Napier Creative Industries: Designer or Artist?

<strong>Ian Lambert</strong>, Director of Art & Design at Edinburgh Napier University, makes a case for the importance of a multi-disciplinary design education

Feature by Tommy Wallace | 04 Mar 2010
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We are not always conscious of the extent to which our world has been designed, or of the role that those who design it play. Design surrounds us; it is present in the layout of The Skinny, in the clothes that you wear; it is there in the iPod in your pocket, and in the TV shows that you watch.

But what is a designer? A designer is a polymath, of the kind typified by Leonardo Da Vinci. Famously, Leonardo was an artist, scientist, engineer, anatomist and inventor, amongst other things. By necessity, today’s designers must be able to visualise like artists, use the technology of scientists, specify materials like engineers, apply human factors using the skills of anatomists and innovate like inventors, amongst other things.

So, what of a design education? It may be difficult to define a designer, but what we can determine is that to fulfil a rounded design education our students need to collaborate with technologists, engineers, entrepreneurs and a range of other experts. We can exploit this at Edinburgh Napier University and, with our excellent industry partners, enable our students to interact with interdisciplinary creative teams. The design graduates presented at our degree show (12th to 23rd May) will be prepared for the increasingly multi-disciplinary work place.