Integrating Conceptual Design and Technology Learning in Visual Communication Education

Dr Gerhard Bachfischer
2015 Conference

This paper reports on a scoping study that provides evidence that a more balanced approach for visual communication students’ learning is necessary so they can become design professionals who are ready for practice because they are a) strong design thinkers, but also b) confident and efficient users of technology to bring their creative ideas to life. The research reported here suggests that those two roles are not, but should be, well integrated in practice-oriented education of graphic designers. We use findings from surveys, interviews, and focus groups involving university students, teachers, recent graduates, and experienced graphic design practitioners to shed more light on the issue. The paper proposes that an integration of conceptual and technology skills in visual communication programs is an important step in improving education of future designers, and provides some preliminary findings how it can be achieved.

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About the author

Dr Gerhard Bachfischer is an Austrian-born typographer / designer / lecturer / academic with close to 30 years of experience, around half of it from overseas. He is currently the course director for the Visual Communication Undergraduate Degree in the School of Design at University of Technology Sydney. He most enjoys teaching typography in a large core subject called Text & Image. Gerhard completed his doctorate, “Framework of Influential Factors on the Typographic Quality of Text Perceived by its Audience”, in 2009 at UTS. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Interactive Multimedia from UTS. His main research interests include design practice and education.