Picture 30I had the pleasure of spending some time last week with Tom Fisher, Dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota. We had a wide ranging conversation touching on many aspects of design. Graphic design is one of the seven programs within the College which also includes the highly regarded architecture program. While Tom’s background is in architecture, he displays a fluid knowledge of the full design spectrum and how they relate to each other, “I see a lot of blurry edges in the design world,” he said, referring to the overlap between the design disciplines. “With that said, it’s vitally important for a young designer to establish an area of focus and expertise before they begin to branch out.”

One area I was particularly pleased to hear Tom address is the amount of collaboration between the College of Design and other academic areas, like the medical school and the humanities. “The leaders of these programs are seeing design as integral to preparing a student to go out into the world. What’s really exciting is that they are the ones initiating the dialogue.” He spoke at length about the possibilities for cross-programming with the Carlson School of Management, another U of M program with a national profile. “Alison Davis-Blake, the dean of the Carlson School, and I have had some very exciting conversations about bringing design into that program. She really sees design as a way to distinguish the Carlson School nationally and I think we’ll be able to play a key role in helping her fulfill that vision.”

Kern2AiPhone Games for Designers
In a follow up to last week’s post about iPhone app development, I noticed a link on the @Issue blog (which is beginning to come together after a slow start) for iPhone Games for Designers which sent me to the site for FORMation Alliance. They’ve got a few cool game concepts with a graphic design theme, like KERN, a mindless but fun game for type geeks which I had previously downloaded on my iPhone. Frankly their site is written in such indecipherable design-speak that I couldn’t get a very good grasp of what FORMation is all about, but it’s worth a look nonetheless.