“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.” - Steve Jobs

Adobe MAX Thoughts – Day 2

I would say, today was day of the developer on so many levels for me. The keynote today was all about developers so much so that Fireworks (my favorite design tool for UI Design) got 30seconds of mention because now you can do something neato for jQuery.

I did see a nice UX 101 talk by @davepogue and was in a panel on the touch apps that Adobe launched yesterday, but for some reason, ending with a short talk on Adobe’s new tool called Edge has just filled my entire brain up.

So what was so compelling?

Not the application in and of itself, but more what the application represents. Edge is Flash for HTML5 (if I was to be generous). I can animate and I can create interactivity. I can even create databound objects and all of it requires that you know a bunch of about HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery to use. So while like Flash this is a tool for designers to create rich engaging content, it is NOT for designers, or is it?

I do not want to open up the whole conversation about knowing code vs. not knowing code to be a designer but I guess I have to. The tools are forcing the issues. The really good tools that actually produce something you can make use of in a cohesive pattern.

What I did see today though points to a trend where even those tools that are completely geared toward designers to be effective at prototyping do require some understanding of code, or relinquishing control of your design to those that do.

It got me thinking about my students and I posted the following tweets (read bottom one first):

To dig a little deeper into these two tweets first let me explain how I’m using foundations. In this case I’m referring to how students learn the core craft skills that all artists and designers should share in ability. So let me unpack the 3 that I’m looking at. Since I teach in a quarter system where students go through 3 quarters during the course of a ear (9 classes total), this is how I’m thinking of it:

Track 1: Visual Craft

These classes are deadicated to teaching students the core aspects of 2D, 3D and 4D design and these are the 3 classes that need to cover the following core concepts:

  • composition
  • layout
  • type
  • color
  • form study
  • narrative
  • character
  • sound

Track 2: Technology & Media

These classes need to teach minimal information theory, programming and media theory.

Track 3: Creativity & Criticism

These classes will teach students artistic creativity processes that include visual thinking through drawing & other expressive visualization tools, idea evaluation techniques, and art & design appreciation.

The big change through these 3 tracks is the technolog and media areas. I believe that technology, media and information permeate way too much of the design scape to not be required. I also feel that creativity needs to be more tangibly taught instead of allowing just the studio itself teach it. Lastly, not everything can be a studio. There are topics that require knowledge and need to processed through reflective discourse through writing and conversation and not just through experimentation and exploration.

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