Graphic Design Education: A New Perspective to Include Neurodiversity in Design
Stan, Terri L.
University of Wisconsin--Stout
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Graphic design education is more than a study of technique and technology, more than form. It is a pursuit of fluency with ever-changing social and cultural values within our society (Bennett, 2006). Practical theories (e.g., color, balance, and symbolism) were taught as far back as the Bauhaus Basic Course and are still taught in graphic design education courses today. The innovation and theoretical terms like neurodiversity design principles are relatively unknown to most design educators. As stated by Steven Heller, “To be honest, I have never thought of the term neurodiversity. I know that diversity is the current social buzz, and rightfully. Similarly, thinking and all the ways diversity plays is important” (S. Heller, personal communication, November 7, 2021). Neurodiversity is a term that defines conditions (e.g., dyslexia, autism, and attentiondeficit/hyperactivity disorder [ADHD]) and learning disabilities relating to cognitive functions in humans. This project will propose a new perspective for graphic design educators to consider in the development of neurodiversity design principles embedded into course projects. The project will focus on adding specific language to the principles of balance, hierarchy, gestalt principles, color, typography, and patterns to generate awareness, and propose creative ways to guide students to formulate strategic graphic design project outcomes for a neurodiverse audience.