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Monday 09|10|01
Teaching Graphic Design

This study done at MIT Media lab, attempts to research and articulate the process and procedures for teaching graphic design. The study looks at a series of design books and draws examples of the design instructions and comes to conclusions about the examples and instructions.

While I find this interesting, I find it strange that the researcher did not study actual beginning design classes. Much of what is found in design books, is example of best practices or case studies. Many books are supplemental to the actual hands on practice and instruction done in the classroom. In many ways, studying design is akin to apprentice models. Learning from the master by example, trial and error and by seeing rather than by reading from a book.

Studying design is not a cookbook type activity and trying to draw those type of conclusions from samples and instructions in books is going to lead to disappointing results. I think the conclusions drwan in the study - "expert systems from graphic design must learn by example" - are very true and may be difficult to automate.

The final conclusion of the study - "We would like to enable an expert designer to communicate design knowledge to a computer in the same manner as he or she would teach a novice design student. We believe that this will be an important step on the road to intelligent systems for graphic design. " has me wondering - is this something we really want to do? Can we teach machines aesthetics and intuition? Can we teach a machine how to recognize harmony in page design and that feeling that a designer has when everything clicks. Those ephemeral parts of design that touch into the collective unconscious and are hard to articulate are often the very elements that move a good design to being a great design. Can a machine experience this? Can a machine create design with these qualities? I'll believe it when I see it.

Posted by erin at 11:42 AM | in Criticism

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