Student Teacher

Way Before the Class

The Facts of Life , Diff’rent Strokes , Growing Pains , Brady Bunch , Happy Days . The amount of hours watching sitcom reruns on Nick at Nite in my 90s childhood left me constantly imagining a life in a previous decade. I became obsessed with it – the clothes, the typography, the music. Many years passed and I realized there’s no way to go backwards and no point in doing so. I forced myself to focus on the present. My eyes opened. I realized the past was all around me – the clothes, the typography, the music. During my senior year at university, I explored this phenomenon and urged designers to push towards a new style. Pointing out the problem was not successful as a project, however the sentiment anchored itself as a permanent research interest.

Before the Class

Part-time faculty members are invited to submit class proposals. I saw the e-mail and ruminated over class ideas. I decided it would be the ideal opportunity to pick up the sentiment of my thesis project once again, only now with a cohort of students to throw ideas around. Initially, I proposed the class as a semester long experience where we could collaborate together on the design of the website. Instead, it was suggested to convert it to a class with 3 workshops led by three different professors. I was paired with the very talented John Provencher and Lukas Eiger-Harding. Serendipitously, our classes all dealt with digital culture, however the executions are quite different. I wish I could return to school to attend their workshops.

Once I received these exciting news, I got to work in tweaking my syllabus and began designing the site. I created a system of type and modules for the students to use and began an channel where I invited the students to help me consolidate 2010s round ups. Those tend to be plentfiul at the end of the year.

During the Class

The semester started in late January. I was thrilled to see a few familiar faces (students from previous classes) in the classroom. Our classroom was the most beautiful I’ve seen. Usually, classrooms are smaller and have technical issues. This one was fitted with three monitors and an inviting wooden interior.

Each class was divided into different parts of the design process. We started with a group brainstorming session and combined research activity. Then we began to look at examples of online and printed editorial experiences. We reviewd the channel. Helpful to observe, we opted for a more narrative inspired approach to our publication.

We discussed design systems. Due to the short time span of the class, I provided a design library for the website. Students were asked to create content with my type system and grid. I provided several module options and invited them to propose new solutions. Providing a system forced the students to focus on content creation and storytelling rather than the overall container. Additionally, it inspired creativity while working within restraints – fantastic skills for graphic designers!

Some of the module proposals were accepted, here is one proposed by Scarlet Li

The next few weeks were process and critique oriented. The experience was incredibly iterative and as a group, we encouraged each other to experiment and communicate with intentionality.

If you’re interested in seeing more of our week to week activities, here is our daily agenda

After the Class

I’m writing this on 11:31 pm the night before the final critique.

I’m noticing the students are working as well:

The line between educator and student is blurry. I’m hoping this publication remains a reminder to that sentiment for many decades to come.