Questioning the Cannon: Diversity in Graphic Design History

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Student: Naja Garratte
Image caption: What is diversity and inclusion?
Date: Summer 2018

Student: Michelle Lancaster
Image caption: Angel DeCora presentation
Date: Summer 2018

Student: James Holt
Image caption: Su Mathews Hale
Date: Summer 2018

Student: Mallory Gray
Image caption: Diversity stats
Date: Summer 2018

Student: Erika Leggett
Image caption: Improving diversity and inclusion
Date: Summer 2016

Educator/s:
Institution:
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Duration: 5 weeks
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Filed Under: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Bookmark Project

Project Brief

The objective of this History of Graphic Design project titled “Questioning the Cannon” is to explore the role of diversity and inclusion in graphic design history. Although Meggs’ History of Graphic Design is a well-regarded and extensive textbook on the topic of graphic design history, it has been criticized for its lack of diversity in the designers featured in the text. In this assignment, students are tasked with analyzing the topic of diversity and inclusion in graphic design. They must select a designer that is part of an underrepresented group and create a persuasive presentation about why this designer must be included in the next edition of the textbook. Questions students must address include: What is diversity and inclusion? How does it impact design? What other steps do you think are needed to improve diversity and inclusion in design?

Learning Objectives

To discuss diversity and inclusion in graphic design and select a graphic designer and why their work should be added to the Meggs History of Graphic Design textbook.

Deliverables

Background

AlthoughMeggs’ History of Graphic Design is a well-regarded and extensive textbook on the topic of graphic design history, it has been criticized for its lack of diversity in the designers and artists featured in the textbook. For this presentation assignment, you will be tasked with analyzing the topic of Diversity and Inclusion in graphic design through the analysis of a specific designer featured in the AIGA Design Journeys website.

http://www.aiga.org/design-journeys/

Deliverable (online course environment)

In this project, imagine that you are able to present to the author (the living author is Alston W. Purvis) of the Meggs’ History of Graphic Design textbook. You must convince them of the importance of diversity and inclusion in graphic design with facts, figures, and persuasive discussion and pitch why they should include your selected designer in the next edition of Meggs’ History of Graphic Design. This should be informative with supporting resources, images, and any other information you find appropriate.

This project has three components to make up your final grade and will result in a visual presentation that you will submit as your final outcome including group discussion, peer evaluation feedback, self-evaluation, bibliography, and pdf presentation.

You must address the following questions in your presentation:

What is diversity and inclusion?

How does diversity and inclusion impact graphic design?

How is diversity and inclusion being addressed today?

Synthesize what you learned about the designer chosen from “AIGA Design Journeys” and describe their contribution to graphic design. How have they/are they impacting graphic design?

Readings/Resources

http://www.aiga.org/design-journeys/

http://www.aiga.org/diversity-and-inclusion-initiative/

http://www.aiga.org/women-lead-initiative/

https://revisionpath.com

http://www.aiga.org/diversity-and-inclusion-in-design-why-do-they-matter/

http://www.aiga.org/diversity-and-inclusion-resources/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/shelleyzalis/2017/11/30/the-truth-about-diversity-and-why-it-matters/#15d0871366e7

https://www.commarts.com/columns/decolonizing-native-american-design

https://uxdesign.cc/is-diversity-a-problem-in-the-design-industry-2d58bc019a91

https://www.aiga.org/born-in-mexico-but-made-in-america

Reflections

This project was developed for a History of Graphic Design course. This is an upper level art history requirement for graphic design majors, but often includes non-design art majors and some non-art majors. The delivery format of a power point/pdf presentation worked well for all design skill levels.

I think this project worked well even for an online class setting. I first tried it as a group project (this is encouraged at my institution even in an online environment). It worked better as an individual project with interactive discussion posts and feedback to add more a more collaborative aspect to the assignment.

I think this project can be reformatted to fit any type of design course. It can result various outcomes such as a book, website, video, infographic, and it even works well as a prompt for an essay, research paper, or informal class discussion. 

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