About the Book
This book is a tool for expanded self-education through process-based assignments. It was created as a homage to John Baldessari’s Class Assignments, (Optional) and influenced by Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies, as well as the teachings of Sister Corita Kent and John Cage. It was designed as a book to facilitate the random selection of assignments and printed through Blurb with the intent of creating an accessible tool for creativity that could live in a home, on a desk, or bookshelf.
In January of 2012, California College of the Arts exhibited a show featuring the work of its students in the Graduate Program in Fine Arts. Titled John Baldessari: Class Assignments, (Optional), the students created works based on the ’70s CalArts syllabus of the same name. I’d heard of the list but never saw any physical record of its projects until that exhibit. I thought something similar would be interesting for designers and began researching and writing various prompts that I felt could address underserved issues in a contemporary design education. The most important aspect of each assignment in the book is the designer’s path of creation. The result of each assignment is only a point on a longer continuum of education, taken on by the designer.
The pedagogical state of design is in flux. The rapid acceleration of technology and the pace of business pursuits leave little room for a traditional design education to grow, letalone one that embraces exploration. With the increase in online courses and tools-based seminars addressing design, it’s vital that designers (or those interested in pursuing design) challenge their abilities outside of today’s typical constraints. How else will designers find something new if they don’t go beyond what is asked?