Yesterday was the last day of Beginning Design class for Joy, myself, and 8 other students. It was our first try doing something like this and my first time teaching at all. It was much more difficult than I thought it would be, but so rewarding! Because my mind is still racing with everything we got to discuss and practice this last semester, I thought I would share a quick overview of the material from each of the six classes. This overview is pretty much a copy and paste from a course description one of the students requested:

For the most part, we spent this last semester defining things like design, truth, and beauty.

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In lesson 1 we laid the foundations of what makes a good design and what makes good designers. First, we explained the need for a biblical worldview in order to have an objective standard of what is good. We then defined design, goodness, truth, and beauty through that worldview. We prepared the students for properly navigating design concepts and introduced them to a system of evaluation for their own design concepts. At the close of class, we introduced Antithesis, Contrast, and Simultaneous Contrast.

The assignment from this lesson required the students to create 50 thumbnail images of different compositions using only triangle and circle shapes.

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In lesson 2 we introduced the students to the Principles of Design: Balance, Order, Rhythm, Unity, Proportion, and Emphasis. We taught and practiced how to analyze designs through a lens called Formalism (“ study of form” ).

The assignment from this lesson required the students to take a representational piece of art and to abstract that piece of art into its basic compositional elements primarily considering contrast and shape.

Lesson 3 was primarily concerned with the Elements of Design: Line, Shape, Value, Color, Space, Texture, and Motion.

The assignment from this lesson required the students to take the abstracted composition from their last assignment and, using the concepting process introduced to them in the first lesson, create a representational design.

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Lesson 4 was entirely focused on a substantial review of the last three lessons and the topic of color. We explained the basics of additive and subtractive color, introduced the students to practical uses of different color schemes, and showed them how to construct a color composition.

The assignment from this lesson required the students to make a color wheel starting only with subtractive primary colors; to tint, tone, and shade all primary, secondary, and tertiary colors, and to create three color comps of representational pieces. so that’s all we were able to cover this lesson. We used all the same images from lesson 2 in lesson 3 to illustrate how pieces translate practically from concept to craft. We shamelessly plugged the work of Cory Godbey and Justin Gerard. We showed the students how well their work illustrates that, “color colors meaning”.

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In lesson 5 we revisited the topic of worldview to introduce how worship and culture effect communication.Namely, that all men have presuppositions which shape their worldview, that because all men have an object of worship all men are religious, and that culture is religion externalized. We gave the students a context for the worldview(s) they would be encountering in the world of art outside of the classroom experience as well as how to understand those worldviews and how to combat the dangerous ones. We introduced a basic system of evaluation for the students to use when analyzing different forms of communication which we call the “ 3 C’s of Design” which are Concept, Craft, and Context. Equipped with these critical thinking tools, we introduced the students to a brief history of art periods and art philosophies, focusing mainly on the history and philosophies which are directly affecting Western cultures today: Hegelianism, Marxism, The Bauhaus, The Frankfurt School, and Communism.

The assignment from this lesson required the students to create an artist statement which established what they believe, what they want to communicate, and how they will communicate.

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In lesson 6, the final lesson, we spent most of the period on the topic of composition. We narrowed the broad topic of composition into 3 basic ideas: structure, focal point, and anomaly. We showed the application of these ideas through Hollywood film clips, which illustrated the effectiveness of excellent craft to communicate a clear story or idea. We reviewed the work of modern cinematographers to illustrate foreshadowing and parallelism, approached how color in composition can effect mood, and reviewed the strength of contrast in lighting compositions to illustrate the power of intentionality in communication. For the last portion of the lesson, the entire class participated in a semester review of every lesson. This review focused on the key points that the students ought to remember from each lesson.

This class primarily focused on designing and communicating with a biblical worldview, the design principles and elements, developing artistic potential, and the general studying and applying of the basic rules of visual design created by our designer God.

Overall, the class was a wonderful experience. I think I can know fully understand why teachers say that teaching is the highest level of learning. I am more sensitive to each of these concepts from class than I ever was before teaching the class and I am sure ever more so than the students have become even after 6 lessons. We’re not sure if we will be offering this class again in the fall semester or not, nevertheless, it was an invaluable experience. Who knows, it might even come in handy for writing a curriculum some day! Thank you to everyone for your support, it is so meaningful to us. We are truly grateful for your intentional examples to us.