Presenting research on social design assessment strategies for graphic design programs at the 2015 AIGA Design Educators Conference in Toronto

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Research

About a year ago, I conducted a collaborative project across Advertising Design and Sustainable Design at MCA called Fight [Gun] Violence with my colleague, Hannah Park. This project was a PSA guerrilla campaign to raise awareness of the issue of youth gun violence in Memphis communities.

We believe that although it is easy to advocate social design practices in graphic design curriculum, it is much more challenging to assess these practices within the context of social impact. While the posters from the Fight [Gun] Violence project were composed successfully within the framework of traditional graphic design outcomes, the project failed to meet the goals within the framework of social design.

Through the critique of failure, we propose SDAT as a new sustainable, rotating evaluation method that can be used in all traditional graphic design courses for evaluating socially-conscious design as a deliverable.

We believe that despite the increment of socially conscious design projects in higher education, the availability of proper assessment tools to measure its qualitative success is lacking. Without a thorough evaluation process, it is extremely challenging for design educators to teach the core values of social consciousness to their students. Many socially conscious design projects often focus more on the initial research process and final design artifact than the evaluation of social impact or effectiveness of the final work.

This research will be presented at the upcoming Spaces of Learning, Design Educators Conference at York University in Toronto this April 16-18.

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