It has been an incredible week in Las Vegas at the AIGA Design Conference: the Shape of Design. There were provocative sessions, discipline-driven symposia, and inspiring speakers.

The 2016 Conference brought together a diverse group of designers, artists, writers, strategists, inventors and other creative thinkers to explore and explain the role adaptation plays in shaping designers’ creative practice, culture, and selves.

“Adaptation is change with purpose. Writers wrestle with it. Artists embrace it. Designers craft it. Survival depends on it. In a time of unprecedented technological advancement, how we change (and what we change) has ever broader implications and meaning. Whether translating ideas from one medium to another, morphing old infrastructures into new platforms, or reinventing entire careers, adaptation is the choice between what becomes the future and what remains the past.”

The AIGA Design Educators Committee (DEC) facilitated a design education program during the Conference “by educators, for educators” with sessions comprised of PechaKucha presentations and hour-long workshops. The lineup included:

J. Brian Crain, Pamela Napier + Terri Wada
Indiana University, Herron School of Art + Design
People-Centered Design Research: Tools for Innovating Design Education Curriculum

Annabelle Gould
University of Washington
Exploring Form as Part of the Design Process

Hannah Park
Texas State University
Social vs. Market Value of Design: Exceptional Economy of Design Industry

Kenneth Fitzgerald
Old Dominion University
Music for Metaphors

Basma Handy + Denielle Emans
VCU, Qatar
Design Competencies in Collaboration (with workshop)

Gloria Kondrup
Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography
Piracy is Not a Victimless Crime: Teaching Ethics and the Business of Typography

Yvonne Cao
Texas Christian University
Visual Language

Patricia Murphey
Northern Arizona University
Exploring Empathy Within a Design Learning Environment

Rachel Troye
Oslo School of Architecture and Design
Matters of Services and Systems

Matthew Wizinsky
University of Cincinnati, School of Design
Speculative City: An Interdisciplinary Design Studio (with workshop)

Basma Hamdy and I were honored to be one of the ten PechaKucha speakers and one of two workshops proposals selected to present as part of this portion of the conference. Our presentation introduced the audience to our Design Powers System, a method developed as part of our collaborative undergraduate graphic design classroom at VCUarts (in Qatar). Building on the idea of the integrated whole and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the aim is to help design educators guide team-building activities through complementary skill-assessment, known as design powers.

The workshop further provided testing materials to assist attendees in learning how to facilitate a collaborative, fun and productive learning environment in and outside classroom walls. Thank you goes to all the attending participants, the DEC steering community, and AIGA National – we hope you found the workshop informative and worthwhile!