Educating the New Wave of Designers

Lisa Scharoun, Stephen Trathen, and Gudur Raghavendra Reddy (Raghu) (UC)
2017 Conference

Design has matured from what has been often considered a style driven industry to an area that deals with solving complex social and technological problems. Creating a design graduate that adds ‘value’ to society in terms of someone who excels at communication across a range of cultures, understands the current climate of innovation and entrepreneurial skills needed whilst at the same time has a solid foundation of skill sets and knowledge in a particular disciplinary area is no easy feat. Many bachelor programs focus on the digital, the material or a combination of both however we believe that the skills most important to be a successful practitioner in today’s economy are a solid grounding in the principles of human-centred design. We believe that a course structure grounded in the principles of human centred design, design research, cross-cultural communication and how to bring solutions to market are key to creating the ‘new wave’ of designers. In this paper we show how to support the cross-facilitation of knowledge and skill sets to enable students to become valuable leaders in the industry.

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About the author

Dr. Lisa Scharoun is an Associate Professor of Graphic Design and the founder and Director of the Cross Cultural Design Lab at the University of Canberra in Canberra, Australia. Lisa worked in London as a graphic and interior designer and has previously held the position of head of the graphic design discipline at Deakin University in Melbourne and senior lecturer in the visual communications department at Raffles Design Institute in Shanghai, China. She was a top 10 finalist in the 2013 Bill and Melinda Gates “Records for Life” competition and was awarded a prize for the design she created to assist mothers in developing countries to remember to vaccinate their children. The Australian Paralympic committee commissioned her to create motivational posters for Australian Paralympic Athletes for the 2016, 2014 and 2012 Paralympic Games. Lisa’s digital photographic design work has won numerous international awards such as the JM Cameron Prize for Women’s Photography and the Prix de la Photographie Paris. Recent publications include the books: Cross Cultural Design (Beijing Electronics Press 2016) and America at the Mall: the cultural role of a retail utopia (McFarland 2012).

Dr. Stephen Trathen is an Associate Professor in Industrial design at University of Canberra. With qualifications in both industrial design and human factors he has number of research interests. He has researched aspects of the practice of industrial design by exploring the experiences of graduates to identify and analyse the application of industrial design and industrial design education. This revealed the range of possible employment and professional sectors of practice describing various archetypes and the adaptive nature of the profession. His research is also related to design and technology in sports. Within interdisciplinary research teams he has for example, been investigating projects within snow sports including research into aspects of the participation and safety of elite athletes and general public. This includes examining the effects of hydration on balance, upper limb injuries in falls, and using balance measurement to help determine concussion effects.

Dr. Gudur Raghavendra Reddy (Raghu), is an Assistant Professor in Graphic Design at University of Canberra. He holds a PhD in Design from the Queensland University of Technology. His research focus is on making contemporary technological products more accessible for people with diverse capabilities. Raghu has published extensively in this area and won numerous awards, including a prestigious international IFIP TC 13 Accessibility Award in recognition to the most outstanding contribution on ageing, disability and inclusive design. Before starting his PhD, for eight years, Raghu taught User-experience design, visual communication, new media content development and design project management modules at Communications and New Media department, National University of Singapore. Raghu took to teaching after extensive industry and research work experience in interactive multimedia, information design and publication design.