But, it won an award: a look at communication design ‘excellence’

Myra Thiessen, Veronika Kelly

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

Abstract

Recent changes to communication design practice and thinking have seen an increased emphasis on the valuing of the social impact of design over formal and aesthetic aspects related to the designed object or output. Consequently, the idea that communication design, as a practice defined by the production of physical objects, visual and material forms, and technical skill, is no longer feasible. This shifting emphasis necessitates a broader education for designers that prioritizes social practices and focuses on developing competencies like evaluative and reflective thinking, research, and the ability to position and present convincing arguments; however, design education has been slow to respond, likely due to influences and understandings of design that are embedding in those more traditional practices and models of doing design. As a means to explore how design is understood through discourse, we examine the judging criteria, rules, and procedures for a student design competition. We hypothesize that design competitions expose a fragile nature that is part of a professional practice that values and emphasizes aesthetics and design outputs above social impact, and which perpetuates traditional and elitist master-apprentice models of education and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Criticality in Art, Architecture, and Design
EditorsChris Brisbin, Myra Thiessen
Place of PublicationOxon UK
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter23
Pages369–385
Number of pages17
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)9781315623412
ISBN (Print)9781138189232
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Design education
  • Design criticism
  • Design practice
  • Critical rhetoric

Cite this

Thiessen, M., & Kelly, V. (2019). But, it won an award: a look at communication design ‘excellence’. In C. Brisbin, & M. Thiessen (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Criticality in Art, Architecture, and Design (1st ed., pp. 369–385). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315623412-23