After recently reading this post on a design colleagues Ayana Baltrip blog, DESIGNSPEAKS, I decided this essay was definitely worthy to share, with my design friends too. Steve Mehallo, teaches at American River College and he decided to share his views on the best ways to teach and research Graphic Design History. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts about Mehallo’s essay, on how design history should be taught.
Read about Mehallo’s refreshing methods on, how he teaches Design History. His essay offers you a thorough review on many of the key design history books considered the best by lots of design educators. I’m not going to mention any of the design history books, since you’ll get to read all about them in Mehallo’s essay. Although Mehallo’s does give you his aesthetic reasons on which books are worthy, and which ones need to skipped. In addition, his essay offers a solid rationale why anyone who teaches design history should not solely depend upon one book, but develop their own research methodology to make this subject engaging. Otherwise once you start lecturing and showing slides, you might just get a lot of students sitting in your class with their heads bowed once you turn down the lights. Last fall, I started my second Master’s in the Design Criticism program at School of Visual Arts in NYC. As a design educator, who also loves teaching Design History, I must confess that teaching this topic is an arduous task. However, my design history instructor in the program, Russell Flinchum, taught our class with the rigor of a southern baptist minister on Sunday morning. All to say, none of my classmates dared to bow their heads once the lights were turned down. As for me I left Russell’s class with a more varied knowledge on the history of design, and a lot of new books to add to my already overloaded bookcases at home. (above photograph; by Steve Melhallo student Samantha Costanilla).
Read more about Mehallo on his blog: http://mehallo.com/blog/
So I’ve been teaching my version of ‘a history of graphic design’ for several years now. Just finished up my 9th session.
It’s the most thorough analysis, and one of the best graphic design reference books I own. But as Meggs points out in his introduction, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to discover, find, research and incorporate into one’s own view.
Finally, there is another book that just hit the market – The Story of Graphic Design by Patrick Cramsie. It tackles similar ground, but from another angle. A refreshing find. And from what I could tell so far, it syncs with my own classroom take on ‘The Story’ . . .