Feed Your Filter and Stay Curious

I teach Graphic Design at the Columbus College of Art and Design. As an alumnus of CCAD, it is a privilege to return and offer insight and guidance to the next generation of artists and storytellers. In my sophomore class we recently completed a project that required students to work in teams to design a board game from conception to prototype as well as execute tactics of a launch strategy for the product. The class consists of majors in the areas of fashion, illustration, visual development and medical illustration.

"So what does this have to do with my major?" is a question I'm often asked.
"How will graphic design make me a better concept artist or fashion designer?" 
I remember feeling that way about math. The truth is, good or bad, design is design.

I remind my students to keep their eyes on the big picture. Design relates to every component of being a visual communicator. From hierarchy of information to the balance of elements on a page, design is the underlying structure that holds it all together. There is no separation of majors in telling a story visually. Fashion designers tell stories through their choice of fabrics, color and silhouette just as much as a concept artist defines the worlds characters will inhabit with brush strokes. And who among them doesn't need to be able to organize their work into a cohesive whole for promotion or presentation? Art folks gotta' eat!

Design is all around us and I encourage my students to be curious. Inspiration can come from nature, retail, gaming, other artist's work or even a good book. Remember books, the original portable entertainment? 

Each person has a unique viewpoint and way of interpreting a subject or solving a problem. I call it their filter. The filter must be fed. It's fed through observation, experience, research and study. As visual storytellers we never stop learning and refining our craft as long as we stay curious.

So stay curious, my friends.