About the Design Interest Group

The Design Interest Group (DIG) promotes and provides design-related opportunities for practice-based research, collaboration, and networking among the DIG Community, NAEA members, and like-minded DIG Partners. As a community of design educators, thinkers, and learners – we invite you to join us as we strive to make a difference in supporting those who engage in the creative problem-solving process. We aim to support art and design pre-service students, educators, and others as they tackle design thinking projects, design-based learning challenges, as well as the design of experiences, services, products, etc.

The above narrative is reflective of DIG's newly evolving sense of vision, mission, and charter. We plan to re-envision our Constitution and By-Laws in 2019-2020. We look forward to your input and feedback! Questions? Please contact DIG Chair, Doris Wells-Papanek at doris@designlearning.us.

Design Education

The visual arts, in relation to other academic areas, provide the best opportunity to study images, objects, spaces, and experiences. A comprehensive Visual Arts Program provides insight into similarities and differences between products and processes associated with crafts, fine arts, media arts, and design, all of which heighten meaning, value, function, and pleasure in our lives. 

Design education presents unique opportunities for learning and is an essential component of a comprehensive visual arts program. The practice of design applies knowledge and skills to intentionally shape and create messages, things, places, and experiences that are useful, practical and aesthetic. Design education engages students in processes, products, histories, and critical sensibilities associated with design. Design education involves students in interdisciplinary problem-solving that draws upon the sciences and humanities to address both present and anticipated problems, questions, and issues. (DIG, 2013)

The History of DIG

DIG has been a part of the National Art Education Association since 2001. We started as the Built Environment Issues Group but officially changed to the Design Issues Group (DIG) in 2007 to better align with our broad range of design interests and issues. Two key attributes of DIG are to facilitate and provide opportunities for collaborating and networking among NAEA members, individuals outside of our organization, and other organizations who promote the teaching of design in preK-12 art education programs across the United States. 

Some of our activities have included: offering a service to the NAEA members in preparing flyers with I Dig Design Destinations, that gave names, descriptions, and locations of design related destinations in the annual conference cities. We have provided a service to all members regarding Classroom Design. We have offered multi-station workshops with interior and industrial design consultants and design educators who demonstrated do-it-yourself projects, design thinking strategies for classroom design, lessons on the built environment, and other relevant topics. We partner with NAEA to provide Design Summer Studios, hands-on professional opportunities for art and design and technology educators that offer studio design experience aligned with the National Visual Art Standards. 

We strive to cultivate materials and activities that support and advance the growth of design education at the national conference, and we have an open invitation to all NAEA members to join us at our annual meetings and receptions. In 2009 and 2010, we presented a position statement for the inclusion of design in art education programs. It was not fully embraced, however, it appears that it did elevate the awareness of the important elements of teaching design. 

Our bid for a national conference themed around design was embraced by the NAEA and occurred in 2015. We feel encouraged as we see more presentations on design topics integrated into our national conferences, have more art teachers requesting information about teaching design, and observe the ubiquitous presence of design in the public media. We are constantly working to improve the methods and approaches in the teaching of design for the benefit of our youth, our communities, and our environment. This is the decade for design education!

We hope that the material provided within this website will help to inform you about some of the many opportunities available to you. If you have an interest in joining DIG, we hope that you will get involved with our group and contribute your thoughts and energy!

Constitution and By-Laws

Name of the Organization
Will be the Design Interest Group. A group affiliated with the National Art Education Association.

Primary Goal and Purposes
The primary goal of the Design Interest Group is to integrate design education into the educational curricula through art education programs. The Design Interest Group is organized exclusively for educational purposes. These purposes include: promoting the teaching of design in PreK-12 art education programs; advancing the teaching of design in art education teacher preparation programs; conducting presentations on design education topics; generating resources for the teaching of design; offering in-service workshops on the various issues related to design education and design. Our goal and purposes shall always be consistent with the NAEA Strategic Plan. 

To educate art teachers to understand that Design Education:
     *  involves the design process of problem-solving 
     *  addresses the four categories of design: environmental, object, communication, and experiential 
     *  is about collaboration through team building 
     *  is multidisciplinary - a bridge to other disciplines 
     *  provides historical, social, and cultural contexts of objects 
     *  addresses the visual world 
     *  combines the functional with the aesthetic 
     *  deals with objects that have an intended use, message, and audience

     *  Teach the design process of problem-solving
     *  Instruct people how to educate about the designed world and how to teach this to K-12 students 
     *  Teach skills and practices in making designed objects or systems 
     *  Teach that design education is about responding to the meaning of objects
     *  Teach the evolution of the economic and cultural components, which reflect the values and beliefs of a culture 
     *  Create awareness in addressing issues of sustainability in product design, architecture, and urban planning
     *  To identify and disseminate best practices in the teaching of design

     *  Provide training for teachers in teacher preparation programs and in-service workshops 
     *  Build partnerships with design and architecture organizations 
     *  Request a designer as keynote speaker at NAEA conferences
     *  Develop a sequential curriculum
     *  Make known the history of design education
     *  Educate about the role of spatial skills and compositional design in teaching functional design. 

Organizational Structure
There will be a chair elected to serve the Design Interest Group. The responsibilities of the chair will be to build and improve communication within and outside of the membership, work toward effective organization within the group, and establish partnerships with groups or individuals who will benefit the education of the NAEA members about design education. A treasurer will be elected to collect dues and manage a checking account under the Design Interest Group name. 

Anyone who is a member of NAEA may become a member of the Design Issues Group (DIG). People who are not NAEA members but who show an interest in DIG may be added to the listserv to receive DIG email communications. 

An annual meeting shall be held once a year at the national conference of NAEA. Other in-person or conference call meetings will be called when deemed necessary. 

Each member shall have one vote. All voting at meetings shall be done personally and no proxy shall be allowed.
Officers shall not receive any compensation from the Design Interest Group for services rendered, except that they may be reimbursed for expenses incurred in the performance of their duties, in reasonable amounts that they deem necessary.

Committees and Task Forces
The Chair may appoint committees or task forces, each headed by a chair, to address issues and needs of DIG. Such committees and task forces shall have the power and duties designated by the chair and shall give advice and make non-binding recommendations to the membership. Vacancies in the membership of committees may be filled by the chair of the committee.

Election of Officers
Officers shall be elected either at the annual meeting by members who are present or through an electronic voting procedure.  

Official Documents, Newsletter, Columns, and Other Pertinent Records
Shall be kept by the chair and passed on once the position is transferred to the next chair.