Matthew Scott Waldman

Design Education Manifesto

Published
October 08, 2019

Author
Matthew Waldman, Professor
Keio University Graduate school of Media Design.
→ waldman@kmd.keio.ac.jp
+81 070 1515-2233

CORE BELIEFS – As a species in the Holocene, human evolution is driven by human imagination. It is from our dreams and imagination that stories turn into frameworks for cultural shifts, technological innovation, and social change. 

“Design” is often described as “problem-solving”, and though this is a simple definition to which I agree, “design” is more importantly “language” – a language that encompasses more than words – a language with a vocabulary and grammar unique to each modality – form, and colour.
Form is a vocabulary we use as designers and creators as is colour, syntax and ontology of existing in 4D spaces as we experience the world.

All people of all backgrounds have the innate ability to problem solve and to communicate, and therefore everyone has the ability to be a designer and creator.

Technological advances, though often viewed with fear, will always benefit society when properly evolved [Technoprogressivism].

THEORETICAL BASIS – By accepting design as a language, a means to express concepts, then we can separate language from culture.

LANGUAGE ≠ CULTURE
LANGUAGE = TOOL
LANGUAGE IS A TOOL WE USE TO IN CREATING [CULTURE]

By accepting the above as a model, we can then draw parallels to how it used as a tool for design, action design, and creating experiences in a dynamic 4-dimensional universe just as we can accept that a 2-dimensional drawing can be used as a tool to create a 3-dimensional object.

Design is a tool for creating a shared reality.
“Design” is the DNA of our culture and our tool to create a better reality.

EDUCATION APPROACH – All people of all backgrounds have the innate ability to problem solve and to communicate, and therefore everyone has the ability to be a designer and creator.

My education approach is 4-fold.
1. Train the student to be able to articulate their concepts in words.
2. Train the student to differentiate between personal taste and actual expressions of concepts.
3. Train the student to connect the concepts and ideas to colours, images form and interactions.
4. Train the student to test the resulting visual and form-based expressions and improve via an iterative process.

In many cases, the training is often untraining!

FUTUREPROOFING – To “future-proof” Keio University Graduate School of Media Design, we address the following:
1. Bio-Design. The future of design will be in using more bio-engineered materials for a better sustainable world.
2. Branding. Many companies are grappling not with design issues, but issues of product parity forcing them to compete in the brand space.
3. Material Science. When a technology plateaus, often innovation can be found in new materials. Material science is fast becoming the next big “design” field.