Teaching Graphic Design in a Digital Age

It is necessary to focus on how the teaching of graphic design is governed and managed in Jordan. It is known that this is a relatively new practice to Jordan and the Arab world, especially the skills of graphic design teaching, it is not like the other branches of art. It has no strengthened roots or identity, as part of the Arab culture.

This discipline had a strong relationship with printing, whilst to a certain extent this still holds true, it is now taking to be an integral parts of the design process. With the introduction of technology in the teaching of this specialization, students and teachers should be encouraged to search into their creative mind.

Teaching must create an environment that nurtures and encourages innovative thinking, visual literacy, students centered-learning and personal development. Students must be able to recognize true creativity because just knowing how to use a particular tool or a software program does not make one a designer. Art institutions should be aware of the ever-changing nature of the technology they teach with. This constant attempt to keep up to date from part of the strategic planning of the institution, however a focus on the traditional design teaching methods, principles and process should not be forgotten.

The development of Digital Art and Design education provides new production methods such as computer rendering and modeling. This increases our ability to create, to see and to express and compose a layout. We are interested in how Digital Art and Design education and physical materials can be used interchangeably as instruments in the teaching of this subject.

The development of digital methods does not deter from the importance of traditional methods of teaching; however, this should be used in conjunction with the digital approach to the study of materials and mediums. The traditional approach in particular focuses on colour, light, texture, form, shape and composition. Through the teaching of traditional methods in design we are able to challenge students to be more questioning about their use of new technologies. By encouraging students to interact with the medium as part of the creative process, it not only redefines established solutions, but also encourages development of the student’s imagination. By aiding students to develop real methodology that explores the concerns and techniques of making and exploring objects is essential to the future of graphic design.

Schools and institutions have supplied generations of young graduates into the graphic industry. In the past, art education and more specifically graphic design courses created a forum in which the ‘craft’ was learnt. Here students were encouraged to challenge previously unchallenged ideas, whilst at the same time developing the skills they would need in the future. Graduates then finished their formal education with an apprenticeship in a design company. Young graduates would then develop specific disciplines such as typographic expert, magazines, creative and art direction. By undertaking an apprenticeship students were exposed to the commercial pressures of the industry something which a classroom can only try to simulate, this putting them in good stead for their future careers.

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