measured each visual decision against problem objectives using
the stated criteria. To do a single exercise, students might
make hundreds of decisions. The process resulted in self-learning,
training the eye and better understanding the principles and
objectives of that particular exercise. Color decisions became
increasingly sophisticated and the nuances finely delineated
as the course progressed and the eye became more disciplined.
divided the subject of Color into increments, with each represented
by one or several exercises. Once the principles and criteria
were established through doing exercises, Albers then assigned
free studies. Students set their own objectives and formats
and applied the principles they had learned.
believe all the necessary clues to successful instruction
in basic design are contained within Albers' approach to teaching
color: dividing the exercise into related increments with
limited objectives and materials; having clear criteria and
one exercise reinforcing the next, incorporating an extensive
process of exploration or decision-making. It is mandatory
to work abstractly so as to better focus on space and form.
All of these conditions and requirements can be applied to
other facets of design, theoretical or practical.
Studies in Graphic Design
Although in recent years the computer has become a primary
tool within Graphic Design education and professional practice,
I believe first-year education should be restricted to hand-generated
imagery. My experience is that values and skills are more
readily assimilated through traditional practices than doing
class assignments on the computer. An exception might be a
technical course where students learn the computer and explore
its range of capabilities. Hand-generated letterforms are
taught the first year, and my inclination would be to introduce
the computer to students for production purposes with typography
in the second year.
for Graphic Design students is divided into several broad
areas which should be properly sequenced to include perceptual
studies, conceptual development and professional practices.
The latter should include technical information related to
production processes and equipment. There is also an important
part of professionalism associated with the use of tools and
craft, and that which sharpens the eye and develops skills.
of weak Art foundation courses, most Graphic Design programs
are forced to use the first year in the major to provide students
with a design foundation. This takes away precious time from
professional studies, but it is necessary. There are a few
design programs that enroll students in the first year. Because
of the poor quality of most foundation programs, this option
is desirable and justifiable for most Graphic Design programs.
majority of students come into Graphic Design believing they
will be doing posters, identity marks and advertising. Theoretical
studies tend to be a shocking experience for students. Because
they do not understand abstract theory or critical criteria,
they seldom know what they are trying to achieve. This is
evidenced when students come to the teacher and say, "Is
this what you want?Ó They resent having to do work over and
over again. They feel teachers are being unnecessarily picky
about skills and craft, and students are highly vulnerable
to becoming frustrated in these circumstances.