A Design Teacher’s Manifesto

This is my manifesto and teaching philosophy. It’s a personal statement whose points can be agreed and disagreed with at different levels. It’s not meant to be read as rules or absolute truths for successful teaching, or successful design.

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited” Plutarch

To teach is to inspire

Teaching should be fun for both teacher and student.

It’s about sharing my knowledge and enjoyment of multimedia and design

I want my students to be challenged, in opinion, ideas and in projects.

The classes should be timed and at a pace where the weaker students have the chance to keep up, and offer enough for advanced students for further independent learning.

The projects I give my students are intended for the students to experience and understand the joy of creation. This is the attitude needed for a successful and relevant career in design.

Teaching design cannot be too serious – you have to accept with good humour the public foolishness experienced when your well constructed models and designs fall apart in front of your class.

Every student is an individual. There performance should be assessed not just by my standards, but there own abilities and development. Never view a class as one collective group

Teaching, like design is about being creative.

A teacher sometimes needs to be fallible. This will enourage students to challenge the teacher. The more mistakes you make, the more the students will pay attention.

A teacher should never enter a class without understanding the subject.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela

To learn is to challenge.

Don’t trust authority.

Never trust your teachers – find the answer out yourself

There is no absolute truth.

There is always another option, point of view, or technique. Look for it.

You will never be an expert. You will always need to learn

Propaganda is the design or promotion of a truth

All advertising is propaganda

There is no one absolute truth.

Find a truth you believe in.

Respect others who do not adhere to your truth, and respect their truths.

To design sucessful propaganda you must acknowledge the truths it omits

Bad Propaganda is when it’s used to conceal its lies.

When propaganda is used to attack other truths, it becomes evil

To design is to plan and construct

Design is the process of  creating art

Design is a process, of which it’s also a part:

To create art is to apply skill to design

There is no being ‘touched by the hand of god’ in creating art.

Artists are not magicians, they never create something out of nothing

Art comes from learning, and the material application of this knowledge

Art comes from skill – from process, from training

To create great art, you need to apply skill and humanity to design

Skill is robotic, it is training, sometimes labourous in its process. Our humanity is what makes us all different, unique individuals. When we apply our humanity with skill, great art appears.

By this definition, Shane Warne, Neil Perry, Patrick White and Bruce Beresford are great Australian artists.

To communicate is to convey information

This information  can sometimes be emotion

Words can tarnish communication. Their definitions and interpretations lead to misunderstanding. Use them thoughtfully

A picture says a thousand words. An inappropriate image will say a thousand lies. Use them correctly

Perfect , sublime communication is without words or images. It’s when two people meet from different cultures, of different languages. It’s the smile, handshake, hug or toasting of a glass of beer. It’s the pure essence of humanity – the bonding of the goodness in our souls. It’s the unattainable achievement designers should always strive for.

Communication Design is the planning and constructing of processes to convey information.

It’s always about the message. Everything else is superficial

If content is king, then intent is Queen, and the reader is god

Communication Design is the mediation between the message and the audience

Communication Design should never be seen. It’s about making a message clear, unobtrusive and free from misinterpretation.

Communication is the exchange between a message and it’s viewer. The designer constructs the bridge between them, allowing the interchange of response

The viewer and the message must both be considered in the design.

Information wants to be free, but design pays the bills.