What do we celebrate when we honor anniversaries? The passage of time, of course; that’s easy. But time, in itself, isn’t terribly special — it just passes inexorably onward, no matter what, without us doing anything. Perhaps, then, it’s better to look at anniversaries as celebrations of volume instead of duration; honoring a level of effort and commitment made possible by longevity, rather than the passage of time itself.
So, when thinking about Designmatters’ 15th anniversary, what are we celebrating? First and foremost, it’s the lives of the people whom the program has touched — not just the students and faculty, but the lives of the people in the communities that every Designmatters course has been dedicated to helping.
Much of design education is inwardly focused: as a student, your education is about finding your voice; honing your craft; building your community. Designmatters is a great forum for these familiar goals within design education, but with an important addition—looking outward. Looking beyond your discipline, to see how your craft is made better by others; looking outside of ArtCenter, and learning about how organizations in the “real” world operate; looking outward to real people and real communities, to see how your work can make a real difference in people’s lives.
These were all things that I saw when teaching in Designmatters. I saw students make an impact in the world. I saw them change and evolve and improve on another’s work. I saw faculty come together to share their differing experience and expertise. I saw the course’s clients come to realize that this was not just a “student” project, but in fact a real campaign with real potential.
So, what do we celebrate, beyond the passage of 15 years? Celebrating 15 years of Designmatters is to celebrate a vast array of lives that have been touched. Celebrating 15 years of Designmatters is to celebrate 15 years of connections made and horizons expanded. Celebrating 15 years of Designmatters is to celebrate 15 years of optimism underpinned by the very real power that design and the creative arts have to make our world more equitable, more sustainable place, and, indeed, a better place.
Jason Brush is Executive Creative Director and EVP of User Experience at POSSIBLE, where he oversees the Los Angeles studio’s creative team and user experience design for the agency globally. His work has been featured in Communication Arts’ Interactive Annual and has won a Cannes Lions Gold, four Interactive Emmys, the Core 77 design award, and the Industrial Design Society of America’s IDEA. Projects he has lead include Google Art Project, GatesFoundation.org, the user interface for Sony’s PS4, and interaction design for the BMW i3’s dashboard. A regular speaker on interaction design and interactive storytelling, Jason teaches at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He holds an MFA in Film Directing from UCLA.
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