Thursday, November 11, 2004

Design and graphics - the 'wow' factor!

Many teachers have had little training in design graphics and visual literacy - some may even dismiss the idea as 'window-dressing'. In contrast there are those, with an eye to the future, who see it as a vital skill. This is particularly obvious in the business world where innovative thinkers are well aware of the emotional effect quality design has in the development of any product. Tom Peters ( the business 'guru') call this quality the 'wow effect'.

Teachers who understand the power of visual design give their students a real advantage when they introduce visual ideas to their students and, in the process, create 'wow' learning environments with their students creative products.

Throughout the centuries cultures have been appreciated by the quality of their art -their stories,their paintings and other art forms. Art, and even its lesser appreciated element decoration, determine the quality of all civilizations. On a more mundane level we all appreciate design elements in all aspects of our lives - even down to the wallpaper we choose for our homes.

With this in mind it is important for teachers to help their students enhance their messages in any area of learning by developing an appreciation of the power of design and visual graphics. Carefully chosen design elements possess the power to draw attention to and enhance student's ideas.

Of course it can be overdone, and if what is produced is all decoration and no message, then this just points out the need to develop an understanding of the power and purpose of design. Many teachers, appreciating the need, have developed design 'scaffolds' to assist their students. Such teachers, when the basic ideas have been understood then wisely encourage their students to be creative and innovate with design elements. Such teachers also introduce design and visual 'literacy' ideas into all student book-work and the results are outstanding. Naturally the message must always be the important thing but what is the point if no one bothers to read it.

It is all about the 'wow' effect! Done properly it is a 'win win' situation for all concerned and, in the process, we might be developing some future graphic artists to add value to our civilization.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am all for the 'wow' effect and the teaching of visual design, and of course, the centrality of creativity. Great blog.