Adapting radition to the Future

THE FUTURE OF DESIGN EDUCATION
Author:
Lauren Platts
Company/School:
Purdue University

Lauren Platts
Purdue University

1.     Identifying a trend overlap

Trends. This short word encompasses a great deal. To a designer, it defines a whole category of insights that are fundamental to good, usable, and innovative design. There are many trends that are obvious, and readily referenced such as color, technology, and fashion, but there are other trends that exist on a macro level, at the juncture and overlap of these other patterns, and one of these, is the trend toward a return to traditional ways. This trend has emerged as a reaction to the complexity of modern life, trying to simplify and re-personalize the way we live our lives.  People are starting to farm and garden at home instead of trusting their produce to big box supermarkets.  A maker movement has emerged, where people are starting to micro-manufacture products in their homes and garages, bypassing large corporate manufactured goods. Public transportation has been revolutionized by private citizens through peer-to-peer services like Uber and Lyft.  AirBnB has returned us to a time of finding lodging in a friendly neighbor’s home. This return to privatization, collaborative functionality, and person-to-person commerce, can also be seen in many other areas of society.  It is not a stretch, then, to suggest that these trends can, and most likely will, project themselves into the world of design academia.  The future of design education could be characterized by this return to traditions, manifesting itself through integrated grade levels and whole department, apprentice-style business relationships, both established within an iterative, technology driven curriculum that teaches design students to design the future.

2.     Benchmarking current design pedagogy

Today’s design studio pedagogy focuses on four main sources of knowledge: academic, craft, technological, and sociological (Salama and Wilkinson).  The academic segment focuses on composition and design theory. Backed with years of design history, the academic tradition hopes to teach the design student how to “think” like a designer, and creatively and beautifully solve problems.  The craft segment is centered around teaching students the building trade, focusing on attention to detail and finish, with “beauty and form as an end” (Salama and...read more.

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