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Design History

Design and the Play Instinct

On 12, Dec 2020 | In Design History, Print, Typography, Visual Comm. Design III | By Matthew

In “The Play Instinct in Design Education,” authors Hester and Hannaford identify several misconceptions students have about the creative process: namely, that graphic design is not an intellectual pursuit, software will fix all their problems, and creative outcomes can be “correct.”

A timeless undergraduate project asks students to create using “Design and the Play Instinct” by Paul Rand. The internet is replete with examples of students mindlessly laying out page after page with almost no consideration or understanding of how Rand talks about play and restraint nor the processes discussed in this classic text.

To combat these misconceptions, I ask students in my class to physically make some of the processes discussed in the text. For example, my students first played with Photogram and Cubist Collage processes before laying it out in book form. As Hester and Hannaford say, “the psychology of play is conducive to learning and problem-solving.”

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