Revitalizing Reason in Design Education

Monday, December 6th, 2004

I’m sure Tom Gleason is telepathically tuned in to me. I’ve just taken a break from the last section of my book in which I’m talking about design education and its ‘kidnapping’ by the art world (I’ll tone it down for publication!) and then I read Tom’s post on rationality in design.

On the one hand, it’s great because it says exactly what I’m saying and just at the moment I need that reassurance. On the other it’s bad because I now have to be careful I don’t appear to be plagiarising him. Damn you, Tom! I think this is the third time it’s happened…

Any design faculty that is prepared to accept challenging views should have someone like this on their payroll. Trouble is, as I’ve found, arguing for rationality in design education is the equivelant of stealing the duvet. Before long if you don’t roll back over and go to sleep you’ll be kicked out of bed altogether. People like to be cosy.

Point . Design: Revitalizing Reason in Design Education: “A true study of design inevitably requires the student to realize and come to terms with the connections between (a) design and rationality and (b) rationality and communication.

The most important first lesson for a designer, the one lesson which initiates him or her as a designer, is this: Every design decision is in principle justifiable. In other words, design is reasonable. The designer has reasons for his or her choice of a typeface, graphic style, means of reproduction, etc. A piece is considered to be highly designed or well-designed when, if asked, the designer is able to argue convincingly for all of his or her design decisions. (continued…)”

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