Culture, context, and communication: developing a culturally sensitive curriculum in graphic design education

Meyer, Renee
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Living in the fast-paced and ever-changing corporate world of today, it has become very easy for society---including designers themselves---to forget or confuse the identity and intrinsic cultural value of the graphic designer. Flaws such as these do not just suffocate the credibility of designers, but ultimately put the cultures they represent through visual artifacts in a very fragile position. As graphic designers, we are significantly responsible for interpreting and reinterpreting these cultural messages into visual vernaculars suitable for specific target audiences. This research explores how graphic design educators can improve and maintain the designer's integrity through social, cultural, and educational learning paradigms. By emphasizing the importance of cultural sensitivity in the classroom from the beginning, educators can more effectively---and more efficiently---increase the value of graphic design as a social and cultural facilitator.;The basis of this study is to form a new comprehensive approach in design education using activity theory to promote cultural consciousness in the graphic design curriculum, a crucial step toward creating a more fluid and dynamic designer-to-culture and culture-to-designer relationship. This dialogue is represented in a new pedagogical model that can be applied to any design curriculum, which is developed through class observation, qualitative surveys and interviews, creative instruction, and integrative learning paradigms.

Art and design;Graphic design;