Clemson University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2023 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 164-169
ISBN: 978-84-09-49026-4
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2023.0071
Conference name: 17th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2023
Location: Valencia, Spain
The concept of "Conscious Design" contains both a design awareness of potential long-term and unintended consequences of our creation and the continuous improvement of our design process to produce more sustainable products and services. It is a first step towards building sustainable economies and transition design that acknowledges that we live in transitional times. It argues that design and designers have a pivotal role in these transitions. This paper and presentation will provide observations and activities for engaging conscious design principles in a graphic communications curriculum to improve collaboration and communication proficiencies.

Principles of Design dominate and define many of the preferred outcomes "Emphasis, Balance and Alignment, Contrast, Repetition, Proportion, Movement, and White Space." in the Graphic Communications curriculum. These principles guide the individual designers' goals; a more conscious effort can embrace a design awareness of our design's potential long-term and unintended consequences and continuous experimentation with our design process to build more sustainable products and services. Conscious design principles invoke the designer to be conscious and prepared for the unexpected, to look beyond the superficial. Designers must understand that it is okay to feel uncomfortable to necessitate change. Set aside notions of "best-in-class" that distort priorities; instead, focus on a notion of sustainability for the future. Overly used design tools and methodologies can fall out of favor; innovation is vital. Experiment with the process, challenge perspectives, get feedback, or design with a partner. Seek out new input, thinking, and explore methods from other disciplines.

This mixed-method research design focused on identifying quantitative characteristics and gathering qualitative responses utilizing a convenient sample of students enrolled in a foundation-based graphics course. One goal was to experiment with the processes in the lab by incorporating more writing assignments in the design process. For most assignments that required hand-drawn sketches that transformed into computer renderings, the participants were also required to write about the graphics they had produced to challenge their perspectives and document their conscious decision-making process. A selection of lab assignments required that pairs of two were to work with a partner on their assignments. These partnership undertakings are developed into team-building skills and communication skills. The team project develops collaborative skills. The "client project" involved one participant in the role of a designer and the second participant in the role of a client. The goals are to enhance communication through sketching, developing written treatments and client notes, and producing a finished product. Preliminary feedback has demonstrated that the team project work has been successful in many facets. Overall, their experiences on this team project were well documented and deemed successful compared to those who worked unaccompanied. The applications of conscious design concepts are integrated into their laboratory activities to experiment with conventional processes, challenge known perspectives, get feedback, and enhance communication in collaborative activities. The goal is to seek new ways of thinking and develop better writing and communication skills in a graphics-based curriculum.
Conscious Design, Graphics, Curriculum Development.