Questioning the Canon: Diversity in Graphic Design History
|Graphic Design, Social Innovation
|BA Program, Design History, Design Research, Distance Learning, Diversity, Ethics, Four-year Program, Non-design Majors, Online Learning, Social Impact, Two-year Program, Workshop, Writing
The objective of this History of Graphic Design project titled “Questioning the Canon” 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?
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.
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.
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?
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.