Industry plays a critical role in design education

In response to Jonathan Baldwin’s letter (DW 1 March) and the recent reply by Tom Bewick at C&CS, I would like to know which utopian place Baldwin resides in, as my colleagues, friends and fellow tutors would certainly like to spend our time there.

In response to Jonathan Baldwin’s letter (DW 1 March) and the recent reply by Tom Bewick at C&CS, I would like to know which utopian place Baldwin resides in, as my colleagues, friends and fellow tutors would certainly like to spend our time there.

It is very noble to have an ideal, but we also have to deal with reality. If it was not for organisations like C&CS, D&AD and the Design Council, where would we be? What guidance would there be for our places of learning and design students?

I wish all of this had been available when I graduated in the early 1980s, then I would have done things differently, and truth be known, I would have avoided making a couple of costly mistakes, had the guidance been there.

I now teach graphic design part-time. It is only a 17-week course, which is short, but it is a feeder course for people to go on to HND or even degree level, and, believe me, we all take it very seriously. The students – who are mostly over 25 and already have jobs – are looking to improve their lives while still working. If we are to follow your rule of thumb, these people would have to give up their jobs for two to three years at least to concentrate on pure, vocational design.

Are you saying that these courses have no merit? If we did not have them, then we are clearly letting not only the students down, but also their communities. In the past year I have lectured at a couple of colleges and these people are committed. The best way to prepare them for industry is to have professionals from industry giving them guidance. Why can’t industry play a greater role in education? That’s the whole point, isn’t it?

I have more than 25 years in this business, both here and overseas, and over the years I have listened to people similar to Baldwin, making comments like these, without any understanding of the realities.

Instead of knocking it, get on board and make a contribution, like a lot of us have already.

Peter Godkin, Graphic design consultant/lecturer, by e-mail

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