Design Ideas And The Creative Process – Is It In Danger

As a graphic designer I have worked for a number of design companies as well as teaching and lecturing in third level colleges. I have done this full time and part time over the years. Once I left teaching and returned to full time design work I decided to keep a hand in the teaching arena and became an external examiner for one of the qualification awarding bodies here in Ireland.

I have been doing this now for over 10 years and I have been to many colleges in and around Ireland. I really enjoy doing this and I have looked at a whole range of subjects relating to design.  The one thing though that has struck me over the years but particularly in recent years is the virtual copying of what is happening in the media, on television, on the internet and what is being seen on video games. There is a pattern here of copying and emulating what others are doing and not generating new and different ideas or concepts.

I mean I have been to several colleges and the content is the same, violent video game design, TV and video production that is about violent rape, suicide, war, depression, homelessness and general misery. There seems to be a mental shift in what students are creating and it all seems to be leaning toward an American violent genre of film and video making. It's all coming out on the internet as well. I have wondered why they are not experimenting with new ideas and techniques and perhaps return to basics and away from technology.

Some of the European films and videos that have come out recently are excellent and really examine life, living, relationships, work, money and problems and things that are real in most of our lives. I feel that there is a duty on the part of the educators in this area to try and make students venture further and away from the easy copy copy and copy again genre of violence, explosions, and mock violent video games portraying rape, war, death, suicide, drinking and drug taking. I don't mean stop this completely, I mean that almost every student is doing this type of work and all of the projects that I have see, examine and mark are all the same in terms of ideas, creativity and content, it's like they are all clones of each other, producing the same stuff just because it's fashionable and cool to do so in the English speaking western world.