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Basic vs Applied Research in Graphic Design
by Michael Kroeger
This article is written in response to the confusion in the design industry between basic and
applied research. The implied value in graphic design is to train our students to perform 'real'
projects as opposed to theoretical exercises. We continue to give our students basic problems
to encourage them to think on their own. It is the charge of industry to supply the next generation
of students (future designers) with the applied research in the field. The commercial designers
are better equiped and funded to supply this end of the students' education.
The chart below is an indication of the aspects of what some of the differences are between basic and applied research. The education community can supply only part of the education needs of todays students. With ever increasing technology needs not being met at the university, the students must rely on internships and job opportunities supplied by the design industry.
|Basic||Applied||Theory: color, form, composition, content||Internship, computer hardware / software||Knowledge||Experience||Learning||Training||Non-linear = not in order||Linear = predictable||Literary = poetic; experimental||Practical = clients; business||Motive = transfer information||Motive = profit||High-risk / low output||Low-risk / high output|
|Recently local commercial designers have spoken to the Graphic Design Student Association and have told the students that they are not interested in theory. Theory defined by Webster's means having a mental view of something. It is an idea or mental plan of a way to design. Without a working philosophy towards design this unfortunately leaves the students without any approach to thinking. Design history, basic research theory, and the opportunity to experiment are essential for students to develop. The pressures of the workplace do not allow this higher development to occur on the job.|
|Timeline :: for Graphic Design History|
A. Beginning of the Industrial Design: Great Britian and Germany|
1820 - Industrial Revolution :: early 19th century; patternmaker = designer
1849 - Journal of Design - by Henry Cole; design should encompass more than applied ornament; knowledge of manufacturing processes and materials.
1851 - Great Exhibition - decorative extravagance of Victorian design - Crystal Palace
1860 - Arts and Crafts Movement - John Ruskin, William Morris, Gustav Stickley, thought machine production degrading to both workers and consumers.
1903 - Wiener Werkstatle - Viennese group; similar to Arts and Crafts Movement.
1901 - Frank Lloyd Wright - 'The Art and Craft of the Machine'; basic principles of modern industrial design; future designers create prototypes for machine production.
1907 - Deutscher Werkbund - Hermann Muthesius...
1910 - AEG (German General Electric); Peter Behrens, denounce Art Nouveau for a spare abstract neoclassicism; products, lighting fixtures, fans, advertising, graphics, and the firm's overall 'corporate image'.
1919 - Bauhaus - Walter Gropius, union of art and industry; other figures: Herbert Bayer, Marcel Breuer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Laszio Moholy-Nagy, and Wilhelm Wagenfeld- [1933 - disbanded by Nazi]
B. Design Profession: USA
C. Postwar Europe
D. Comtemporary American Graphic Design
Theory: (n) - [Gr. theoria, a looking at, contemplation, speculation]|
01. originally, a mental viewing; contemplation.
02. an idea or mental plan of the way to do something.
03. a systematic statement of principles involved; as, the theory of equations in mathematics.
04. a formulation of apparent relationships or underlying principles of cetain observed phenomena which has been verified to some degree: distinguished from hypothesis.
05. that branch of an art or science consisting in a knowledge of its principles and methods rather than in its practice; pure, as opposed to applied, science, etc.
Thesis: (n) - [L. thesis; Gr. thesis. a position, from tithenai, to put, place]
Hypothesis: (n) - [Gr. groundwork, foundation. hypo = under,
tithenai = to place]
Base: (n) - [Gr; basis, a pedestal, step]
Applied: (adj) - used in actual practice or to work out practical problems; as, applied science: distinguished from pure. abstract, theoretical.
Research: (n) - [OFr. recerche; Fr. recherche, diligent search, from re - again, and chercher, to seek]
Design: (v.t.); [OFr. designer; L. designare, to mark out, to define; de - out, from, and signare - to mark, from signum, a mark, a sign]
Linear measure; (a) measurement of length, as distinguished from volume, weight, etc.;
Operations research can be used to describe complex systems such as design. First a model is constructed. A system is simulated. The model describes the structure of the system. Clearly stated objectives are critical.
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