Emily Callaghan / DESIGN+ / Owner / MSD, Industrial Design, ASU, 2008 / 03.28.18

Where is design going?

Design is standing out and blending in all at once. As the inherent abilities that the discipline of Design focuses on strengthening become more democratized and welcoming of other disciplines, there is this celebration of transdisciplinarity as Design both showcases its value and becomes more of a thread in a larger fabric. This blending helps us look at both the classic studio diligence and fundamental skillsets that are more broadly adopted by education and business at large.

How can design education be more relevant?

Design practice spills outside of the lines if it’s leveraged for all it’s worth — lines of discipline, education, functional expertise, industry of business, processes for solving problems. Design education can better model this “spilling” in its pedagogy and learning experiences — integrating greater diversity without deviating from the fundamentals.

What are the future skillsets designers need to learn now?

Critical skillsets include creative leadership (not just creative making / outcomes), influence, collaboration (diplomacy and navigation via empathy and self awareness). From a large organization perspective, there is both growth in Design’s role in more traditional development approaches and lack of understanding of Design’s value. Closing that gap will continue to be an opportunity and challenge in industry that we need our future designers to lead.

What should a design school do to forward equity and inclusion?

There is a lot of work to be done in telling the value story of Design — not only in the context of education or business, but to future students whom Design as a discipline may not ordinarily reach, nor appeal to. How might we illustrate the possibilities for career pathing, success and inspiration? The criticality of Design’s role for impact and meaning?

What other thoughts/ideas would you like to share?

I’m thrilled to see creative leaders like Virgil Abloh — who just took a new role as the Artistic Director of menswear for Louis Vuitton — a man of color and much diversity in his creative ventures (music, fashion, architecture and engineering degrees) demonstrating the power of creativity to continually shape an inspired career, free from traditional expectations. How might the fundamentals of a Design education create that agency, capability and freedom for students as they shape their own paths?

Emily Callaghan



MSD, Industrial Design, ASU, 2008

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One comment on “Emily Callaghan

  1. Srinivasarao Pattur says:

    Well stated… wish to read more about the concepts, methodology and approach to the new school.

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