Sunday, July 6, 2008

Stating the Obvious

There are some basic design examples that every design education program should include. I'm mentioning this because I realized that, while looking at what is happening that is new today, we shouldn't forget that our students may not know much about some of the important design figures, events, and examples from the recent past that we take for granted.

Check to see if your students know who Frank Lloyd Wright (right) is and why he is considered one of the most important architects who has ever lived. Do they know why Fallingwater (left) is considered one of the most important private homes ever designed? Don't forget to tell them about Paul Rand, the father of graphic design, and Raymond Loewy, the father of industrial design. Be sure they know about the national influence of Frederick Law Olmsted on the design of parks. And yes, they certainly know about Walt Disney, but do they know why (despite what we may personally think of it) his work in the animation and theme park fields is so important to the history of design?

They may already know about Will Wright, the developer of video games like "Sim City" but do they know why experience design (simulations, virtual environments, interactive design) has become the leading design challenge in the 21st century?

With design, one of the problems is that, since it is so often right in front of our faces, we may forget to point out the obvious.

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