I've been surprised at how accurate the stereotypes about design classes have proven. All my industrial design classes have been very informal. We don't sit in desks, all the tables and chairs in the classroom have wheels on them so they can be reconfigured, which constantly happens as we jump from activity to activity. Most of the time we end up gathered in a large clump either around a table or at the board, some people sitting in chairs, some on the tables, some on the floor. Grades are an afterthought. Getting an A isn't nearly as meaningful as getting sincere praise from the professor. There's no lectures or tests, it's all discussion and application. There's always hipster, indie music playing while we work on a project. Failure is no big deal, it's expected that everyone is going to have some ideas that just fall flat and go nowhere. There is no such thing as cheating. In fact, we're expected to look at what other students are doing and build off others ideas. It's a very different environment than a traditional classroom. But I'm finding myself really enjoying it.
 It's a humbling process. Designing can be a pretty harsh process. One of the most valuable things I've learned is how to take criticism and use it to make an idea better. At first, it was really rough to present an idea to the class and then have them basically rip it to shreds. But it's really effective at helping you to develop better ideas. You really have to learn that you are not your work. Everyone has good days and bad days. My professor is always saying "Designers have to hold their ideas lightly." It's something that's hard to learn. You invest a lot of time and thought and effort into making something. And then you realize it doesn't really work, and you have be able to just shrug and say, "Oh well, on to the next idea." If anything, in these classes I've learned that failure is pretty normal and common. And it's not the end of the world, it's just part of the process. 

1 comment

  1. Seems you're really enjoying the classes!

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