Design, Creativity, and Autonomy

Today in our graphic design class I had the students write an anonymous report evaluating the class (instructional efforts, activities, homework, etc.). One common theme in their reports was that the rubrics were not structured enough, and that the assignments allowed for too much freedom. Although I agree it’s definitely “easier” to work for a grade if I know the expectations – HOWEVER – that’s exactly what I dont’ want in a design class. I’d prefer in the students learned and grew based on their interests and commitment to design. I came across this quote by Alane Starko (a creativity guru) that highlights this point:

If we are interested in enhancing creativity, intrinsic motivation is particularly important. Much of the basic research on this link was done by Dr. Teresa Amabile, currently at the Harvard Business School. While the relationship she identified is a bit complex, the bottom line is this: Intrinsic motivation is important in the development of creativity—and extrinsic motivation can squash it.

Although I will definitely work on creating better assignments with more clear rubrics, I’d also hope that we all (as learners) commit to better learning through intrinsic motivation – and not wait for extrinsic guidance and rewards to ensure our productivity. I know this is a time enduring issue – but maybe it’s something we can fix, if not in the system, then at least in ourselves.

Infographics redux

A former student (one of the best: Rob) sent me a few great links re: infographics. This one links to work such as this. I really enjoy how the data was presenting in a clearly defined method where one can quickly understand what could be a complex issue. Check the site out for more great examples.


Because we’re studying infographics, and because I love Bananas – this was a timely banana focused infographic. Please analyze according to last days’ lecture. Interesting design – but again, breaks our number 1 rule (make it fit without scrolling). Design thanks to LifeHacker.

Package Design Winners

The latest class assignment required students to redesign a package design. Here are 3 of the class winners. Congrats to Corina for the redesign of Bic Pens, McKenzie for the redesign of mouth wash, and Kylie for a new soap line.