Joyce Medina on the Power of Design

For the past 18 years, Joyce Medina has been talking about design. And presumably people are listening. Each year she teaches approximately 1,200 students in her Art History and History of Industrial Design classes at the College of Design. They are humanities electives that many choose to take.

She notes that years after graduating, students will often email her and say they saw a building she showed in class. They remembered.

Joyce, who teaches in the School of Industrial Design, is modest about her impact on the students. She takes no credit for influencing generations of students, but says “that the course materials are. I can tell that they are thinking differently based on their exposure to the material,” she said in an interview.

She recently talked with the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine about design and its importance.

She defines design as “Art, design, any invented object is a way for humans to communicate about being human. So a painting is an artist saying something about being human. Or, a car design is a car designer coming up with a solution to some human interface problem.”

Asked why she thinks it is important for students to understand the history of design, she said, “The idea of studying the history of design is to collect together as a platform what’s been done in the past and then use that platform to stand on the shoulders of all those designers who came before you to push forward.”

Read the article.

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  • Joyce Medina / Photo by Josh Meister