Archive for April, 2010

Environment & Learning

April 20th, 2010 by Katie Koch | 1 Comment | Filed in Discovery, Inspirations, Research

A child from a family rich in books is 19 percentage points more likely to complete university than a comparable child growing up without a home library.”

In this New York Times post, it is revealed that having more books (and other valuable resources, perhaps?) in the home increases a child’s chances of academic success.

In our thinking about design education we’ve been very focused on how to promote creative thinking in the classroom and at the school environment. Of course this is where we have the greatest amount of access to the way students learn, but it makes me wonder if there are solutions we can consider that affect the ways in which children are learning in their home environment, outside of the classroom and their peers. Without access to design classes at a K-12 level, this is the space where designers learn how to think. Many young designers are self-propelled, seeking out the necessary resources to learn about design without guidance or formal academic support until the undergraduate level.

The NYT article reminded me of the Creative Mornings talk with Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, founder of Apartment Therapy. He began his career as an interior designer and transitioned into elementary education. He spoke about his unique position at a small school where he was able to visit his students’ homes once a year. His discovery was similar: the students whose homes were organized and clean performed better at school.

How does environment shape a child’s capacity to learn? How does it impact his willingness to think about new ideas and possibilities rather than simply following a prescribed educational track?

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How did you first discover design?

April 14th, 2010 by Katie Koch | 1 Comment | Filed in Discovery, Inspirations, Interviews, Research

Unless they grew up with a parent or relative who was a designer, most kids don’t know what the term “design” means. Every designer comes to a moment in his or her life where he realizes there’s a name for the all the things he’s interested in: design.

We offered the question, “How did you first discover design?” in an online survey to anyone who would answer.┬áHere are some of the responses we received:

Through advertising. Where I went to school, no one ever exposed me to the idea of design as something you could do for a living. It was my understanding that the people who created the visual pieces that communicate to people were in advertising. Silly as it sounds, it wasn’t until the design community came to the internet that I discovered that graphic design was, in and of itself, as thing. From there, I came to realize the existence of a wide range of design disciplines, and finally to one that brought my various interests together.

I thought it was just designing logos and t-shirts in high school. I made a website senior year of college and I realized design could be all sorts of other things.

I studied fine arts in high school and college, and was regularly taught by my art teachers that fine arts was some kind of a higher calling than the more professional/vocational art disciplines: illustration, graphic design, industrial design, etc. I wanted to be a fine artist, showing my work in galleries. It wasn’t until a good ten years after graduation from college and working professionally as a game designer and interaction designer did I realize that I was, in fact, a designer.

On-the-job training, through trial and error. I never really received any formal design education, but I’ve had the good fortune to work with a few extremely talented designers over the years.

by playing LEGO

I dont really remember how i discovered design…i just like to draw. That got me into art classes, then it just spawned into type, and creating things, and then before i knew it i was already in.

I’m a writer first. Worked on a ‘zine with a friend of mine. A compilation of writing that we’d wanted to just put out there and give to our friends. 2nd issue of the zine, we’d wanted to make it look better by choosing fonts and drawing cartoons. It was then that I fell in love with what I didn’t know yet was typography. I didn’t know that graphic design was even a discipline and I could study something like typography, which was the gateway to graphic design.

It was early early on, I’m sure when my mother had us make our own crayons in order to draw. But I don’t remember being able to “call” it design until college when I was introduced to it formally.

I first discovered GOOD design as a freshman in college trying to impress my art student friends at Columbus College of Art and Design and Rhode Island Institute of Art that a small liberal arts college student could produce similar compositions. In the short term, I was largely mistaken by my capabilities. Granted, a lot of art students don’t know good design if it hit them repeatedly over the forehead, but the criticism and unwarranted snobbery pushed me into developing a more refined interest in design. I had known all the rules of composition, which had been in grained in my creative process, since my childhood art classes. However, suburban Cleveland is not a conducive environment for the creative type and a lot of exposure to design was from concert posters, which are riddled with inspiring illustrations but really poor typography. The truth is, I am embarrassed that I did not discover real design until I was 20 years old in my first typography course. I not only found good design, but fixable mount adhesive, or rubber cement, should not be left in the presence of the lead videographer at a small university because it is highly flammable and was used to set fire to my office floor. A fire extinguisher was used to put out the flames.

What about you? How did you first discover what “design” means?


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Kids as Entrepreneurs

April 12th, 2010 by Katie Koch | No Comments | Filed in Business, Discovery, Inspirations

Check out this talk from Cameron Herold at TEDxEdmonton! So much of what he’s talking about can be applied to the way we think about teaching kids to be designers and creative thinkers. Definitely worth a watch.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCar_sFfEf4]

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