including at home in the kitchen! We’ll look at plastic’s early role as an imposter, it’s emergence into our awareness as a material of convenience for an efficiently lived life, and it’s lingering reputation as a tawdry substitute. We’ll dig into the meaning of the word “synthetic” and consider that plastic might actually be a product of nature. We’ll investigate plastic’s impact in the design world, our expectations for plastic as consumers, and our responsibility to use it sustainably. And we’ll consider the environmental tactic of venerating plastic. The artist will bring samples of her Slow Plastic dinnerware, synthesized at home from cow’s milk, vinegar, rubbing alcohol and hot water.

Colloquium 2.5: Call for Submissions

Abstract Submission Deadline: February 21, 2016.
 For more details, see the Submission Process description. Email 300 word abstract to submissions@designincubation.com.

We invite all Communication Design researchers to submit abstracts for consideration by our panel of peers. Consider doing a remote presentation!  It’s only 6 minutes + 4 minutes for questions. Skype or GoogleHangouts.

Design Incubation Colloquium 2.5

Hosted by C.J. Yeh
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Time: TBD
Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)
227 W 27th Street
Room SR9
New York, NY 10001

Check back for details.

Please RSVP if you plan on attending. Space is limited.

Colloquium 2.5: Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)

Hosted by C.J. Yeh

Saturday, March 12, 2016
Time: 12:30PM – 3:30PM
Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)
227 W 27th Street
Room SR9
New York, NY 10001

Design Incubation Colloquia 2.5 (#DI2016mar) will be held at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in the garment district of Manhattan. This event is open to all interested in Communication Design research. RSVP with name and affiliations if you plan on attending.

Abstract submission for presentations deadline Feb 21, 2016.  For details visit the Call for Submissions, and Submission Process description.

Presentations

Nimble: Thinking Creatively and Strategically in the Digital Age
Robin Landa
Distinguished Professor
Michael Graves College
Robert Busch School of Design
Kean University

Making Places: Design Methods And Practices In Interdisciplinary Scholarship Labs
Amy Papaelias
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
Art Department
SUNY New Paltz

Freedom Baird
MS in Media Arts and Science from the Media Lab at MIT
MFA candidate, Sculpture/Installation, Massachusetts College of Art and Design

You Look Like the Right Type
Mark Addison Smith
Assistant Professor
Electronic Design and Multimedia
The City College of New York, CUNY

Worry Quest: Adventure Games for Fighting Anxiety
Matthew Bambach
MFA candidate
Graphic Design, Maryland Institute College of Art

Teaching Students Enough HTML & CSS to be Dangerous
Ben Hannam
Associate Professor,
School of Communications
Elon University

Designing Across Cultures
Joshua Korenblat
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
Art Department
State University of New York at New Paltz

Attendees
  • Phyllis Rosenblatt, CityTech
  • Christie Shin, FIT
  • Kathryn Weinstein, Queens College
  • Dimitry Tetin, SUNY New Paltz
  • George Garrastegui, CityTech
  • Elizabeth Guffey, SUNY Purchase
  • Genevieve Hitchings, CityTech
  • Pascal Glissmann, Parsons
  • Liz DeLuna, St. John’s
  • Ann Morris, Pratt Institute
  • Joe Wight
  • Matt Ferranto, Westchester CC
  • Jerron Smith, CityTech
  • Dan Wong, CityTech
  • Aaris Sherin, St. John’s