Bruce Mau Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design

Hunter Tura, President & CEO & Amanda Happé, Associate Creative Director will teach "Edit to Amplify," a week-long course during Harvard's J-Term (January 12-16th, 2015). Students from the Graduate School of Design will engage in four distinct but interrelated exercises intended to foster "editorial" sensibilities.  



Designers in the 20th Century tried a range of models to describe their role within creative practice and society at large. While there were several models in play (Director, Producer, Artist, etc.) by the end of the century, most designers began to think of themselves as "Authors"—quite literally the creators of new and original content.


While this model has produced some notable highlights—and indeed, the mode in which most designers are still taught today—as a mindset it is no longer sustainable in the 21st Century & does not reflect the demands put upon designers in contemporary creative practices. Given the overwhelming social, environmental, and communications challenges we face in a global context, it is perhaps no longer responsible for a designer to think of oneself in such a singular way.


The interconnected nature of the work that we do as designers and its impact on society has become clearer. It's now possible positively transform organizations and systems using the tools and techniques of design.


To do this however, designers must begin to think about their role in a different way. Instead of heroic auteurs, can we instead think of ourselves as editors—working with existing materials and synthesizing them to create new hybrid realities? In the 21st Century, it is our responsibility to think "editorially," to produce work that is of a higher quality, is more efficient to produce and is has a higher degree of sustainability.


This course is intended to help architects and designers change their mindset. While you will be "creating," you will also be working with materials that have been authored by someone else. How can you edit existing content—in this case, largely imagery—to create compelling and differentiated narratives as well as output that has lasting impact?