Thursday, March 13, 2008

What is design education?

Design education is more than the elements and principles of design. Good design is a crossover of sustainability, accessibility, aesthetics, and commercial viability.

Design includes:
Design of images like graphic design, typography, print and web design;
Design of objects like product design, fashion, auto design, furniture, appliances, etc.;
Design of spaces and places like architecture, urban planning and landscape design; and
Design of experiences like toy and video game design, theme park and children's museum design.

Design is usually intended for someone else to use. Unlike fine art, design is not done for personal self-expression but to meet the needs of others.

Exceptions can always be found but, unlike crafts, design does not necessarily focus on hand-made craftsmanship. Many designs are mass-produced by people other than the designer.

Designers often use tools such as rulers, T-squares, mechanical pencils and pens, tracing paper, computers, cameras, and other technology. If a project focuses primarily on a hand-made, organic, free-form look it is probably more of an art or craft project than a design project.

If a project is intended to result in a unique, one-of-a-kind image or object, it is probably more of an art or craft project than a design project. If it is intended to be reproduced for wide distribution it may be closer to being a design project.

Graphic designers carefully select appropriate papers for printing from thousands of possibilities. Understanding the characteristics of paper and how it influences the layout of type, graphics and illustrations is essential to graphic design for print. Making handmade paper or one-of-a-kind books is more of an art or craft project than a design project.

Typographers study thousands of typefaces and learn how to create and layout text appropriately for reproduction. Creating one-of-a-kind decorative word images is probably more of an art or craft activity than a design project.

Designing furniture begins with the structure, function and use others will make of it. Painting an existing chair is more of an art or craft project than a design project.

Architecture often focuses on the structure of a building, the materials and use. Designing a building or an interior can be a design project. Painting a mural on an existing wall is more of an art or craft project rather than a design project.

Drawing a picture of an existing building is usually more of an art or craft project than a design project. Creating a fantasy building without attention to materials, use, or construction is probably more of an art or craft activity than a design project.

Color theory in art and crafts is usually the traditional subtractive color system with red, yellow and blue as primaries. Digital and light designers usually use RGB color systems (red, green, and blue as primaries). Print designers usually use CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) color systems. Web designers usually use hexadecimal color designations (000000). A designer can usually answer the question, "What colors does a TV set or computer mix to get yellow?"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful article - clearly defines the difference between art and design! There are exceptions that straddle the barrier - Haute Couture fashion, food at the very best restaurants, a hand-made vehicle made to order... William Morris certainly straddled the line! ~Carolann Tebbetts