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Art faculty inspires students to design digital textbooks

Digital Textbook Design
Digital Textbook Design

Christina Singer, assistant professor of graphic design and a Department of Art and Art History faculty member, led her Design Research class to contribute to their sixth digital textbook. This endeavor carried out comprehensive studies on various design periods and philosophies, with remarkable results covering a gamut of topics, a testament to Singer’s innovative teaching and the dedication of her class.

This venture complemented the department’s ethos, fostering a synergy of innovative, collaborative, and publicly engaging design definitions, theories, and methodologies, elucidated in plain speak for the untrained audience to relate to. Singer’s approach to instruction, centered on active engagement and knowledge sharing, has made this course an asset to the local design ecosystem.

Since joining the ranks in 2021, Singer has continued to inspire students to become thought leaders, taking the discourse of art and design to deeper realms. A testament to her and the class’s collective efforts are the six digital textbooks, representing their academic excellence and leaving a lasting impression on the local design chronicle.

The digital textbook showcases a variety of visual artifacts that embody Charlotte, North Carolina’s vibrant culture.

Facilitating digital textbook design in art education

The book serves as a living testament to the city’s rich culture, a treasure trove of historical memories that inspire and educate readers, irrespective of their geographical location.

The students’ innovative design contributions to The People’s Graphic Design Archive (PGDA), set up in 2020, have added unique elements to the collection, accentuating the archive’s global reach. Their critical roles in curating, cataloging, and interpreting various design pieces have earned accolades from global design professionals, thus shining a light on the upcoming generation of design leaders.

Under Singer’s stewardship, almost 200 design artifacts and detailed analyses have been submitted by the students to the PGDA, reinforcing its importance in democratizing design history. Her approach upholds the belief that design history should be knowledge shared by all who appreciate and engage in design activities.

The project improved the students’ capacity for liaison with archivists, artifact analysis, and understanding of their community’s history and cultural dynamics. Some even discovered themes around social activism, reflecting the community’s commitment to justice and social change.

This undertaking also highlighted how design shapes societal norms and values. Influential studies suggested that designers are cultural influencers who can challenge societal norms through their designs.

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