Contemporary Communication Design

Lesson 1 of 9

Class Introduction

 

Contemporary Communication Design

Lesson 1 of 9

Class Introduction

 

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Thank you for joining us. I'm YuJune Park. I'm the associate director and assistant professor in the BFA Communications Design Program at Parsons School of Design. And I joined Parsons in 2014 and over the last three years, I've met with countless excited and anxious students who have come all around the world to learn all about design. And the one question they always ask me is "What is communication design?" or more specifically, "How can I become a communication designer?" And that's a really good question because there's a lot of confusion about our field and how it's changed over the years. And before I dive into those questions, I really want to talk about why I do what I do. Each day, every American encounters over 5,000 types of communication, whether it's a slack message or a text or an email or an advertisement, we are just inundated with communication, and here's the thing. 99% of it is just background noise, it doesn't register, it doesn't communicate in a way that's compel...

ling, it doesn't really move you to action. But my question for you is, "What if we could communicate better?" What would the world be like if we could increase understanding, if we could make communication more beautiful? And, to me, I've always been fascinated with communication because at the heart of it, communication is really all about connection. It's at the foundation of what it means to share what you think with others, have them understand, and for them to share with you in return, and connection is really at the heart of what it means to be human. So let's get started. The great novelist, Joseph Conrad, described the written word as having the power to make you hear, to make you feel, and to make you see. And when I first read this, it just slayed me because it's such a simple way of articulating the power of our field. At the end of the day, good communication is done in a way so the audience actually hears what you say. It doesn't become part of the 5,000 types of communication that just get lost. But if you do it well enough, communication design can also make you feel, and that's a powerful thing because words can inspire action. And lastly, and this is perhaps the most amazing thing, is words can make you see. And if you really take a moment to think about that, that's powerful because being able to see means you can inspire somebody to see the world in new ways. And with all types of words and communication design, there's an emotional component and there's a rational component. It's like our own brain. We have a left side and a right side. But if you can bring these two together, you're getting onto something powerful. And we have to remember that everything around us was designed, whether or not it was designed well (laughs), is another question altogether. But everything we experience, every ad we see, every magazine, every billboard, somebody thought about that and I think that our challenge is to imagine what would the world be like if we communicated better. When it comes to our field, there's really two components and they're two sides of the same coin. First is what. We're in the business of defining what you say. This is a little bit of the rational part, right? It's how do you communicate something clearly, but first you start with the what. The other side of that is how. So once you have your message, how do you communicate? And this isn't just about how something looks. It's also about the way in which you choose to say it. And this is where communication design has changed. In the past, it used to be more about things you could understand in an instant. For example, a poster or a logo, but it was more of theses one-offs, and now, that's changed. Contemporary communication design is also about communicating over time. And a good way to think about that is, say, communicating a message instantly, for example, on Twitter, but say you want to communicate something over time through, say, the design of a new app. That's an experience, right? But how you choose to say it, whether you want to communicate that emotion or that message in an instant or over time really comes down to what medium you choose. And as you move through the design process, my challenge to you is to constantly be thinking about what you say and how you say it and balancing these two needs side by side. And in this class, we're gonna learn a lot of things. Maybe you're just curious about what the heck communication design is or you're seriously interested in entering the field, really, this class is for you. First, we're gonna learn what communication design is today and also, what it's not. Then we're gonna learn how to think like a designer. How can you see the world in a way that will inspire you to become a better designer and to communicate more clearly? Next, we're gonna get into the nuts and bolts, we're gonna talk about the skills you need to get started. And this is pretty important because when I entered the field of communication design, I actually had no idea how to get started. Four, we're gonna dive into the vocabulary of communication design. These are just some words that will help you get an understanding of the lingo we use in our field. Next, we're gonna talk about the design process and this is critical because design is not about waiting for inspiration to sweep into your room (laughs) and then you make something beautiful. It's really about developing a design process where you can continuously make strong work. And people think strong work is just for the talented, but it's not. It's for people who have really discovered the design process and are moving critically through this. Next, we're gonna talk about cross-platform making. This is essential for the contemporary communication designer. You are no longer designing just a simple poster or just one pamphlet. No, you are the conductor of a symphony of communication. And we're gonna dive into what cross-platform making is and how you can communicate your message across multiple channels at once. Next, we're gonna talk about best practices for learning. And this is so essential 'cause we're just getting started. I'm still learning, and so I'm gonna teach you how we can continue to learn better and smarter. And lastly, we're gonna talk about growth, what does it mean to approach your field with a life-long growth mentality? And above all, we're really doing this because this class is for you. It's really about how you can harness your mind, your experiences, and your unique vision to communicate clearly and effectively with purpose and with impact. That is my wish for you because we want other people to truly hear what you're saying, to feel what you're saying, and to be able to see the world as you're presenting it.

Class Description

There is a tendency in design education to discuss mediums as career paths. Web designer. Print designer. Type Designer. And while there is enormous value in specialized skills, technology has radically reconfigured the landscape of the industry. Print designers are asked to design—and create—content published in monthly print magazines, weekly blogs, and daily social media posts. Social media marketing is redefining advertising. Branding includes more customer experience, both on and offline.

The field is rapidly redrawing its own boundaries and its relationship to other industries. What does it mean to be a communication designer in today's market? And how can we build success for tomorrow? 

In this class, YuJune Park, Associate Director of the Communication Design program at Parsons School of Design, will share with you the fundamental skills that graphic designers, or rather, communication designers need to succeed in an industry that expects its practitioners to move fluidly from printed matter to digital screens and beyond.

Reviews

Loi Laing
 

Very thorough introduction to contemporary design that explains the skills, mindset, and processes necessary to be successful in this field.

Camila