An Education: desktop’s August issue has dropped

Published:  August 13, 2015
Katia Pase

It’s important to question yourself. Who are you? Where did you come from? What is important to you? What influences you? If you question these things, and if you find some anwsers, you figure out who you are. You figure out the moments where you are lacking, but also where you have strength. I think you’ll find people who want to work with you because of who you are.

— Eike König

Hort and Fabio Ongarato Design for Opposites React.

Hort and Fabio Ongarato Design for Opposites React.

Learning is not something that happens only during times of formal education, and likewise it is not always an individual growth. And so this issue, titled An Education, seeks to shine a light on the designer’s personal and professional development, on the inquisitiveness that grows as a career does, on the life-long pursuit of understanding and the translation of understanding into ideas.

Let’s start with the big picture: in this month’s Opposites React, we paired two studios – Eike König’s Hort and Fabio Ongarato Design – the genesis of which formed over two decades ago. We had an open exchange with the founders of each studio, talking longevity and career learning, self-criticism and measurements of success, plus reassessing the answer to the question, ‘What is important to me or in the work I’m producing?’


A Common Path feature

In Design Agility, Bonnie Abbott and Nicholas Austin of Common Path, the Agile consultancy of Common Code, look at a methodology for software development and investigate what lessons and methods of working the small design studio can learn from its philosophy. Abbott and Austin write, ‘In all industries where something is made, the end product is a reflection of the process, but how much attention and reflection is given to the design process and the client experience?’


Brad Haylock on lessons drawn from the hfg ulm.

In a long form feature, Brad Haylock offers a contemporary take on the legacy of the Ulm School of Design (Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm). By taking three artifacts from the school, Haylock draws lessons from hfg ulm that are relevant for design education today.

‘Forward in the frame, a woman stands at a saw,’ writes Haylock, describing a 1958 image from the hfg ulm metal workshop. ‘Her shoes are enlightening to contemporary eyes because of their evident impracticality in a workshop environment.

‘Of course, in the context of a discussion of design education, the word workshop or studio can refer to both a physical learning environment and to a pedagogical approach. I’ve been talking about the former, but the metalworking tools, the high heels and the high ceilings are merely a metaphor. I’m interested in the hfg ulm workshop because it embodies a respectful understanding of tools and techniques, which, in turn, represent upon a strong disciplinary foundation. This is a disciplinary foundation borne of knowledge of history and materiality.’


An Education with Frank Chimero, illustration by Daniel Gray.

Our cover this month comes from Sulki and Min Choi, of Seoul-based studio Sulki & Min, whose thoughts on globalisation and education we hear in a four-part feature interview, also featuring Steven Heller talking education anchoring points, Frank Chimero on situations of ‘not knowing’, Twitter’s Miki Setlur on technology and education currents, with illustrations by Daniel Gray.

An Education cover, by Sulki & Min.

An Education cover, by Sulki & Min.

Sulki & Min’s cover for this August issue features their version of Josef Albers’ Kombinations-Schrift (later reworked by Paul Elliman in the early 2000s) as an homage to the two teachers who had a direct (Elliman) and indirect (Albers) influence on the duo’s own design education.

Sulki and Min write, ‘Elliman reworked the letterform for a ouija board he made to contact the spirit of Albers, who had, after fleeing Nazi Germany and settling in the US, once headed the same graphic design department at Yale University as the one where Elliman was teaching then.’


On Paper with Kokoro and Moi


On Screen with Raoul Marks

Further into the issue we delve behind the scenes of some favourite new works, with Raoul Marks on the influences behind his opening titles to the Semi Permanent 2015 conference, and Kokoro & Moi of Helsinki and New York share the process behind their latest identity projects.

AGDA are kicking with the best advice for budding designers, with specials on navigating expectations post graduation, approaching college open days, along with a complete 2015 course guide.

Follow with Hotel Hotel

Follow with Hotel Hotel

Whether you’re thinking of signing up for formal design education, are a current student, recent graduate or industry professional, I hope you find something in this issue that makes you want to learn more.

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