The Future of the Art & Design Industry Shapes Art Education

by Guadalupe Bumatay, Academy of Art University
The Future of the Art & Design Industry Shapes Art Education

By traditional standards, a degree in art and design provides students with a core education in hand drawing, composition, color theory, and specialized fields in photography, graphic design, and fashion. However, art and design universities today are also preparing students to stay on the cutting-edge by integrating digital technologies and sustainable design concepts into coursework.

With the steady growth of the Internet and growing demand for communication devices, art and design universities recognize the need for majors like Digital Arts & Communication. Unlike Computer Arts with heavy concentration areas in print and graphic design, universities are now developing majors that focus on the usability and navigability of the devices that we use everyday. We depend on our cell phones, laptops, music devices, and all the other gadgets that have been integrated into our lives to be easy to use and functional, and universities are training a new generation of designers that understand the functionality of products along with the consumers who use them.

Art and design universities are also paying close attention to the growing need to incorporate sustainable design into major coursework. The impact of global warming has become a mainstream issue in our society, and many industries are recognizing the changing need in the market for products that minimize environmental impact. Art universities are placing an emphasis on teaching students environmentally-conscious design by blending ecological processes into their academic training.

Everything from fashion to building construction is being influenced by sustainable design. Students are being trained in green building, passive solar design, green energy systems, and the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Rating System. Industrial Design, Architecture, and Interior Architecture graduates are designing for low environmental impact and energy efficiency. In addition, sustainable design classes can be found sprinkled throughout the course catalogs of major fashion programs. Fashion Design students are literally weaving green designs into their runway products by using organic fabrics and implementing sustainable manufacturing processes.

Art education is constantly being shaped by the changing needs of the design industry. Today, students graduate prepared to undertake sustainable design solutions that will surely be woven into the construction of new homes, cars, clothing and products. They also graduate equipped with technical backgrounds that allow them to drill down to the cognitive behavior of the latest interactive media and digital communication devices making the newest gadgets easier for consumers to use. There is no doubt that a portfolio that communicates the vision of an artist that thinks forwardly will be a step-ahead of the rest, and leading art universities are making sure that students are doing just that in designing for the future.

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