AIGA Next Dori's presentation

Below is the script and my presentation at the AIGA Nationals. It was well-received based on the feedback that people were giving me the rest of the weekend. I was worried about it being too esoteric:

Download Yinyang_AIGA.pdf (PDF 2.0MB)

Slide 1
The YinYang of Anthropology and Design: Anthrodesigners and the Evolution of Graphic Design

Slide 2
In Taoist teachings, the human mind has two minds, Xin (i.e emotional mind) and Yi (i.e. wisdom mind). Providing the passion and direction to formulate ideas, the two minds are responsible for all human creations, which first start in your imagination. (Yang 2003:10). 

Slide 3:
Portrait of Anthrodesigner as a young woman.

Passion and direction. I exist at the liminality of passion and direction, emotion and wisdom. For 8 years, classically trained in the science of human wisdom, Je’ sui une anthropologist. But not in the way the French mean it., As the “philosophy de l’homme la femme.

Slide 4:
But the way the Americans mean it. Bryn Mawr and Papa Boas, Stanford and the Post-Structuralists I was disciplined in the approaches of the social and behavioral sciences. Which means questions and categories such as “How do we define Humaness in its biological, linguistic, material, and cultural diversity across time and space?

Slide 5:
I am disciplined in the cultural questions of “What pattern is your kinship diagram?

Slide 6:
Or biological questions such as “How did you get that opposable thumb which makes
finger snapping such a miracle act?”

Slide 7:
Using these questions and categories to guide nuanced understanding of Kenyan Street Children, Phone Sex and Gender, and Ethiopian tourism. My dissertation shows that I was not your average anthropologist.

Whereas wisdom is good and direction is fine. I am like the great Coyote Trickster figure in my Native American culture courses. It may take wisdom to understand the world, but it takes passion to change the world. While I was trained in the wisdom of understanding, it is elsewhere that I sought to train for the passion that can positively change the world.

Slide 8
De-sign. Design, with big D, is the act of changing the world. As Herbie Simon says, from existing conditions to better ones. So for past 8 years, I’ve played passionately in the field of  Design with big D. And sometimes little D, when I can’t afford a designer who can live up to my conceptual visions of how the world is and what it could be?

Little d, design skillful decisions about line, point, color, texture, pattern, form, type, and
image make manifest the ideas of Big D design and make actionable anthropological understandings.

Slide 9
So at the liminality, of wisdom and emotion, I speak to you.

Slide 10
At the liminality of guidance and passion, I call to you. And as Victor Turner says In my liminality, I am the germ of  “Future social developments, of society change.”

And I am not alone….So let’s talk of the Yin Yang of Design and Anthropology, the mutual contexts we share, how with our complementary ethos and skills of wisdom and emotion, guidance and passion can be a positive force for business, government, and society.

Slide 11:
Mutual Contexts of Design and Anthropology’s engagement

Whatever comes to you, you must engage it somehow. You receive it, you may alter the circumstance and let it go, you may inject something of your own into it, or you may knowingly let it pass. Whatever you do, there is no need to be apathetic toward life. Engagement, (Deng Ming-Dao 1992: 34)

Slide 12:
Anthropology and design have long histories of encounter since their establishment as “modern” practices in the 19th century. Notes and Queries on Anthropology, published in 1899 had sections on the analysis the production and consumption of material artifacts, which is the knowledge domain of design. Design requires a certain understanding of human biological and cultural variation to develop products and communications.

Yet, it only in the past 20 years that design and anthropology have deeply engaged with one another professionally. What has happened in the past 20 years to support this deeper engagement? The digitization and globalization. The conversion of the world to bits and the new appreciation for one’s place in the world introduced new challenges to the professional anthropologist and design. Opening the possibilities for anthrodesign collaborations.

Slide 13:
Digital Design and Digital Anthropology
According to Nicolas Negropointe , by 1995, the future had become about the world of bits as much as the world of atoms. The digitalization of information and communication technologies had a profound affect on the production and distribution of design and anthropological artifacts and knowledge.

The popularization of AutoCAD in the 1980s, desktop computing with graphic user interfaces (GUI) in the 1990s, and the Internet itself in the 1990s brought about the mass digitalization of design. Loretta Staples describes how desktop publishing and laser printing “…supplanted professional typesetting and offset printing as the preferred low-end prepress and printing option.  Peter Bil’ak in his overview of typography in the 1990s states, “The arrival of digital technology meant that typeface design was no longer the domain of specialists. Few people realized that the democratization of typography might also endanger the existence of professional designers.”

Yet, the ubiquity of design tools of production led to new design outputs and design practitioners. The combination of these new digital tools and the digital platform of the Internet created new categories of design outputs on screens and interfaces and of web and interface designers to create them.

Digital Anthropology
Anthropology has always been savvy about technologies of recording. As far back as the 1880s, anthropologists such as Franz Boas and Alfred Cort Hadden were early adopters of still photography and film to enhance their ethnographic fieldwork (Pink 2006: 5). When digital versions of these technologies appeared, Anthropologists eagerly pleaded with the National Science Foundation to grant them the latest laptop computer, digital camera, and now iPod “recorder” for professional fieldwork. Maybe its because early fieldworkers are often in their 20s. Yet, anthropologists have been less comfortable with digital technologies of distribution such as the Internet and cable television. This is because digital technologies of distribution challenge the core of the anthropologist’s expertise: the eyewitness and thus expert “merchant of the exotic”.

The rise of cheap flights, the Internet, and cable TV channels like the Discovery Channel removed the structural barriers that separated researchers from “natives,” and specialists from tourists. For example, in the analog days, a representation of life in Vanuatu came from the rigorous publications of books and articles by a “defined” external expert on the subject. Today, the Internet enables the people of Vanuatu to represent their own culture and life much easier and with wider distribution. Digital technologies accelerated the redistribution of power relations between the research and the “native” that was started in the 1980s by the challenges of native and halfie anthropologists. This digital extension has been labeled Anthropology 2.0, drawing from Bill O’Reilly’s description of Web 2.0. The goal of the Anthropology 2.0 movement to make anthropological knowledge more open and accessible through information and communication technologies (Anthropology2.0 wiki  2007). Generationally, the discipline continues to be split between those who are comfortable or not with digitalization and what it means for professional anthropological expertise.

Slide 16:

David Harvey talks about the compression of time and space made possible through our digital technologies. Over one million people all over the world can watch the winning kick of the World Cup match through digital satellites beaming to TVs, PDAs, computers, and mobile phones. This makes some people think that digitalization caused globalization. But according to systems theorist, Immanuel Wallerstein (1974), processes of globalization began around 1500. Rather digitalization accelerated globalization’s reach and impact.

Slide 17
How did it affect professional designers and anthropologists? Actually, in similar ways. Both anthropological and design practices where traditionally framed by the focus on “locally bounded” societies. Whether the design societies of Chicago, New York, or West Coast design for designers or the remote native villages for anthropologists.

Slide 18:
After the 1980s, both designers and anthropologists began to focus on the dynamic flows of what Arjun Appadurai (1996) called “…ethnoscapes, mediascapes, techoscapes, financialscapes, and ideoscapes.” The response to these cross-cultural flows of people, media, technology, money, and ideas was varied. It ranged from fear of disenfranchisement as it was perceived that the Chinese, Japanese, Indians would take “American” jobs by offering lower prices for the same quality. But it also led to the embrace of the possibilities of difference.

Slide 19
It is this embrace of differences in human experience that has deepened the engagement of anthropology and design together. Professional designers have had to understand the differences in human experiences and draw upon anthropological knowledge to support that understanding. These new practices take the forms of Design 3.0, Cross-cultural design, Green design and sustainability, Universal design, or Socially relevant design.

Professional anthropologists have had to more effectively communicate with humans who have different expressive experiences. They now draw upon the designerly knowledge to support those communications in ways that are intuitive to different audiences. These new practices take the forms of Engaged anthropology, Public anthropology, and Anthropology 2.0.

All of these designerly and anthropology practices mark a greater engagement with positively affecting the life.

Slide 20
That is why the ancient scriptures say that from the One comes two, because there must be duality for there to be existence. These two are called yin and yang. We need white to know black, We need space to see a line. Everything in life we know because of distinctions. Two, (Deng Ming-Dao 1996: 217)

Slide 21
Yin Yang; Complementary Practices and Perspectives.

The ethos and skills of designers and anthropologist are not binary. Designers understand and Anthropologists create, but there are differences in the relative amount of time, energy, and effort spent in each activity. Having practiced Tai Chi for over 5 years, I’ve found that the Taoist concept of Yin Yang is one way in which one cane approach differences without resorting to binary oppositions. Yin Yang are modalities of engagement with life based on disciplinary histories and personal passions.

Slide 22
The Yin modality or energy is about yielding to the world around you. Going with the flow in order to cultivate the internal contemplation to better understand the world. When encountering force, you bend to the energy in order to neutralize its negative effects. One seeks to be small and insubstantial so as to minimize your negative impact on the world.

Slide 23
The Yang modality or energy is about acting on the world around you. Crafting new flows in order to extend and advance the world.  You are a force of external action, creating new energy to positive effect. One seeks to be big and substantial to open new possibility in the world.

Slide 24
Anthropology, by disciplinary history and personal passion, often operates in the Yin modality. One yields oneself to the cultural context, whether of a society, an institution, or a business to understand its energies and flows.

Slide 25
Design, by disciplinary history and personal passion, operates in the Yang modality. Envisioning oneself as the creator of the future, one acts on a society, institution, or business to redirect its energies and flows.

Slide 26
Anthropology and Design are the Yin Yang complementary modalities of the world.

Slide 27
They represent the human potentialities for both action and understanding.

Slide 28
Design provides the knowledge and passion for functional success in artifacts, messages, experiences, and systems. Anthropology provides the knowledge and understanding for contextual success in which design operates.

Slide 29
We need each other. The complexity of the problems and contexts in which professional designers and anthropologists are being forced to and are choosing to address means that our separate skills are not enough anymore. We need to cultivate of the skills for both Yin Yang modalities of engagement. It is imperative for the success of both disciplines in their intentions to be progressive forces for business, government, and society.

Slide 30
The intellect uses discrimination, categorization, and dualistic distinctions in highly sophisticated ways. By contrast, spiritual contemplation involves no discrimination, categorization, and no dualism, so it has little need for scholasticism. It is pure action that requires the totality of our inner beings…The proper use of the intellect is to give it free play, develop it to an extraordinary degree, and yet leave it behind when spiritual action is required. A sage knows how to balance and combine both. Scholasticism, (Deng Ming-Dao 1992: 138)
It’s about being able to balance and combine both.

Slide 31
In the liminality of anthrodesigner hybridity, I and others have already begun to use the combined Yin Yang modalities of Anthropology and Design to be progressive forces for business, government, and society.

Slide 32
As pioneered by places like Doblin, E-lab, Xerox Park, Sapient, Sonic Rim, hybrid anthrodesigners successfully brought together deep human understanding and designerly creative action to change the practices of businesses. The humanizing effect of anthropology and the clarifying and prioritizing effect of design help business become more accountable to its customers.

Slide 33
Changing the value basis of business from mere numbers to actionable human needs, wants, desires, expectations, design and anthropology combined their Yin Yang energies to create a more holistic picture of the return on human investment. A picture that continues to expand as business uses design and anthropology to understand, model, and adapt its effects on individuals, groups, communities, societies, and ecosystems.

Slide 34
My personal work is at the intersections of design and government. Previously with Design for Democracy, and now through the City Design Center at UIC, anthrodesigners like myself are changing the practices of governance by bringing the same accountability, humanization, and clarity in business to government. Providing clear models of complex human processes and interactions, the Yin Yang energies of anthropology and design are translating the values of democracy into tangible experiences among diverse peoples. Anthropology helping to understand what those values are from the perspective of the people themselves.

Slide 35
Design acting of the translator of those values. The tangibility of them through artifacts enabling the iteration process to achieve alignment between the values and peoples’ actually experiences.

Slide 36
The Yin Yang modalities of anthropology and design demonstrate that even a micro-artifact like a hospital bill can represent the entire macro-enterprise of an organization and people’s relationship to it.

Slide 37
Anthrodesigners are taking what they have learned from business and government and applying it to wider society. The work of anthrodesigners like Saki Mafundikwa of Africa or MP Ranjan in India are showing how the Yin Yang of deep yielding to local and global cultural conditions can lead to actionable design innovations that are culturally, economically, technically, and environmentally appropriate. And if we are to further engage in a global design, we need both Yin Yang energies to be sensitive yet passionate about social and economic justice.

Slide 38
But we don’t always have to go far from home, we can have positive effects by addressing social concerns that cause deep tragedy in our lives.

Slide 39
If we can combine the intellect and direct experience with our meditative mind, then there will be no barrier to the wordless perception of reality. Intellect, (Deng Ming-Dao 1992: 84)

Anthrodesigners and the evolution of graphic design

As I stated in the beginning, I am not alone in my liminality. There are many students who now journey this path with me at UIC. We’ve learned to combine anthropological knowledge with designerly ways of knowing to understand the ethical responsibilities of being a graphic designer today and tomorrow.

Slide 40
Combining passion and wisdom, action and understanding, functional and contextual success, they are the future of graphic design and what it can do in the world.

Slide 41
And they are the hybrid Yin Yang masters of this new world. From their thesis projects to their personal convictions, they are writing a new disciplinary history and future for the graphic design field. One that accentuates the creative redesigning of the world which is the hallmark of design, but seeks to use anthropology to ground the impact of their power in what is appropriate, ethical, and humanly sustainable. And they are changed forever.

Slide 42
Passion and direction. We exist at the liminality of passion and direction, emotion and wisdom.  We are the germ of  “Future social developments, of society change.” And we are not alone… Thank you.


Appardurai, Arjun, ed. The Social Life of Things. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

Bil'ak, Peter. "Type Design in the 1990s, Demystification and Re-Mystification".  The Hague, Netherlands, 2000.  Typothegue. July 10, 2007 2007. <>.

Harvey, David. The Condition of Postmodernity. New York: Blackwell Publishers, 1989.

Ming-Dao, Deng. 365 Tao Daily Meditations. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1992.

Negropointe, Nicholas. Being Digital. New York: Vintage Books, 1995.

Pink, Sarah. The Future of Visual Anthropology: Engaging the Senses. New York: Routledge, 2006.

Simon, Herbert.  The Sciences of the Artificial. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1969.

Staples, Loretta. "Typography and the Screen: A Technical Chronology of Digital Typography 1984-1997." Design Issues 16.3 (2000): 19-34.

Turner, Victor. "Liminality and Communitas."  The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure. Chicago: Aldine Publishing, 1969. 94-113, 25-30.

Wallerstein, Immanuel. The Modern World-System Vol. 1. New York: Academic Press, 1974.

AIGA Next Blaise Aguera y Arcas

Blaise Aguera y Arcas, Pre-History of the Metaverse

He wants to do more than talk about photosynth. There was idea that with networks that we would see cyberspace. Then web came along and it was within reach. It was simple and made use of things we already knew how to deal with.

Cyberspace now means being online. What motivating is bringing back the original vision of seeing cyberspace. Came to Microsoft with because we had much less than what we have now because of collaboration.

Seadragon ingine. Have large number of photos and accessing them very fluidly. The way they think about interacting with documents is a little bit broken. We think about opening a document; we download. If too big, take long time.

Need to think about documents as sources of information.

Gaming is really interested in it. The GPU can be done in 3D because using the graphics hardwear. It was just a toy until saw photo tourism at U Washington and Microsoft. Microsoft Research is the Bell Labs of computer research. Almost 1/4 and 1/3 of SIGGRAPH papers had a Microsoft Research co-author. He made a 3D reconstruction of Notre Dame from photos showing the position of the cameras that were taking them.

The idea of reconstructing 3D from images has a long history. Noah was using off the shelf technique. Instead of making a quake level for images, it is better to do so from photos. Putting the photos into context and how they are related to each other.

Algorithm: feature extraction, matching, then 3D reconstruction. David Lowe in 1999 did Photo tourism. The key to do reconstruction of features, and find similar features in other photos.

Feature gets a descriptor, unique and robust of 128 numbers from different points of view. Match the features in others and reconstruct when see features looking at the same thing. Can solve question of where does it need to be in 3D space, estimate geometry.

They should use this for the AIGA archives. Authoring can be done with digital camera not coding for say for example a commercial website for a kitchen design firm. Can do hyperlinks of images.

It uses off the shelf parts. Digital photos. Materials are there already, can put them together. It will be emergent and come from many people's images.


AIGA Next Command X semi-finals

It is the last three remaining contestants, Kelly Dorsey, Matt Munoz, and Nichelle Narcici.  Grand prize is $1000 and Adobe CS3.

Assignment was get people between 18 and 24 to vote.

Kelly's concept was to tell youth to Vote: they won't expect it. Displayed on college campuses. Vote it will keep them guessing.

Matt concept is to demystify the voting process, create personal meaning, and bring relevance and transparent to issue.  He proposes a little information book and create blog and other touch points. Companion site to elucidate issue. He had an concept of showing the relevance of the Iraq war to the death of 18-24 year olds. The comment is design thinking.

Nichelle concept is to make youth seem like they are part of the out group. Her concept, Except you. Its a PDF which youth can print off and put on bulletin board or cars. "Everyone counts, except you." It was a clean white background and helvetica type.

Nichelle should win based on the Except You campaign itself. But it is about the power of design thinking in this last task.

AIGA Next Khoi Vinh

Khoi Vinh

Not going to talk alot about work, but talk about online in a print world. Works at and have website. A brief

Will talk about control. Interactive design is different from print at NYTimes which has to do with ideas of control.

Good design as solutions that tell good story. Traditionally, narrative is good design. Good storytelling:

  1. A coherent world view
  2. Managment of every element
  3. One way communication for information fro the author to the audience

Guiding principle of interactive design is behavior, which you cannot control. Giving control over to designers. Designers think this is blasphamy. "If we give them people what they want, they will never get what we know they need."

Undesigned sites have been there since day one. Techniques that designers use to exert control:

  1. Tell people to download font for site.
  2. Render text as graphics instead of HTML
  3. Pop up daughter window to control site space
  4. Tie sites to proprietary software like Internet explorer or Adobe Flash
  5. Counting on users to learn a site over time

What can you do to a printed page (read, mark, photocopy, share). Design is baked into the page.

What can people do to web browser text. You can enlarge the text. Click to go somewhere else (interrupt narrative flow). Roll over. Will re-render typeface. Can read screen reader for accessibility. Can add comments. You can extract text through RSS. Can quote it liberally.  You can edit it as in wiki.

The designer has lost control. The content is separated from the design. But it is not a loss of control but actually a multiplicity of states that exist.  Designer needs to think about all the states. Needs to  think about user experience.

Print is to Speech as Interactive is to Conversation. Difference is ability to control.

Digital media looks like writing but it is a conversation. IM is easy as conversation. Bulletin board is a conversation. Email is sometimes is document but mostly becomes conversation. Blog is best of documentary, but conversation with comments. Delicious is conversation. Article of NYTimes is a document, but when put online it becomes a conversation. Can comment online eventually.

He goes through the movement back and forth between oral and literary traditions, conversation versus documents. Documents and conversations rely on one another. Good conversations come out of good documents.

Facebook is highly designed compared to MySpace. There is lots of interest in grid based layouts. Technical publishers are doing books on fonts.

There is trend toward print fidelity through designer tools. Principles of good storytelling is relevant to the web. Users want to maintain control, and what them to be guided and clear.

AIGA Next Maira Kalman

Maira Kalman (dialogue with Kurt Andersen)

She did illustrated version of Skunk and White's Elements of Style. She always wanted to be a writer. She went to college and dropped out. She was at a flea market church and read it. It was a natural moment to decided to illustrate it. Did a series of paintings to illustrating the write and wrong prose. She talks about serendipity. The intent between Gertrude Stein and Skunk and White was different but the craziness is similar.

Becoming an artist
Writing was torture and art was easy. She thought that the narrative story could be told in a painting. She did know any rules and did not have any limitations. "I am propelling myself into being a permanent amateur." She started writing children's books. Then moved to writing for adults and writing monthly column for New York Times Online.

For one year, the column she wrote was about "anguish, joy, not wanting to speak, not wanting to shut up, and everything." She was happy about it.

Her book is The Principles of Uncertainty from her NY Times columns. She assumes that anyone who does anything is a manic depressive. The year is about collapse and pulling herself together again. It is all hand written with paintings. These are stories from her family. "I walk around in an alert stupor."

"There was zero inner peace in my home but the cake was a mocha cake." So she talks about family and madness.

"There are feelings that well up inside that you know are true. And that's how I live my life." I like that phrase because that is how I live my life. She is giving a performance next week at the New York Public Library a 13-minute performance piece. She wants to be a maid for a Duchess.

AIGA Next Friday Recap

So my talk went well. Lots of anthrodesigners coming out of the woodwork. Evening sessions were a blur. Hard to blog because they were more visuals of designers' works. Will recap later.

Some highlights from yesterday:
Marian Bantjes said a lot about following your Next in unexpected ways. I like her semi-Zen approach to one's life and career. Her graphic art is gorgeous.

Illustrator's rock! Christopher Niemann gave a overview of his illustration work mostly for the New Yorker. Witty and self-deprecating in a German way, he was really cool and spoke a lot about the relationship between editorial restrictions, clarity, and creativity. It was almost the opposite of Paul Bundnitz.

Momus (aka Nick Currie) was very cool but very incoherent in his presentation. He probably said some of the smartest things about design, philosophy, and culture that you never really got because the presentation was so tangled. Plus he was sporting a cool eye patch due to tainted contact lenses. The highlight quote that will go around the blogsphere, "The Japanese, gays, and graphic designers all play attention to texture. God is in the details."

In the evening, I went to the Substance exhibit curated by Lisa Abendroth. It is a small version of Massive Change or the Cooper Hewitt Design for the Other 90% exhibit. There are really exciting projects including Design for Democracy. The DforD book is out.

AIGA Next Marian Bantjes

Marian Banjes

The idea of Next is point of suspension. The past, present, and future are fused together in lock of memory and imagination. Sometimes looks like fate.

Inspiration is the forge of next that propels them forward. Its not something you can plan and expect. Inspiration allows us to forge into the unknown. She was asked to look at her past artifacts of inspiration.

Spent 10 years as typesetter. Was not as a passion or not interested necessarily in publishing. Was getting change for bud and saw the a. Was it fate or accident?

She saw parallels between travels and visual appreciation for the ornate and complex patterns. In 80s started painting, in 90s started printing. But she got bored. Then did variations in patterns and experiments in her private life. in 1994 left job as typesetter and did work as designer until 2003. Some of it was good. The work was not exceptional and she lost sense of inspiration. Her art only appeared in her own company work.

For the first time she create her own next. Sold business to partner, she was desparate and dying so had to start anew. She gave herself a year to start making money. Gave herself 18 months, and people finally started hiring her.

She likes to fuse the past and the present. Has deep love of Modernism, structure, and logic. From complexity, structure, and typography many things come forth. She never foresaw it presenting at AIGA main stage.

Personal mania for Nextness can be destructive. When is the next cover? the next assignment? These are terrible thoughts. They make us ignore what we have in this moment. The only reality we can know or appreciate is the present.

She revels in the lack of misery.

AIGA Next Design-based K-12 learning

AIGA NEXT focus session

Meredith Davis
Meeting Standards through Design in K-12 Education. Doreen Nelson, NYTImes 30 most innovator educators. Design-based learning, engage in highest level that creates concepts. At Pomona. Miss Daarina Abdus-Samad, Educator in Pasadena who advocates for design-based learning.

Not about pre-professional education of K-12 educations, do projects as jump start to professional careers. They used methods of design to learn required content in other K-12 subjects. These are content experts. Important not to thing that you are the experts going to help. This is collaboration in which designers learn from experts.

Talk about how design can help facilitating learning with context of standardization for k-12.

National science standards, the word design appears in the standard. Visual arts standards no mention of design. Arts education communities does not understand design in same sense that we understand design. Does not include design thinking.

Design can help (from Nigel Cross, designerly ways of knowing)
How things mean
How things work
Wants and needs
How things relate to each other
Way of knowing

Teachers are hungry for this information.

California Language arts standards for 10th grade. Distinguish between denotative and connotative meaning of works and interpret the connotative power of words.

Beginning with graphic model and then back into writing with them may be good way to handle language. Building narrative diagrams. Have students draw and build diagrams. Using crude materials to help students understanding abstract concepts.

Examples based on California standards are the most specified in the world.

  • Jefferson buildings of University of Virginia express cultural values because it does not have British example.
  • Use design scenarios and role playing to invest in complex outcomes of historical processes. Can do more than make 8th graders make business cards for other 8th graders. Encourage us to be collaborative and investing in collaboration.

Doreen Nelson
Design beings in the brain in the sandbox. Was classroom teacher for 14 years. Grabbed the techniques from design to deliver techniques. Design thinking is called constructiveness learning.

Any classroom teacher can do it. 1995 started masters degree program. Graduated 40 teachers last year for design based learning. Want to come because attendance comes up, the student’s attitudes go up, the math and reading scores goes up, there is more learnings ESL can speak English easier.

In California, there are standards. Teach for deep understanding, key concepts and underlying themes, within the curriculum, and need to connect to students prior knowledge. Transfer of learning.

Bloom made a taxonomy of learning. Creativity is at the top of the list.

Two kinds of transfer: specific transfer and non-specific transfer is concepts, principles, values, and morals. What design brings is the ability to do this. There has not been much. Harold Gardner and David , need to give them a “near experience” and armed with experience they can go someplace. They called it a hug. You want them to hug the information.

Found herself as a teaching struggling to teach underlying concepts.

Brunner, father of cognitive psychology, is if you can find the common thread. Do it backwards, we start out where we want to end up.

English teacher has to read the Scarlet Letter. She looked at what the big concept was which was morality. Had students make imaginary village. Had them role up paper as a symbol of morality. Made a list of criteria that came up from the book. The students had people zapped if they did something wrong. When students read the book, they were appalled at themselves and then revised their design scenario. 

Backwards Thinking 6.5 steps of backwards learning

1.    What do I need to teach (themes)
2.    Identify a problem from the curriculum problem (state an never before seen design challenge)
3.    Set criteria for assessment (based on whats and needs from curriculum)
4.    Let students give it a try (build 3-d models, talk, and write)
5.    Teach guided lessons (research)
6.    Revise designs

If you think about a concept as opposed to a logo.

Miss Daarina Abdus-Samad

Has taught for 20 years. Teach students to enjoy learning. Mandated to teach the standards in a certain way. The Heart Acre Project: had to deliver curriculum not good for her or students. Sit down, listen, raise hand, and write correct answers. The best students get ignored and the students who are the most challenged get only 10 minutes of time.

Her test scores improved with design based learning. Develop curriculum integration chart. The design challenge is the umbrella that holds all of things together. Speaking reading, writing, comprehension, math, etc.

2nd graders build, write, measuring, discussing, analyzing, rebuilding mad writing. They own their own answers and problems.

Criteria list (engage them in making what they don’t want and need)
Don’t want | Needs list

Go through the whole year, have monthly planning with criteria and lessons for the month. The students want to know what are the challenges.

Body Objects
Think of who they are 3D objects as themselves. The turn it next month into body covering which makes it there.
Through questions of relations, they write, talk, and debate the criteria list.

By doing it backeads. They do it and own it. When look at the book then they say, “Miss Daarina they did it like we did.” But now they own it.

At the end of year, the students have review and synthesis. The students talk and present to the parents what they have worked on for the year each June. Her children know and can debate it. Don’t care what it looks like, but she can see what it means. She can see because they have explained it to them, written about it.

She gets students who enjoy learning, who love to write, students go to read to verify what they think.

It has not spread because there is lack of will on one hand, need for generational shift in college education.

Difference of age: work in high school is more difficult because not allowable for older students to make with their mind. Think happens as we are making.

Using preexisting methods for assessing, but kids want to know how things work. Learned to take things a part and figure out how they work.

Applied learning as a form of assessment tool.

AIGA Next Paul Budnitz

Paul Budnitz

AIGA is the rock concert of design. He is talking about Kid Robot in 2002 based on toys coming at of Japan and Hong Kong. He thought them essential and edgy. The story of Kid Robot is the story of motion. The Bounty Hunter toy from Japan was the first. Vinyl toys are cute and scary. He sold them to accent to clothing line. The inspiration for Bounty Hunter toys are from US cereal cartoon characters.

Michael a Hong Kong toy designer used to cut off heads of GI Joes and created own toys. European toy makers started.

Most of us think of toy store, we think of toys are us. Almost all of them are from something else. What they are selling is not great toy or object, but your memory of Star Wars or dinosaur movie. The toys are not interesting.

Kid Robot makes toys and clothing. Toys are released on Thursday in limited runs of 250. Made for Marc Jacob. Have own original toys are not from anything. Motion and about what is creating as art assets. His criteria is a Kid Robot aesthetic. Have creative staff of 4 people, but do as much as they do because they are collaborative.

They come up with a shape, Donny rabbit, and then have designers and graffiti artist design them. They sell from children to adults to art collector.

Most of the artists are graffiti artists, like Rock Steady Crew. There is a flat aesthetic, passionate, and take a risk. Need to only find 100 people to buy it because limited editions, so can take risks.

The creative process. As kids, we were free to create. We played with food, which discovered that food was great medium for art. Someone taught us, someone we loved, then we taught that free creativity is dangerous. The adult mind is not free to be creative. We need to be free of the ego.

Nostalgia is death by Bob Dylan. Nostalgia is not life generating. The pot of his grandmother was draining his life, which then resulted in getting rid of everything. Then freed up more energy for creativity.

Peecol toy, you cannot buy it and you could give it. There were pictures of Nuke in Burma at the protests. Nuke has a facebook page.

Clothing line: wanted to use it as inspiration. Use graphic feel but not a character on a shirt. All the clothes are limited edition. The jackets are numbered. Labbit stools, toys projected at club opened in Toronto.

How they break down the ego: the mind is a critical tool. The mind is trying to protect us.  It judges. Mind is useless from coming up with new ideas. Separate generative and critical processes. Have a giant whiteboard to design kids show characters. Went into a room and started sketching. Let the person with the bad ideas be free.

Then had a critical section and then back and forth. Came up with Moochy Pooty characters. Showed a Kid Robot cartoon for Munny.