The field of graphic design has been undergoing a prolonged identity crises in regards to whom it should serve, and to what ends. While the present dichotomy between private enterprise and the public good creates a conflicting set of needs to be satisfied, it cannot be assumed that such a fundamental contradiction will withstand the rigors of social evolution. A new graduate course offers students an opportunity to challenge the dominant perception that design exists primarily to serve the financial needs of corporations, and to consider historical and contemporary case studies of visual propaganda, activism and dissent. These students eventually make the transition to teaching at the university level themselves. Such a progression from the educated to the educator represents the industry’s best hope for positive change, and the resulting paradigm shift can guide an industry now known as a neutral cultural participant at best toward one of a socially nourishing profession. This paper will focus on issues covered in the MFA course, and explore how topics such as sustainable package design, cradle-to-cradle philosophies, and poster design for democracy and tolerance can change the present course of the graphic design field.
|Keywords:||Social Responsibility, Ethical Considerations, Sustainable Practices, Paradigm Shift in the Graphic Design Industry|
Professor, Graphic Design Department, The Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia, USA
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