Got what it takes to be a designer? This was the question being addressed on October 10th and 11th at the Explore Design Education Fair. Held at the Metro Convention Center, downtown Toronto, this design education fair gave students a multi-dimensional insight into the world of design. As a co-op student I felt myself being a member of two audience groups, student and professional, and judging from that, I would label this event no less than fantastic. Scores of students, mostly from High School and some from Universities and Colleges filed in to absorb inspiring key notes, participate in engaging workshops and probe the richly designed academic booths. There were a few amazing things about this event. Firstly, the general set up of the venue as well as the specific booths all displayed true design aesthetic. Each corner of the environment was brimming with pleasing design that gave the attendees a genuinely good feeling about being involved – everything felt in place. Secondly, the quality of the presentations was very high. It seemed like there were some serious brains involved in selecting the speakers. Each speaker was an expert in their own area and remarkable at conveying the right message while relating it perfectly to the young audience. Personally, having done 8 months of college tutoring as part of my co-op career, I understand the difficulties in capturing the interest of a younger audience. During the whole event, I never experienced a moment where people were bored. In addition, we got to know the speakers a bit better through interviews we conducted after their keynotes. The third amazing thing about this event was the flow that the organizers had created – it was truly an ‘exploration’ of design. Participants were able to drift in from Keynote presentations, to individual booths, to interactive workshops in a very natural way. This way, people who were not able attend from morning till evening, were able to get previews of each category and package it together into a whole experience.
One of the biggest questions we find ourselves asking these days is regarding the roadmap to being a successful designer, whether its graphics, fashion or user experience – Explore Design is a pioneer event in sharpening the blurry lines when defining this roadmap to design.
Some notable presentations from each of the three categories and photos from the event can be viewed here:
World House Project
Luigi Ferrara, Institute Without Boundaries, George Brown College
Interaction Design Workshop with Ron Wakkary of SFU
Seneca, School of Fashion and Merchandising