Meeting with Brian Crain at the Herron School of Art and Design brought a new emphasis to the value of collaboration. Through explaining his experience from the graduate program, the entire group started to see how their focus is inward while in school but in the field its outward. The educational system that is predominately in place in the US, combined with a generation of people who are disengaged, does foster what I call island designers. They are really good at serving their own needs but the industry suffers by so many islands.
Brian proposed as many minds with a common goal would produce better quality solutions. The reaction from the group came from the challenges we experienced by putting this tour together. Spending the entire summer pushing hard to make this WeNeedMore Tour happen, we encountered five hour conversations that felt four hours too long. Accepting that there is no one way that works for all, Brian was convincing to the point that having one individual with all the power will not produced quality, consistently, though it may be more efficient.
Opening ourselves up to yet another requirement of the graphic designer role felt daunting but necessary. The need for the role to evolve into the conscious doers of now is imperative. The power that a designer can yield is impressive but the power of a group that can work together is unmeasurable. After three cities, hundreds of conversations and knowledge being gained by the minute, we are proof that collaboration is an incredibly powerful tool in design and in life.
I intend on pushing this idea into my own classrooms. There is still some hesitation though because collaborative projects in school are incredibly challenging for educators to manage. I suppose it is my job to move the islands to create a mountain.