Why study design?

Source: Suné Stassen, Creative Director: Rock City Foundation

You don’t have to want to become a designer to study design. Maybe you’re thinking about becoming an engineer, an architect, a teacher, a musician, a writer, an economist…

Studying Design as a subject at high school provides you with life-long skills irrespective of whether or not you embark on a career in Design. Design education is relevant to those interested in diverse fields, including Engineering, Manufacturing, Internet and Communication Technologies, Architecture, Industrial Design, Town-Planning, Advertising, Brand Development, Marketing, Business Development and Entrepreneurship, Fashion, Textiles, Visual Merchandising, Interior Design, Theatre, TV Production, Film, Publishing, Animation and Multi-media, service design and interaction design.

Choosing design as a subject can teach you very valuable skills that will prepare you for the world and a wide variety of careers in the future. In other words, design can help to develop skills that can help you to navigate a very complex world.

Many popular professions of today were completely unheard of 10 years ago. Just imagine what the career landscape would look like in 10 years time. We believe that there are going to be many more professions that we cannot even imagine today. Within the context of such an uncertain future it is vital that the new generation is equipped with skills that can empower them to manage complex and unfamiliar situations / conditions with more ease and confidence. We believe that design and creative activities can be the vehicle to develop such skills that can help the future generation to manage an uncertain future.

Here are 7 great reasons to study design:

Design education provides a unique insight into the way the world works

Design is part of every aspect of our lives. Everything we use initially started as a design. From the way we connect to people to the way we listen to music; from the way our cities are designed and built to how a specific medical tool is designed to save lives. Even the layout of our suburbs and communities and how a public service like transport has been designed to function and service the public all started with a basic idea/concept and design.

Design as a subject will help you to develop an understanding of the massive impact of Design on our lives and the world around us

It does have the power to improve the life standards of people. Think about it. When something does not work as well as it should, it simply means that we are experiencing and interacting with a really bad design – and most of the time it is because designers were not consulted in the first place. The fact that we have so much waste going into landfills simply points at unsustainable products that were never well designed in the first place.

Design complements and enhances many other subjects

The study of design isn’t limited to a creative few. In fact, studying Design as a high school subject enhances the learning abilities of students interested in the Sciences, Technology, Languages, Mathematics and Business studies and teaches them an analytical and holistic approach to all projects at hand.

Design education can strengthen and widen perceptions, observations, critical thinking, problem-solving and people skills.

It includes investigations, explorations, evaluations, inventions and the ability to understand, develop and visually communicate systems, processes and environments. A good grounding in Design provides valuable insights into ergonomics, marketing, business and entrepreneurship.

Design education helps to meet the world’s demand for innovation. In every aspect of government, industry, business and non-profit work, there is an ever-increasing demand for creative thinking and ingenuity. An education in Design is like exercising your creative muscles and developing your unique potential. Design students learn and practice both conceptual and critical thinking and develop their natural creativity – capacities that are highly valued in the 21st Century world.

Design education promotes visual literacy

We live in a world with literally millions of signs, symbols, emblems and pictures that guide and inform us. From road signs to the icons on our desktops and the buttons on every piece of technology we use. We are lost or at a disadvantage without the ability to accurately interpret all the signs and symbols we see and use everyday. Design education builds visual literacy and expands perceptions, enhancing our abilities to function and interact optimally in society and in the economy

Design education can help to develop a new generation of thinkers and doers with skills that can contribute to designing a better world

The world is in a crisis of unsustainability. Global warming. Climate change. Every day we hear more about the crisis the world is facing and the vital need for us to change the way we live. The young people of today are the workers, leaders and decision-makers of tomorrow.

Design education provides the skills for us to re-imagine the world and restore the planet, to find solutions to pressing human needs and problems such as poverty and exclusion, stereotyping and healthcare.

This will empower the leaders of the future to be better equipped and develop suitable global economic, social and political models, that we create a better and more sustainable future for all.

Design education teaches you a mindset and attitude towards life itself that will empower you to reach new heights, make valuable contributions and bring about the necessary change

DEFSA conferences

DEFSA promotes relevant research with the focus on design + education through its biennial conferences, to promote professionalism, accountability and ethics in the education of young designers. Our next conference is a hybrid event. See above for details.

Critical skills endorsement

Professional Members in good standing can receive a certificate of membership, but DEFSA cannot provide confirmation or endorsement of skills whatsoever. DEFSA only confirm membership of DEFSA which is a NPO for Design Education in South Africa (https://www.defsa.org.za/imagine).