The content presented in the course notes reminded me of a paper I completed this past fall for my GRDS 502 course where I discussed the value of design education. It has been a subject I have been researching for a while, particularly in the area of graphic design. In Unit 1 we are provided with 5 criteria for an established profession: full-time occupation, formal training/educational programs, national professional organization, established code of ethics and licenses/certifications for practice. Graphic design covers all criteria with the exception of the last bit. This one of the main reasons design education has been place aside for many entering the field. Today it seems all you really need is a computer loaded with typefaces and the latest Adobe CS. Without certification the gates are wide open for anyone to use the title “designer”. This does not mean a formal education make someone a better designer, but I do believe some training particularly on the subjects of design thinking and theory are needed to develop the way designers create and solve problems.
On the other hand, I have also seen the need for more practice-based design to be pushed in the classroom – especially during undergrad. As an undergraduate student I had the opportunity to take an industrial design studio that provided real-world design problems and helped me apply my classroom experiences to solve them. We had a chance to work as teams with engineers, MBAs and directly with the clients to help develop products that would be presented to manufactures. The studio helped be see more of the design process, how to research and what questions to ask.
I can’t say if I am totally for a required license to practice push for graphic design – I can’t image a person being charged with designing without a license – but I do feel an educational base of some sort is needed to create a stronger designer. I used the following quote from Massimo Vignelli to close out my paper and I believe it provides a great point on what makes a good designer:
“There is no design without discipline. There is no discipline without intelligence.”