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provocative thoughts on change from Jon Kolko

October 9, 2012

lisa hammershaimb

(while doing some browsing on I came across this article written by Jon Kolko (founder of Austin Center for Design) as a process/content overview of the 2010 AIGA Design Educator’s Conference: New Contexts/New Practices. Granted, it’s almost three years old so it’s no longer quite so “new” but Kolko makes some very interesting observations and definitely has some strong thoughts about the majority of design curriculum’s current deep love of Bauhaus teaching method. I’m still mulling over whether I’m pro Bauhaus or not (and in all truth am still brushing up on my own design education history) but I do think Kolko makes some super relevant points about how design is changing and I can look back at my MFA education and see these shifts loud and clear.) View full article here.

The Cultural Background: Moving Beyond Artifacts

For most of the field’s history, educational programs in graphic design have taught students how to create artifacts—how to develop printed posters, brand elements, pamphlets, postcards and signage. This work involves a number of core competencies, including but certainly not limited to color theory, two-dimensional design, three-dimensional design, typography, composition, printing and prepress, packaging, digital prepress, logo and mark creation. But the world has changed, and professionals rarely focus exclusively on printed material. In the last 20 years, the overall landscape of design has shifted:

  1. From singleartifact systems to designlanguage systems, focusing on a unified visual and semantic message across multiple printed pieces
  2. From one-way communicative artifacts, such as brochures, to interactive artifacts, such as software
  3. From designed artifacts to design thinking, where the focus of the design process is applied in the context of large-scale business, organizational or cultural problems
  4. From commercial goods toward service, emphasizing time-based, human and more experiential qualities of designed offerings
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