Graphic Design and Space Design are the two choices currently available in the project phase of the Design option in the National School of Fine Arts, Lyon. A common theoretical grounding, in addition to working spaces in close proximity to one another, allow the school to offer the students from each option a favorable space in which to work and interact.
a - Space Design option
The specificity of the Design/Space/Exhibition Masters programme of the National School of Fine Arts, Lyon is its use of the exhibition as a tool which allows the construction of a practice and culture of design.
The exhibition is a discourse, a mode of construction and distribution of knowledge. It is also a physical space, that has to be built, organized, designed – a space in which paths of specific temporalities, meetings and experiences must be imagined. All tasks that can be dealt with by design using its specific methods and tools.
The Masters degree thus deals with the issues surrounding exhibition design without transforming the question of set design into a speciality.
The following questions are among those addressed in the programme: How can cultural and scientific content be shaped in space ? How can a spatial path be developed around a thought process ? How can mediation be operated through space, through a path? What is the role of the exhibition or set designer ? What meaning can the materiality of an exhibition take on at a time when access to knowledge is becoming dematerialized ? What is covered by the terms set design, museography, expography and exhibition design?
As the teaching practices of the Masters programme unfold around the format of the exhibition they correspond to aims that are twofold, on one hand that of design research and building of content, and on the other, contextualisation in space. The attention paid to the construction of a discourse (scientific or artistic) in a spatial context, to its accessibility, along with the place of the spectators, make of the exhibition designer a creator whose work finds itself engaged both visually and conceptually. This positioning imagines two territories of exploration : a field of tangible practice, that of the shaping of projects « here and now » allowing for a confrontation between reality and practice, and a more experimental field questioning the place and the role of the design project in the elaboration of exhibition spaces, along with an increased awareness as to its different possible evolutions (new technologies, forecasting). The format of the exhibition in effect finds itself profoundly transformed today by information technologies. However, despite the dominant discourse which would have knowledge, in a dematerialized form, immediately (that is to say in the absence of mediation) accessible on line, one must recognize that a large part of the scientific and cultural content is not so readily available (rareness, lack of digitization). Putting such knowledge (back) into circulation could reveal itself to be essential . Moreover, access to this content should not be confused with the construction of knowledge. At the heart of an art and design school, research and production of knowledge are more than ever imperatives, ones that the format of the exhibition enables us to take on.Teaching
Throughout the two years of study, students are accompanied by the teaching staff in the development of an ambitious and autonomous project. The preparation of the degree, through the implementation of thinking which takes the form of a document (a dissertation) and a coherent and pertinent project which allows students to establish their own territory in the contemporary context of a thoughtful, ambitious and responsible Space Design.
The teaching present in the Masters programme aims to create the conditions for students to gain practical experience, in different contexts, whether in the form of external partnerships or the development and undertaking of personal and collective projects.
This practical experience has a number of goals. It is there to allow students to build and refine a visual and technical culture, to apprehend the sensitive and critical nature of the work of the designer, to invent modes of production and hitherto unthought of exercises, to learn to work as part of a team, in diverse professional situations, all the while establishing their own professional network. The teaching staff summon and cross practices which are as different as they are specific, including lighting, volume, installation, sound design, object design and curating.
The pedagogy also aims to enable students to create a research project and bring it to term. This aspect is to be developed through different forms of intervention. The tutoring work around the dissertation provided by the theoretical members of the teaching staff, on a principally individual, sometimes collective, basis provides opportunities to learn and acquire research methodologies. Such work is then continued in the form of a research seminar (bibliographical, theoretical, visual), oriented towards the organization of an exhibition addressing issues of the specific culture of design. Finally, conferences and study days will be organized around more specific research questions.
The forms of teaching used are lectures, workshops, seminars, long term projects (external collaboration, partnerships), studio work, individual meetings, study days and symposiums.
The planning has been conceived to operate within a two week structure : the first being consecrated to classes and studios, the second to the follow up of creative endeavors and intensive workshops.
course content 4th yaer - 5th year
b - Graphic Design option
The teaching of Graphic Design in the National School of Fine Arts, Lyon is articulated around the practice of an editorial design which places the Graphic Designer, to varying degrees, in the position of editing a content that he/she must organize and shape. This practice can be developed using different approaches – from that of the confirmed work of an author/auteur to the role of a Designer in its most classic sense (*) -and in the association of various skills (collective and individual projects, commissioned or not, associating other skill sets or not etc.)
These diverse and varying forms of practicing Graphic Design assume that the student acquire a solid culture in their chosen discipline – both practical and theoretical – and also that they develop a capacity for analysis and a critical mind. To this end, a number of workshops are proposed which encourage students to experiment different ways of articulating a theoretical and practical approach to a project and incites them to construct a specific culture around their discipline, enabling them to master the presentation and to understand the challenges inherent in their projects.
The teaching of typography holds an important place/position in the proposed cursus, both theoretically and in terms of practice. Considered as a foundational element in Graphic Design, Typography is seen here at the level of drawing and detail (micro-typography) and on that of its use in the composition of a page /text (macro-typography).
The teaching of typeface/character design which is proposed within the option doesn't aim to make students into specialists in the field. However, it does permit them to exercise an acuity of analysis of forms along with an improved understanding of what determines them from a technical, functional and aesthetic standpoint. It contributes greatly to the foundation of a culture and understanding of Typography.
The Graphic design option in this way outlines a field of exploration which oscillates between studio practice and that offered by lectures and theoretic-practical project workshops allowing students to benefit from a working structure conducive to the development of a personal approach to Graphic Design.
The 4th year (semesters 7 and 8) is organized around a workshop project, often collective, and lectures. The projects developed by students are regularly evaluated during collective sessions of “critical analysis”.
The fifth year (semesters 9 and 10) is principally dedicated to the development of a personal project which has the ambition of leading students into a professional Graphic Design practice. This visual project is accompanied by the writing of a dissertation which deals with questions concerning the culture and history of Graphic Design in its widest sense.
(*) For a “classical” definition of Graphic Design, see for example Robin Kinross, "Conversation with Richard Hollis on Graphic Design History" in Journal of Design History, Vol. 5, Nº1 (1992), pp. 73-90, Oxford University Press.
A french translation of this text is set to be published in 2013 in the revue Azimuts.
The ensemble of skills acquired during the cursus and on obtention of the Masters is listed in the extract from “Résumé du référentiel d’emploi ou éléments de compétence acquis du Répertoire National des Certifications Professionnelles” located in the “Qualifications /Diplômes” section of the same document.
From classes to workshops, from group work to one to one meetings, all forms of teaching are called upon. Each class and each project is the object of a specific project and specific grading. The overall work is evaluated during assessments made by the ensemble of the option's teachers. These assessments take place at the end of each semester.
Students must be present each week, during one to one meetings, classes and presentations of work. Presence, active participation and a certain volume of activity are some of the criteria used to evaluate the student in the attribution of ECTS.
course content 4th year - 5th year