I honestly believe that it’s an amazing time to be a designer, even though the idea of design education has gotten a bit of a beating in the press recently. It’s interesting that the general public still seems to think that art and design simply happen. That it’s something that almost anyone can do.To some degree I would agree. Yes anyone can make art, but what makes good art is work that is supported by strong thinking, process ideation and a deep study of basic skills. These are the things that separate the “hobbyist” or unskilled artists from the Professional artist. The work has a depth to it that shows that it’s backed by strong skills and thinking.
As an educator I find that you can most definitely teach skills. That’s the easy part. It’s very mechanical and a step by step process. They can create work, or recreate work, but there is something “missing”. A depth and meaning to the work that can only come from thinking and process. Making deeper connections to the viewer that speaks on multiple levels. This is what make a real Designer. A Professional Designer.
We can give students the tools to formalize and better understand their thinking; however, the onus is on the student to challenge themselves and bring their unique perspective to the table. We can’t make them be amazing, but we can foster it.
This all brings me back to my opening sentence, it’s a great time to be a designer. Yes there is a flood of artists and designers in the market. Yes there are designers that are struggling to make a living, who isn’t these days. Yes the challenges are greater to get and secure work, but good designers, with strong work and confidence in their work will ALWAYS be successful.