For much of its first 50 years, GDUSA had a standoff-ish relationship with the design schools. We defined ourselves, and were defined, as a trade/business magazine – writing about working designers doing their work. And though the schools were always wonderful centers of learning, they were often self-consciously insular. This has all changed for the better.
First, the great, progressive design schools have become muscular, career-oriented, outward looking, engines of growth in the creative community and their local communities. Second, design education is more vital than ever as the lines between studio and classroom, undergraduate and professional education, blur. Indeed, the September/October GDUSA magazine features a 50th anniversary survey on design education. It includes a ten-point summary of what working designers think about design education today. And our readers’ take on the top design schools of the past half-century.
I am a graphic designer but I am also a mom. My two worlds don’t often collide but every once in a while they do. This was the case with a recent identity program I created for changethestakes.org. You can read their complete manifesto but in short the organization is comprised of a growing group of volunteers concerned with the harm high stakes-testing is doing to our children and schools. They “believe high-stakes testing must be replaced by valid forms of student, teacher, and school assessment.”
In our last edition, GDUSA ran its annual Students To Watch feature. The students were so interesting — and so many readers have asked to learn more about the schools which have nurtured them — that we have whipped up a roundup of the institutions represented — as well as a handful of other favorites. The theme: education is more important than ever as the lines between the studio and the classroom, the office and the academy, continue to blur.