Broadening the design horizon

Giles Velarde’s suggestion (DW 16 February) that we should be educating designers simply to be “good at their trade” is not good enough, and is out of touch.

The blurring of edges between disciplines is happening because technology makes it possible. Designers relish the opportunity to have more control and some courses, such as the BA (Hons) in Design at Colchester, are providing a learning experience that will make designers capable of adapting to take advantage of fast-evolving working methods.

Products are morphing together: TVs, phones and computers will soon be in the same container, which, in turn, is morphing into something you can wear on your arm. Is this fashion, product, graphics?

Household items – vacuum cleaners, hi-fis, lights – are disappearing into the fabric of the building. Architecture, product, textiles, graphics?

Multimedia offers new communicative opportunities requiring the designer to control moving images, music, sounds and commentary, as well as text and image. Film director/editor, graphic designer?

The impact of the computer continues to grow – linked with electrostatic printers, high-quality images can be printed, laminated or transferred on to a range of materials at almost unlimited size direct from disk, while traditional printing continues to move closer to the domain of the designer. Graphics, exhibition, printing?

Then there are the multidisciplinary areas such as packaging, exhibition, signage, interiors, which have always required a high degree of flexibility defying any notion of “trade”. Jack of all trades? There are no trades.

Not to respond to the changes is folly. No-one is suggesting that designers should be jacks of all trades, but we do advocate open and flexible working methods, an intelligent and searching interest in all aspects of design, as well as an in-depth study of their chosen major area of study.

David Jury

3rd year tutor BA (Hons) Design

Colchester Institute

Colchester

Essex

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