Course Spotlight: Design IV: Advanced Design Practice with John Beach

Raw Sugar Hand WashesIn this capstone course, DCA students get a chance to pull everything they’ve learned together to create collaborative design work, very similar to what they will soon experience in the “real world.” Outstanding Instructor award-winner John Beach shares more about it:

What brought you to this field?
In hind sight, after over 25 years in the field, I have discovered there were many things that brought me to the Graphic Design world. Whether it’s problem solving, building a brand for a client, helping someone realize their dreams, or just making something beautiful with image and typography, I get a huge amount of enjoyment doing what I do. I guess it all boils down to passion. Graphic design is a wonderful fusion of story telling and communication with problem solving. Under the best of circumstances, it’s always something new. I never get bored.

bodum_shotTell us about an especially rewarding project you’ve worked on and why you enjoyed it so much.
This sounds a bit cliché, but I try and find reward in all of my projects. A successful project to me is one where I have accomplished something I have never done before. Is it a growing experience? For instance, when Starbucks approached me to design a French Press for Bodum, I had never done anything like that before. The entire process was a learning experience that developed into a great product for both clients (Starbucks and Bodum), and I personally discovered what it takes to source materials, work with metals, and work within strict corporate guidelines, but still create within my own creative process. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I also get a great deal of pleasure discovering ways to make design for the  world around us. When I was starting out, I did a huge amount of nonprofit work. It may not be the best paying sector of the design world, but it is rewarding. Even today, one of my on-going projects is a line of body care products available in Target. The client has built in a feature that gives back to the community. It’s basically called “Buy a Bar, Give a Bar”. For every product they sell from their line, they donate a bar to a family in need. It’s a small gesture, but one that makes you love your job even more.

Why is your course, Design IV: Advanced Design Practice, important for my Design education?
This course is important for a couple of reasons. First of all, we will structure the course to resemble as much as possible a “real world” experience, both as a studio environment, and as you relate to the client. We will work as small groups on problem solving for a real organization in need of “rebranding”. This doesn’t mean just building a new logo, but in fact, looking at an organization (of your choice) and finding a way to build equity in that organization. Does that involve fund raising? Building brand awareness? Probably both, but as we will see, that might just be the tip of the ice burg. Again, problem solving and story telling join together to create a unique experience through the principles of design.

Do you have a sample assignment?Non Profit
Throughout the quarter, each team will be working with the same organization of their choice. Starting with a brand assessment, then building a creative brief and mission statement that describes their goals (as an on-going process), we will look to see how well each team is utilizing their design skills to rebuild the mission of their organization. You will spend the semester assessing and implementing change through real life contact. You will also be building a brand book/style guide for presentation on how to best solve these issues within your organization.

Thanks, John!

Enroll in Design IV: Advanced Design Practice today!

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