Target has solidified it’s position as a fashion leader with a two page spread in Vogue!
Design MUST always consider the message! Especially when a message must be designed within limited spaces. What is the message…say thanks and we’ll donate tomato ketchup? Good visual communication should always contemplate potential problems during the design process. Perhaps the purpose is to direct viewers to the back of the label for the “real message.” Designer beware: if the viewer deems the front label as confusing or irrelevant the back label may be ignored thus missing the message!
While looking through my local suburban newspaper a few weeks ago an advertisement caught my attention. The headline read:”Help Ridge High School”. The following blurb was informing readers that this high school is in need of sponsors for their fine arts program. Seriously?! I realize art programs in the K-12 curriculum have steadily been on the decline. However I didn’t realize the level of desperation to keep art programs afloat in the K-12 curriculum. As an artist, designer, and design professor, my immediate question while reading this was how did we get here?! The answer: the No child Left Behind initiative (NCLB). NCLB has birthed a curriculum with a heavy emphasis on standardized test scores. Visit Parenting.com/nclb for insight on NCLB.
Art = Smart. Research has shown children participating in a minimum of 3 hours of artistic activity a week improves creative and analytical skills; increases attention, memory and speaking skills; and improves standardized test scores. Richard Kessler, Executive Director for the Center for Arts Education New York City states “In fact, plenty of research shows that children who spend time in school doing visual art, performing music or dance, or even acting in a play gain a whole set of creative and analytical skills that are quickly disappearing from the rest of the curriculum.” With many K-12 curriculums across the nation operating under the NCLB initiative how is it possible that our children are behind? Reports show 9 countries consistently outperform the United states in reading and math. Of the 9 countries Hong Kong, Japan, Canada, and Finland require a curriculum with extensive education in the arts without diminishing other curriculum. It seems obvious art education is paramount for competing globally. It puzzles me why art education is being ignored or poorly funded.
Art is a Lifesaver. In addition to improving creative, analytical, attention, memory and speaking skills art education can save a life. I started my teaching career with teaching studio courses at my hometown art museum. During my third teaching term I encountered a very quiet, troubled yet talented student. He proved to be my biggest challenge every week. This student successfully completed the term. A few years later I received my class roster and noticed this same student enrolled. I began to prepare myself for the challenge. The first day of class this student was pleasant, engaged, respectful and talented. I started to think I had confused this student with the one from my past class. After 2-3 weeks of the class I privately asked this student if he was the same student I had a few years ago. He replied yes. I immediately asked what brought about his transformation. He shared with me that during our first encounter he was involved with individuals known for gang activity and it was coming to art class that allowed him to see options in life. He made his decision to change his current direction through attending art class. It was at this very moment I truly understood the power of art education and the personal development it brings.
STEM to STEAM. Education leaders are renewing their commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM subjects). The President reiterates “a world-class STEM workforce is essential to virtually every goal we have as a nation–economic prosperity, international competitiveness, a strong national defense, a clean energy future, and longer healthier lives for all Americans.” However STEM isn’t enough to cultivate critical thinkers and problem solvers. Art and Science MUST reunite. There is an initiative to move STEM to STEAM by adding Art (www.stemtosteam.org).
Full STEAM Ahead. If the creed remains “no child left behind” then our work MUST begin to ensure funded art education in every K-12 curriculum. Our children, their future, and our nation can not be saved without it.
Branding is about the relationship between a brand or product and its user. I LOVE brands that “get” and cultivate the relationship. A few of my favorite “get it” brands: IKEA, Apple, Simple Human, Timbuk2, BMW, Target, Method, and Dyson.