buy acomplia online acomplia no prescription generic acomplia canada clomid no prescription buy clomid online buy Super Levitra online cheap levitra super active Pharmacy Express Acomplia buy Acomplia generic buy viagra super active online cheap super viagra generic buy ultram no prescription canadian ultram online buy Tramadol online cheap Tramadol no prescription Soma no prescription generic Soma canada buy zetia generic zetia online Lipitor no prescription buy Lipitor online buy Lexapro no prescription generic Lexapro canada buy Nizoral Cream online generic Nizoral cheap

What it is about

design matters
providing a forum for critical debate amongst design students
at Augsburg University of Applied Sciences

Under the banner of »design matters« students from the Faculty of Design at Augsburg University of Applied Sciences regularly come together to discuss fundamental and current topics related to the education and practice of communication design – in English.

How did it all start?

Since ist inception in summer 2006, »design matters – forum for critical debate«, has become a regular and popular feature within the life of the faculty.

Prior to 2006 faculty of design students repeatedly expressed a strong desire to discuss the broader issues surrounding professional design practice. It became obvious, that for some students the reflection on social, political and ethical issues was not given enough room within the regular curriculum. Another facet missing from the academic life of the faculty was the lack of lectures and seminars conducted in English. Therefore, the idea was born to set up a platform within the faculty that would address both, seemingly unconnected issues.

How does it work?

»design matters« follows a simple format. A relevant English text of a suitable length is circulated amongst the students and staff a few days prior to the discussion. Since many of the important critical texts in communication design were published in the Anglo-Saxon world, the focus on the English language seemed fitting. If the text is available on the internet, the relevant link will be issued. Extracts from publications, which cannot be published on the internet will be distributed via e.mail to a list of subscribers or made available on a password-protected website. The event is advertised on posters and via e.mail. All members of the faculty are invited to join in.

At the beginning of every discussion the text is read out in full length or in excerpts; copies of the text are available at the venue. Directly afterwards the discussion begins – entirely in English. Some initial questions are put to the audience in order to spark off the debate. It is the reader’s role to keep the discussion flowing without directing it. All comments are welcome. Participators may engage in the discussion or just listen in. Mistakes in the English language will not be corrected (not a language course). Tutors are welcome to take part, but must refrain from lecturing. It is not the purpose of the debate to draw any final conclusions.

What kind of topics are discussed?

In order to give an idea about the nature of the discussion, I will briefly list the chosen topics of the first four debates:

design matters 1
Red Paper 02, Transformation Design
Design Council, UK, 2006

The text suggests, that …“a new discipline is emerging. It builds on traditional design skills to address social and economic issues. It uses the design process as a means to enable a wide range of disciplines and stakeholders to collaborate. … It is an approach that places the individual at the heart of new solutions, and builds the capacity to innovate into organisations and institutions.”
The discussion was followed up by an excursion to IDEO in Munich, a design consultancy practising the above approach.

design matters 2
First Things First – a design manifesto
Ken Garland, UK, 1964
33 signatories from across the world, 2000

‘First Things First’, initially issued in 1964, poses some very pertinent questions about the role designers should play in society. It states:
“By far the greatest efforts of those working in the advertising industry are wasted on (these) trivial purposes, which contribute little or nothing to our national prosperity.”

design matters 3
Countering the tradition of the apolitical designer
Katherine McCoy, USA, 1993

Katherine McCoy, one of the US’ leading critical voices in graphic design writes in the preface to her text:
“Graphic design education and practise, shaped by the legacy of Bauhaus and Basel, has emphasised professional detachment and objective rationalism at the expense of content. But today’s designers must rediscover the purpose of design as a social, moral and political force.”

design matters 4
Photography, morality and Benetton
Tibor Kalman, USA, 1993
Ads Are News (extract from »Understanding Media«)
Marshall McLuhan, CAN, 1964

Was Benetton right to use their commercial platform for the distribution of messages highlighting issues of social concern? Are political and commercial agendas compatible? What role should the media play?
These questions lie at the heart of Tibor Kalman’s and Marshall McLuhan’s texts.

Why does it matter?

Even though some of the texts are not recent, all of the issues raised are current and very relevant to today’s designers and, of course, design students. The participants take the position articulated by the author of the text as a springboard to launch into a debate about the professional practise of today’s designers, often reflecting on their individual perspectives, hopes and fears. Therefore, the discussion always became very lively, with opposing views being voiced and debated. It is encouraging to see with how much thought and passion students put forward their ideas. Of course ‘design matters’ also provides a space to articulate critical positions with regard to the teaching of design.

The themes that are discussed during the events are being carried into the student body and a culture of debate and intellectual engagement is being established.

In the local press »design matters« has been termed Augsburg’s »Dead Poet Society«.
It should better be called a lively and open »Designers’ Debating Society«.

You are very welcome to join the upcoming debates or public talks, labelled »design matters extra«. For information about upcoming events go to »Veranstaltungen / events«.

PDF-Datei des Beitrags im Forschungsbericht 2008