Undergraduate graphic design students at Western Carolina University in North Carolina, USA, engaged in two multimodal projects on subjects outside of art and design, required technical skills using a range of media, involved partnerships with professionals, and new ways of thinking when designing learning experiences. The goals were to engage students in the larger dialog of interdisciplinary graphic design, its applications, and implications. The first project, presented in spring 2016, involved graphic design students working in teams to design and develop non-digital Cherokee word games for the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians to use in their language classes. The games focused on learning, reading, and speaking Cherokee pronouns and using them in various contexts. The second project, assigned in the following fall 2016 semester, included the same students each assigned to design and build animations introducing various aspects of nanotechnology to the general public. This project was in partnership with the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, Community Idea Stations—Science Matters, National Public Radio and the National Public Broadcast Stations in central Virginia. This article considers the contexts within which graphic design education exists and situates the graphic design program at Western Carolina University within this environment.
Interior environments address a range of user needs, including those of Millennials and Baby Boomers. To develop lighting strategies, designers must go beyond standard lighting metrics, considering people’s perceptions of how light’s color temperature affects material appearance. With technological advances in lighting, the impact of LED light on sensorial perceptions of color, materials, and people’s emotions is more important than ever. Millennials grew up with a prevalence of cool-colored compact fluorescent or LED light. However, Baby Boomers have mostly lived with warm-colored incandescent light. Through research of these generations’ lighting preferences, designers can consider lighting for public environments in a new way. This survey-based research project, “Perceptions of Light and Color,” explores Millennial and Baby Boomer preferences of interior finish material palettes illuminated by different color temperatures of LED light. Understanding these generations’ preferences of lighting color temperature in healthcare, hospitality, restaurant, and corporate office environments, designers can ensure the emotional intention of the environment is experienced by the end users.
The study of design is as much about history as it is creativity. Almost daily, designers seek visual inspiration and interact with designed objects, adopting styles of design into their own repertoire. Unfortunately, some are unable to separate creative inspiration from plagiarism, creating a major issue for designers to address and understand. In our digital society, the threshold for finding others work has dramatically reduced. Through internet searches and social media applications, thousands of images and designs are readily available. With numerous visual influences, the line between inspiration and plagiarism can become blurred. As educators, tackling this issue at the student-level is critical as young designers are still developing their voice and talent. To offset potential plagiarism, our curriculum at Kent State University encompasses preventative methods including lectures, class discussions and an entire course on visual ethics. Even with those tactics, plagiarism cases continue to be found from the freshmen to senior level. The design process lies at the heart of the matter. This article will discuss methods to help students understand and improve upon their creative process—with the ultimate goal of fostering original design solutions. Through process books, creativity exercises, and reflective tasks, students become more aware of their process. We are creating an atmosphere of learning where students learn to trust their own instincts rather than rely on the crutch of a Google image search.