Game Plan

So begins my independent studies career, I don’t hold any misconceptions about my creative genius being on par with those at the top of their game, but I do like to aim high and I am obligated to believe that a good education can unfurl the full potential of my latent creative talents, whatever that may be. My goal is to study all summer long, learn as much as I can to be able to fully ingrain the principles and technologies of design, build up my portfolio and re-apply next year to the single, and highly selective design school in my area, find another affordable school of equal prestige (and with similar transfer requirements), or get an internship at an inspiring and innovative design agency on those same merits.

To that end I will spend my time studying towards the research, theory, criticism and philosophy of academic scholarship and the application of the tools and skills necessary to enter into the field. So anyways, here is my plan, I recently ordered a veritable library of art and design related books on Amazon and I will use this blog to post projects that I work through and describe the lessons that I glean from the writings in my own words, much like critical thinking exercises in traditional schools following in due course the employment of my studied comprehension of design in my application essay and obviously, additions and refinements to my portfolio. Several of these books are project-based art and design books, however if I find those to be less than comprehensive I will take non-credit art classes and will stay informed of events through the local AIGA chapter. I also have access to hundreds of software and computer language books through and of course tutorials available all over the internet. As well as college courses through OpenSourceWare and OpenCulture, and video training all of which I will be sifting through. I’ve already found a Digital Typography course from MIT that uses the classic text, “The Elements of Typographic Style” which I recently bought.

I figured 5 “courses” at a time, each day focusing on one for 2-3 hours a day: starting with 2 design theory books, an art project book, a software book, and a computer language book, then later moving to the design project books that I have. The other days will serve as relaxation and inspiration. Though the idea of continuing to supplement your knowledge throughout your career is necessary I will continue at this frenzied pace until I find my way back to an acceptable path. There are people who start freelancing as soon as they’ve learned their way around the software and taken a few courses on design but apart from the rare prodigy, even after rigorous study of the principles and technology of design, I have heard it said that students are still ill-equipped to make serious contributions to the profession until they’ve worked in the real world under the careful eye of an experienced master (Though I suppose there is a market for every class of design). So while I may take on work where I feel confident that my knowledge is adequate for the job (in fact I already have), my goal will be to transition into the field through a well-rounded internship at an innovative design agency.

I’m still in the thick of my last semester (I have a comparative literature paper due this month) and I don’t plan on going full force until I’m finished but until then I will be searching and developing my strategy. Hopefully this blog will help me to receive feedback and advice throughout my independent studies, but at the very least it will serve as a very public journal that I can perceive as a serious charge in order to keep my feet hovering uncomfortably close to the fire.


About Brandon Meyer

I have worked as a web and graphic designer and was originally a design major before deciding to transfer to anthropology with the goal of advancing to Design Anthropology. I am now moving on into my Master's in Design anthropology in the pioneering program at the University of North Texas. Even before discovering the promising field of Design Anthropology, I viewed anthropology as an avenue for design inspiration through a deeper dive into peoples lived experiences within the cultural melting pot. However, my foray into anthropology broadened my perspective and inevitably presented challenges to popular conceptions of representation, innovation, and progress. Design Anthropology is a new field between anthropology and design that has culminated from decades of collaboration in design and HCI, including participatory design, CSCW, ubiquitous computing, UX and user-centred design. Drawing from participatory- speculative- and critical-design, DA reimagines human-centred design by situating and critically engaging design concept and process with everyday life as both a resource for and outcome of design. While traditional ethnographic research continues to play a role, Design Anthropologists conduct speculative fieldwork both of, and within, codesign events as a new line of inquiry into "the possible". Exploring emerging practices, meaning-making, and assemblages as matters of concern in moments of change and innovation as well as the codesign events themselves as collaborative, generative activities. My approach therefore is not as an anthropologist working in the field of design, but to practice Design Anthropology as an emerging field within design. Following the dictum of Design Anthropology that design is not merely a final, prescribed, solution to straightforward problems, but is a temporally and socially embedded arena that inhabits a wide range of perspectives of lived experiences where practices of use are continuously improvised and recontextualized.

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