From student to professional, the sheer nature (hard work, attention to detail, and paralyzing fear) of being a graphic designer puts one’s mental health at risk (Gosling, 2017). In separate conversations, digital media in regards to its effect on the brain is a well-known theme within design issues. However, this is a unique and fairly recent addition to studies on mental health issues. Studies have no problem identifying the relationship between digital media and mental health as “the current explosion of digital technology not only is changing the way we live and communicate but is rapidly and profoundly altering our brains…” (Carr, 2010, 262). But addressing it from a design/creativity perspective is often overlooked. As digital media is an inseparable piece of a graphic designer’s creative workflow, this raises the question: how are designers being affected by technology in regards to their creativity and mental wellbeing? By educating designers on this topic within their formative years, we can impact the designers of the future.
The final design works to address the top 3 issues design students face in conjunction with technology and their mental health, including creative processing, self-esteem, and distraction. The following summary explains how and why the outcomes address the problem space.
1. To catch the attention of students in a way that is encouraging, a recognizable name and complimentary quirky catchphrases that are easy to remember were created with typographic visual appeal.
2. To have design students become acquainted with the problem space and be held accountable, promotional material was created to be displayed in the design studios. This deliverable came about in a co-design workshop where students were asked what kinds of outputs they would expect from this movement.
3. To take advantage of existing university and program parameters in a way that does not conflict with resources already in place, the recommendation of hosting a late-Fall workshop is presented. This workshop would educate students on taking care of their mental health as a designer with tips, tricks, advice, and a summary of what their peers and faculty are saying.