Letter from the Chair
Just a few words of greeting and a warm welcome to Pratt ID!
The future of industrial design, now more deeply multidisciplinary than ever, is a vast and challenging landscape over which the field has surely taken flight. What’s more, the potential energy exists to soar higher and farther, not only owing to the pace of science and technology, but also because of ID's relation to business and industry, to the environment and to a very diverse group of people that globalization has connected us to. There are millions of people all over the world waiting for the enlightened and entrepreneurial participation of designers, waiting to hear the insights that come from our years of work and study – not only consumer products sold in familiar markets and not only a hungry organism addicted to superficial "innovation", but real interventions that can touch the lives of all citizens of the world. This is the real essence of "experience design", which is not just about friendly user interfaces and the anonymous voices of market testing, but rather about teaching people, via the language of design, what's possible in life.
No matter how you parse design, it’s about human beings, individually and collectively, supplying propulsion and lift to idealistic, aesthetic and practical ideas… not to mention the palpable exuberance of creating, understanding and sharing the work we do. Design education must surely be about this transfer of energy. And while techniques of representation, methods of industrial production and trends come and go, the true constant in this story is the personal character of the designer. As a consequence, the responsibility of any good school – and what will continue to set Pratt above and apart from others – is its humanity, and the environment in which creative thinking and experimentation happily coexist with diligence, competence and drive, and in which high standards and openness push both students and teachers beyond what they once thought possible. In the end, I think this is what makes a school great.
Design is how we have chosen to live our lives, with senses tuned in to the full range of possibilities for expressing ourselves through objects and processes. As such, our role as educators and professionals is to keep this design machine aloft, beautifully and intelligently, and to listen, contribute and react. And if you believe that young designers in school need to take creative risks, then their mentors must also take these risks, and together learn to fly…
Steve Diskin, PhD