The next century of design education

Hi slippyfish
if you’re looking at that ‘big design freakout’ thread, the large numer of out of work design leaders are hard at work innovating as we speak (you can tell because they are on their own seperate linkedin knockoff sites).
I’m sure there will be lots of new buzzwords and things to hype at seminars, but how society and technology alter how business is accomplished has yet to play out. They need to pay their bills now, where academia has some breathing room to try and make accurate forcasts. IMO

1 Like

First thought to all your comments: I think both @no_spec and @slippyfish are right - its the words we currently have that are limited.

That is, the practice of design and its transmission (whether formally through academia or informally through working at a studio or self-development of skills etc) is in need of Big Picture thinking.

As @no_spec says

As usual, I have thoughts on this but let me sort them out into some kind of coherent stream and then return to write. I don’t think the answers can come from either practice or academia but somewhere in between, able to see the trajectories of both streams.

some further thoughts
the disruption to education that AI will have will be a reflection on design practice, as every technological advancement has been in the past. CAD will mean something new, instead of adjusting splines or pulling CV’s we’ll edit text. That’s not the real disruption though.
Speed is the disruption. instead of hundreds of sketches a week there will be a thousand fully rendered VR ready CAD models per day (see Meta’s text to 3D gen prototype). Accelerating form development and engineering deliverables by 10X will free up a massive amount of time. this leads me to two questions.

Does styling, as a proportion of the overall product development process atrophy in the designers toolkit?

And regarding education, as computers take us further from our arts and crafts roots, what hand skills do we still teach knowing it no longer has application in practice. We need them to learn form but activities such as having students sanding bondo to perfection to understand the subtleties of surfaces? What do we need students to learn if a couple years of solid modelling class is no longer taught?

What’s on screen many times does not translate the intent on the physical object. Students will have to sand bondo to understand the correlation between the 2 mediums.

You will be responsible if there is a disconnect between the AI rendering and the actual product, not the AI.

I’d rather use the AI to look at concepts and get me manufacturing costs in seconds rather than months. And if I change something, how does that impact costs. I find sourcing and advanced operations to be more of a bottleneck than design.

Won’t this slow down the process instead of speeding it up? If it’s curation vs. creation that still takes time and if it’s an increase of volume, the designer’s eye still has to do the work.

What is faster - a professional author writing a story or a million monkeys banging on a keyboard randomly eventually producing something great?

1 Like

I agree with all of these statements. Please understand that what Meta has done is create a 3D model, not a 2D rendering.

Where I work, we use VR and 3D printing for everything before sending out for presentation models. We don’t have interns even sanding pink foam anymore.

I worked with a guy who started his career at a drafting table with pen and ink doing essentially B+W calligraphy for each color separation of on-product graphics. I’m afraid that doing anything manually on a flat screen is about to become just as obsolete.

the problem of how to take an idea from the mind of a designer to a final product is universal. technology has always made it faster, for better or worse. and having lived through worse, what demands should ID make of the coming AI revolution to our design and design education process?

I’m pretty sure that you don’t mean what this sentence implies - that an idea exists fully realized in a designer’s mind, and just needs time and some tools to be expressed in production. There’s a ‘conversation’ to be had between some idea and some formal expression be it a prototype or an AI generated model. One influences the other until the product is ‘perfect’ (or you run out of time).

So maybe the thrust of education could be on the ‘curation’, rather than the means of ‘creation’? How does one sift thru and recognize what is worthwhile? IDK… sounds kind of exhausting.

yes, thanks slippyfish for clarifying that, I’m wondering how the process will evolve: how can or should ideation/creation be effected by tech?

I have worked in a slow development cycle industry which might not be too impacted by AI as imagined. but, at the opposite end of the spectrum I can imagine a kind of consultant who specializes in mostly ‘curation’ a new and unique mind set might be required to slog through thousands of concepts. This might offer the advantage of speed to market for some products.

I’m worried about the middle where the whole process speeds up and aesthetics get short changed because the technology can jump to the conclusion so much faster.
design skill may atrophy because it simply gets less of a designers’ attention span, relative to usability and production and all the rest.

So, do we teach a new kind of mass-concept critique to students?
and what happens to those without the tolerance for it, you mentioned it’d be exhausting, could the profession split into freelance influencers or design ‘tastemakers’ who toss an aesthetic direction ‘over the wall’? And then teach other designers who only finesse the details to make it real?
Does sound like hyperbole? By the time AI is fully ready for prime time it’ll be too expensive for an ID dept. to afford. But I think these are interesting questions