An Experimental Design Matrix that Prevents Narrow Minds in Design Education

By Wujun Wang.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Surprising, though it may seem, a great number of design students invest large amounts of time and effort in a single design idea, conceived early in a project, unaware that they have gone down blind alleys. Instructors who encounter this can find it particularly frustrating when they observe that such wrong turns could have been avoided if advice given in class had been taken. What is to be done then? To thrust advice upon students seems a disservice to instructor and students alike. On the other hand, allowing such students to wander unguided and then presenting them with a low grade may discourage them and cause negative attitudes, which could unpleasantly affect the entire classroom.

Are there any solutions that will lead design students to explore creative avenues from multiple perspectives, in a timely fashion? How do we encourage students to develop internal critiques in a way that promotes both risk-taking and flexibility throughout design process?

This paper, supported by a survey that has been taken by design students and some design cases from the Design Department at Central Connecticut State University, will discuss the factors that restrain students’ minds and evaluate a solution that guides design students during the early phases of their projects. The discussion will focus upon following:

1. Young students’ social background
2. Fine art background / influence
3. Human nature psychology
4. Developing and evaluating the design matrix to against “human inertia”


It is my hope that this paper may reveal new means, provide fresh resources, for design instructors to solve problems when they are dealing with the similar situations.

Keywords: Design Education, Design Case Study, Design Psychology

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.249-258. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.281MB).

Prof. Wujun Wang

Assistant Professor, Department of Design (Graphic/Information), Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT, USA

Wujun Wang, assistant professor in Department of Design (graphic and information) at Central Connecticut State University. He originally came from China. In 2000, he received MA degree in fine arts from Eastern Illinois University and MFA in graphic design from Iowa State University in 2005. After gaining experience by shortly working in design industry such as American Greetings Corp., He began to teach graphic design at Central Connecticut State University in Fall 2006. His teaching areas include print based graphic design, typography and multimedia design. His research focuses on cross culture based graphic design, typography as well as interactive design.

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