A professor at Ferris State’s Kendall College of Art and Design, Dow specializes in teaching graphic design in advertising. During her tenure at KCAD, Dow helped develop the annual New York seminar for graphic design students as well as the college’s new digital media program.
How has the teaching of design changed since you got into the industry?
There used to be a core set of design skills and techniques [students] need, but now they have to understand business and they have to understand the digital side of it. When I was in school it was only print and TV and radio, and now there’s this digital landscape that they have to really fully understand and create that interaction part that they didn’t have to before. All of the classes I teach I have had to change to work that in. When I’m teaching advertising, I don’t just teach them print advertising. I have to put the digital side in there.
How is the industry driving those changes?
I think that traditional advertising doesn’t get as much attention now as it used to because now they want the more quick, digital stuff. I know that method of communication is still really important, but it’s just the media that’s really changed. Publication design has really changed because a lot of things are digital now and print isn’t as prevalent as it used to be. Your basic design skills are really still the same, it’s just the media that’s changed.
How will the increasingly large number of sub-disciplines in design affect the industry?
I think businesses right now want someone who can do everything, just because of the economy being what it is. They would rather hire someone who has multiple skills than hire a specialist. Big clients – instead of hiring these big agencies that do everything – are picking these little, boutique agencies just to do their digital.
A lot of the talk today in the design community has to do with human centered design. Do you see something on the horizon that will replace it?
That’s a tough one. It’s interesting because technology is so human-centered, and yet it creates this physical disconnect. It seems to me that whatever is next has something to do with that. It will be human-centered in a way because everything we create has to meet the needs of people. It seems something will come up to connect people again somehow.