If there's anything that'll defer you from teaching design, it'll be the classroom composition.
As in many creative disciplines, the first few years of a designer's career are an ongoing learning experience—with each new project comes new challenges to overcome. But what happens when those projects slow down? Workflow plateau's and something's gotta change.
Meanwhile, design education is a competitive field with opportunities all over the world. It's tempting to take a break from the design industry and step back into the classroom. This is the point that discussion board member experiMental is getting at in his inquiry into the intricacies of design work. Is it more fiscally responsible to pick up that red pen and enter the world of grading design projects?
The discussion is split many ways. The first standout point is brought to attention by forum moderator, yo (a.k.a. Michael DiTullo):
If you think design education is a better business than design itself, it certainly puts you into an ethical dilemma. Doesn't seem very ethical to charge a bunch of people to educate them to do something they can not make money doing. Of course buyer beware, but I couldn't sleep at night if that is the way I felt and I continued to take these people's money. It would make me feel like a snake oil salesman.
Personally, I see the clarity in his response. But where is the line between moving to education to pass on the knowledge you've gained in the field and using the professor title as a fallback? When does it become a matter of a designer's ability to make money in the industry versus the state of the economy? There are a lot of questions that come to mind. In terms of business models, the two industries couldn't be more different. But then in the midst of all of my internal questions, forum moderator warrenginn chimed in with a point that stuck with me longer than the rest:
I'm currently finishing up my graduate degree and have taken a few business courses that introduce MBAs and engineers to designers and the design process. But I believe there's something critical missing from what the students are being taught and what they're taking away from those classes. Their conclusions shouldn't be, "Wow, that was fun. I think I'll apply Design Thinking to my next project or job." It should be, "Dude, we need to hire a designer."
Wise words. Maybe we should stick to what we're good at and have faith that eventually people will realize where they are and aren't needed. If you're a designer looking to take on teaching, there's a lesson plan for you.
What are your thoughts? Jump in on the conversation here.
Erika is the editorial assistant at Core77. When she isn't covering design, you can find her writing about music, food, and healthy living habits. But mostly music. She also has a strong affinity for hedgehogs, bowling, and bands with goofy names.