Paul Young's notes from the 2006 AIGA Design Frontier Conference

On December 2–3, 2006, I was fortunate enough to attend the first
AIGA education conference focused on the issues facing graphic design
educators in small programs and non-urban regions.


This AIGA education conference was held at Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, a small private college in the western suburbs of Denver, Colorado
The intimate campus of Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design was the perfect setting for a conference focusing on smaller programs
The college hosted the conference in its auditorium and studio spaces, AIGA Colorado also hosted a reception on Saturday night
About 150 design educators from over 30 states and 4 foreign countries attended


Conference attendees were able to choose from a menu of keynote speakers, concurrent break-out sessions and panel discussions
A wide range of topics were presented by educators from well-known schools like Rochester Institute of Technology to a virtually hidden program in a private high school

Sessions attended:

Session 1.2: Providing student feedback

  • Design student evaluation: from grade statements to interactive evaluation
    Peter Martin, Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar
  • Why small is big in critique
    Stacy Schoen, Harding University
  • On trial: teaching without talking, critiquing using silence
    Kirsten Hardie, The Arts Institute at Bournemouth

Session 2.3: Internet and beyond

  • Inspiration: anywhere
    Bill Klingensmith, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Using online forums to build a student design community in a small new program
    Denny Fagan, University of the Incarnate Word
  • Project Telling stories: type in motion
    David Cabianca, York University

Session 3.1: Internet and beyond

  • Designing graphic design online
    Kristin Rivedal, Front Range Community College
  • Hybrid learning: uniting online and analog methodologies
    Liz DeLuna, St. John's University
    Aaris Sherin, St. John's University
  • From voices to vision
    Tiffany Roman, Bishop Dunne Catholic School

Panel session: Transcending borders: cross-disciplinary and other collaborations

  • Frank Armstrong, California State University, Chico
  • Glenda Drew, University of California, Davis
  • Deborah Schmerler, The University of Tennessee
  • Barbara Sudick, California State University, Chico



  • have students sign a typography pledge
  • teach design management (business of design)
  • incorporate philosophy: designer as a professional learner
  • incorporate self-evaluation
  • put ken garland's "first things first" manifesto on trial
  • coordinate a discipline specialist librarian
  • purchase design & applied arts index

    (online tips)
  • program wide discussion forums (hallway, easel, lab, off the porch)
  • whiteboard in chats
  • online preliminary crits
  • make use of podcasts
  • force students to write posts in standard English
  • design curriculum with online feedback from students

    (project ideas)
  • design using no technology (and no electrical byproducts?)
  • design way finding signs
  • group assignment: connecting timeline
  • illustrate in the south park style
  • design money as a cultural artifact
  • typographic slam

  • booksurge publishing
  • flickschool podcasts
  • iTunes U server software
  • captivate

    (add to budget)
  • student entry fees to national competitions
  • tablet to write notes for online crits
  • video ipod
  • rent our own web server space