What do you know about the USA’s Green New Deal? Unless you’re a so-called “policy wonk,” then the answer is probably “not much.” Maybe you recall AOC introducing it at the time. Don’t feel too bad, however, if you don’t — as the majority of Americans are also mainly in the dark about this potentially transformative agenda.

What are some of the reasons for our lack of understanding? Well, the legislative matters of the US congress are placed on a fairly user-unfriendly web-site that most citizens don’t access. …

Design students’ learning experiences in college-level curricula play a major role in shaping their careers. The approaches and underlying philosophies to which students are exposed can lead to specific opportunities in the field and help shape their mindsets as practitioners. While studies in traditional design disciplines concerned with products, spaces, and messages are still popular, there is also increasing student and institutional interest in educational programs that address issues of ethics in practice. This situation often presents educators with the challenge of incorporating such issues into existing design curricula.

The author and his faculty colleagues in the Department of…

A project by Ohio State design student Michael Booher

The Ballot digital resource was developed primarily to serve voters in the 18–25-year-old age group, with the goal of increasing voter turnout during elections. Research indicates that a large percentage of individuals from this demographic in Franklin County, Ohio, only vote during presidential elections, or not at all.

Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 academic terms. The first semester was devoted to problem identification and generative research with stakeholders to establish design directions. The second semester was devoted to project development and evaluative research with stakeholders to refine design prototypes.
First semester advisor: Associate Professor Peter Kwok Chan.
Second semester advisor…

“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my axe.’ – Abraham Lincoln.

Mr. Lincoln’s advice is, of course, very good, and applicable to many pursuits. Yet many graphic design practitioners and students often routinely ignore this sentiment, and dive directly into form-making activities when presented with a design problem. In most cases we tend to rely on intuition and our “best guess” to construct a solution, without the benefit of the various types of research that might provide a clearer insight as to how our efforts might be more effectively directed. …

Today’s corporation is very different from its predecessors. But the identities devised by designers are failing to mirror those changes.

Illustration by Richard Caldicott.

Corporations have changed. They look and act differently compared to the way they did when mass-production was at its height. The “general” is on the decline and the “specific” has come to the fore, as consumers expect and demand products and services tailored to their individual needs. Now just a not-so-fond memory, the centralized, monolithic, and inflexible corporation has been replaced by an organization that is decentralized, diversified, customer-driven, flexible, and team-oriented. Well, that’s the theory anyway.

The driving force…

New media will allow audiences greater control than ever over the reception of messages. Designers neglect users’ needs at their peril.

Illustration by Steven Appleby.

The last few years have brought unprecedented change to graphic design. Recent developments in technology have radically affected the creation, transmission, and reception of visual messages. Graphic designers shifted to computers as their main source of message production, and some have embarked upon the creation of “interactive” computer-based presentations of information. These presentations allow for limited control of message sequence, enabling users to wander through an information structure, and personalize their experience.

As these technologies develop, so too will…

This paper reports the results of a survey of 1500 US graphic designers. Respondents provided information about their levels of involvement with project-related information gathering and analysis, planning, and end-user evaluation. While there are significant levels of involvement in some of these activities, comments made by respondents reveal that involvement with information gathering and analysis, planning, and end-user evaluation is mostly informal. That is, they are often conducted without a formal methodology, and are often not mentioned in project proposals and other related documents.This suggests an opportunity for graphic designers to adopt a formal method for incorporating information gathering and…

Inconspicuous Consumption: The Best of Beer Frame
by Paul Lukas
(New York: Crown Trade Paperbacks, 1997)
192 pages, $12.95

Many of us are, no doubt, familiar with the concept of a “fanzine.” It’s an informal term used to describe small­ edition magazines, usually published by “fans” of a certain subject matter. While certainly not a significant part of the popular press, fanzines have played an important role over the last 30 years, particularly in the music industry. Some early examples might include publications devoted to 1960s rock ’n’ roll bands (i.e., Tiger Beat), fan club magazines, etc.

The 1980s saw…

Scenarios: the Future of the Future
a special edition of Wired
(San Francisco, CA: Wired Ventures Ltd., 1995)
170 pages, $5.95

The future is an obvious concern for us all. This is espe­cially true with designers, as we constantly deal with the future in our daily work. We envision improved realities (whether they are products, communications, environ­ments, or systems) and make them tangible through our creation of mock-ups, prototypes, models, etc. One might say that we are “brokers” dealing in the future, as we have an obvious vested interest in how it unfolds.

But do designers have a special insight…

The Graphic Designer pursues much of his or her work in a mostly solitary manner, manipulating and arranging word and image on a computer, or in the past, by hand on a drafting table. The very nature of the profession is somewhat isolationist, as designers tend to tuck themselves away from the world, working in offices far removed from the maddening crowd.

While there are, of course, meetings with clients, co-workers, suppliers, and others who assist in the completion of our work, the man on the street often does not enter into the daily concerns of the typical graphic designer…

Paul Nini

Design educator + Professor @ The Ohio State University

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