Sunday, March 6, 2011

Linking Design to Special Events Throughout the Year

Various holidays, events, and occasions throughout the year lend themselves to design-related themes. Mardi Gras in the spring, the Academy Awards in the winter, and Halloween in the fall, provide opportunities to explore the processes, history and innovations in costume, prop and make-up design.

Mardi Gras and Halloween are more a part of the Visual Culture domain than the world of Design because the forms come out of the vernacular cultural traditions carried on by non-professionals but they can be used as hooks for getting students to look at the people and professions where designers are called upon to contribute their unique knowledge and talents.

People who design makeup, props and costumes work in fields as diverse as game design, theme park design, exhibit design, advertising, animation, television, movies and the live stage. This year, Rick Baker won his 7th Academy Award for makeup design for transforming Benicio del Toro and Anthony Hopkins into werewolves in the movie Wolfman.

Use special occasions as opportunities to introduce fields of design that students might not normally think about because, for some students, these might be areas to which they would like to devote their lives. At Mardi Gras World in New Orleans they held a workshop on float design using styrofoam and children's wagons as small versions of the Mardi Gras float platforms. Imagine a Mardi Gras parade at the scale of children's toy wagons in your school.

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