Check out what is happening in the graduate studio
Graduate student blog /
Posted on / Oct 20, 2013
VCD Students collaborating in improvement of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene program in Africa and South East Asia
This year, the VCD MFA Candidates are taking part in a joint effort with communication agency Rule29. Led by Professor Ken Visocky O’Grady, The project focuses on the improvement of the WASH curricula developed by LifeWater International. WASH is a program that looks for the fulfillment of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene needs for an adequate and sustainable standard of living and its part of the Millennium Development Agenda of UNICEF.
Graduate students are tackling this problem by following structured methods of research that include interviews, photo ethnography, and literary review of the material available on the WASH program. Due to the importance of this program and the hugeimpact it has on adults and children all over the world, students have immersed in understanding the main issues the current curricula has by doing self ethnography and teaching to their peers parts of the WASH program.
At the moment, a research summary is being developed and will be presented to the academic community including the director of Kent State VCD school AnnMarie Leblanc during the third week of October. Following the presentation of their findings, the VCD Graduate students will start woking on developing several prototypes of the new curricula during the second part of the fall semester of 2013, and have scheduled testing their prototypes in the first quarter of 2014 in communities in Subsaharan Africa in collaboration with the team of LifeWater International.
More information on the advancements and findings of this research will be posted in this blog in the following weeks.
Posted on / Apr 1, 2013
Why I (a non-designer) am attending this event. A guest post by Anne Dudley
I help people plan events almost every day. I plan them in groups, I plan them myself, I promote them and sometimes, I even attend them. I’ve learned that if an event is planned well enough, the planner often doesn’t even need to be present. And there are so many events to choose from, skipping out can seem preferable.
But this event is different.
I am attending Design for Good: Empowering a Better Future from Africa to Cleveland because I want to learn about creative problem solving. I want to see how a few people impacted many.
This year, I’ve learned that at the root of great design is an understanding of a problem very well. But it’s not only the problem; it’s everything around the problem, too. It’s the stakeholders, the influencers, the culture, the relevance and maybe even the humor.
A small group of students were given a problem existing across an ocean, in a different language, under a different government and healthcare system. They weren’t given a creative brief, any money or even a Swahili for Dummies book.
And they still made an impact.
People believe things they want to believe, and seek information to support their existing beliefs. If you already know that design can solve a world of problems, you might think you don’t really need to attend this event. I disagree. Attend this event to get out of your own box. Attend it to support the project’s cause itself, Malaria prevention. Attend it to connect or reconnect.
VCD and AIGA Cleveland invite all interested do-gooders, designers and thoughtful professionals to the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative on April 18 at 6:30 for happy hour and three Design for Good presentations from VCD graduate students and Justin Ahrens, of Rule29, who will discuss his work with Life in Abundance. For more information click here.
Posted on / Apr 1, 2013
Being a procurer of history, I can sum the love of my job up in a word: books. Both my design professional and teaching jobs require that I have resources and reference materials, and as such that means keeping a plentiful library. I love this. Books, books, books of all sorts, and not just on the subject of design. I collect books about anything — ANYTHING — that I can legitimately say fosters an idea. You can guess that the stuff on my shelves is all over the place. Books on decoration, books on transportation, books on photography, books on typography, children’s books, cookbooks, books on history, books on trigonometry. Seriously, it’s a great boon, and it’s tax deductible too.*
And because my real life design job lets me design books as well as use them for research, I get access to tomes I might not usually consider a resource for the teaching (and now learning) aspects of my life. For example, I recently finished up the design and production on a book about the Civil War. This was written as a collection of essays from contemporary historians discussing aspects not typically covered by your standard history books. Within there were references to the photos taken by Mathew Brady of various battlefield scenes (some of which were actually staged photos), an early doctoring of Abe Lincoln’s photo portrait (the width of his neck was altered so he wouldn’t look so scrawny), and the mapmaking skills of Louis Prang (who I’d only known before for his founding of the greeting cards industry in America). Can I use this information in my thesis work and teaching? You bet I can!
Sometimes I get to dig around in the past on behalf of a client. I am beginning work now on a book that will cover World War II. The publisher wants the book to have a retro, newspaper-y feel to it, borrowing from the period. I have been allowed to dig through resources to find fonts that were popular at the time. (In case you want to know, some of the top picks were News Gothic, Lydian, Bernhard Gothic, Didone, Bank Script, Bodoni Ultra, Lightline Gothic, Metro, Stymie, Beton, and Electra.)
I also was able to find two marvelous books that reference period fonts. One is called Types Best Remembered/Types Best Forgotten put out by Parsimony Press. It is a collection of fonts that various designers have endorsed or eschewed, with their reasoning beside each given alphabet. The other book is an older one, copyrighted in 1951 and edited by Paul A. Bennett; it is entitled Books and Printing: A Treasury for Typophiles. This one is a real treasure, a series of essays on principles of typography and printing as it existed at that time. It includes several discourses written by W.A. Dwiggins, Eric Gill, and Frederic Goudy to name just a few. What fun! At least for me it is.
And then on top of that, I get to design stuff… and people pay me for it! My life is truly blessed. I love my job!
*legal disclaimer: to the furthest extent allowable by law