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People who choose the academic path, are indeed privileged people. And even though it can be kind of a lottery thing: education can either go right or it can go wrong, even when it does go wrong, it still enriches one’s worldview and makes them more eager to look through someone else’s point of view.

PART VI: EPISODE V

Design practitioners reflect on the value of formal education

The last episode of my interview series on the purpose of academic education comes full circle to where I started my exploration on the topic. For this iteration, I met three truly unique designers, all from very different parts of the world, all pursuing different career paths within art and design. They shared generously their perspectives and made me think even deeper not only about education but other key aspects of the way we relate to our societies both as professionals and individuals.

Libby Connolly, Senior Designer & Art Director, based in the United States. …


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Education stimulates curiosity. That doesn’t mean that people who haven’t followed a conventional education path aren’t curious; it’s just that academia concentrates curiosity and provides an environment for it to thrive.

PART V: EPISODE FOUR

Design practitioners reflect on the value of formal education

In episode #4 of my interview sequence, I continue the discussion on the value of education with two very accomplished and extremely talented designers:

Adrian (Adi) Constantin, Product Designer and Art Director, Romania native, based in Germany.

Camilo Hidalgo, Graphic Designer & Art Director, Colombia native, based in Finland.

I have a special admiration for both Adi and Camilo not only because they are amazing designers but also because they are well-versed in areas I find remarkably fascinating: Adi has lead the design process on couple of projects for what I see as one of the best automotive companies ⏤ Mercedes-Benz, and Camilo holds a Master degree in typographic design. …


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Many people, me included, have been brought up to believe that one of the benefits of formal education is increasing one’s confidence and self-esteem. That is true and it’s not bad in itself as long as this is not the main reason why someone would go for academic training.

Part IV: EPISODE THREE

Design practitioners reflect on the value of formal education

Going deeper into the conversation on the value of (design) education, I am joined by three extraordinary female designers, coming from different design disciplines and backgrounds:

Jenny Kan, Creative Strategist & Art Director, design lead and a great mentor, based in the Netherlands, well-versed in creative leadership, design thinking, user experience design, digital strategy & innovation. Although I’ve known Jenny only for a short while, she has been instrumental to my professional development as a designer.

Laura Duarte, service designer, Master candidate at University of the Arts in London, Colombia native, based in the UK.

Rachel Salmon, digital product designer, founder of Women in Design — Reykjavik, design mentor, UK native, based in Iceland. …


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University provides a safe bubble where one can build, experiment, prototype and question without the usual constraints of real-life.

PART III: EPISODE TWO

Design practitioners reflect on the value of formal education

In this episode of my article series on the value of design education, it is my pleasure to present my conversations with three outstanding designers:

Rick Veronese, product UX/UI designer, Italy native, until recently based in the UK. Rick works with startup companies within the fintech domain, he is an entrepreneur with a focus on business strategy, user research and experience design.

Jonas Devacht is an illustrator with a distinct style and a background in web design/programming. He is based in Belgium, currently freelancing.

Stephanie Müller is a graphic designer and a visual researcher, based in Germany. She is currently teaching graphic design to Bachelor students at DHBW Ravensburg (Ravensburg University of Cooperative Education). …


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Many of the designers I interviewed for my research on the value of education told me that they appreciated their university years to a great degree because of the community of like-minded people whom one can learn from and grow alongside.

PART II: EPISODE ONE

Design practitioners reflect on the value of formal education

Following on from my original article on the importance of formal (design) education, I am now jumping off to the more practical side of my exploration, namely the absolutely fascinating conversations that I had with 13 design practitioners. …


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Education can be beneficial in many ways but we should also approach it with great care if we want to make a worthwhile choice.

PART I

What is the value of formal education?

Along with the debate about the future of work, a lot of attention has recently been paid to the way traditional education should/will evolve in the near future. The question of whether one needs a degree in order to become a good professional or land a good job (both of which are rather subjective matters), has been bothering many people looking to either change career paths or having found their, what we tend to call passion, relatively late in life (like me). The short and obvious answer is: No, you don’t need a degree. …


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Photo by Serkan Turk on Unsplash

Why design shouldn’t be detached from ethics and how can designers advocate for a more genuine human-centered design?

Ethics is a tricky word. As soon as we mention it, the conversation suddenly becomes awkward. Probably because nowadays, ethics amounts to reading incomprehensible texts on moral and political philosophy. Who needs ethics anyway? Every time I say that we should be careful with disruptive technologies like autonomous transportation, people look at me as if I’ve told them we should consider massive sterilisation. Ethics is a controversial topic because we seem to attribute to it qualities it traditionally does not possess (I’ll expand on this later). It’s always frustrating to hear people say that X is the future, as if the future is some fixed, predetermined state. …


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Photo by Lum3n.com from Pexels

Your work is not precious

Design is like learning a new language — if you understand the basics, you’ll have what it takes to become an expert at it. Rules are a great teacher and if you manage to make sense out of them, you’ll not only be able to apply them correctly, but also get them to work in your favour and break them every once in a while.

The title of this article is, in fact, a quote which I ”borrowed” from David Underwood, a design consultant at the University of Colorado Boulder. He teaches a very insightful online course in graphic design where he talks about the basic rules of design (although the course is called Graphic Design, the principles he describes are applicable to all other forms of design too). …

About

Jana Voykova

overthinker, designer, humanist

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