The New School’s Parsons School of Design has published 1, 10, 100 Years: Form, Typography, and Interaction at Parsons which celebrates the 100th anniversary of the school’s Communication Design program. The new book was written and edited by a team of Parsons professors, and serves as a retrospective on the evolving nature of the discipline seen through the unique pedagogical lens and work of the teachers and students that form the Communication Design community at Parsons.
Over the past decade, the Communication Design program at Parsons has developed a unique curriculum and seen growth from a population of a hundred students in a cluster of sections to close to five hundred across three undergraduate and graduate programs. The intervening years have witnessed an expansion of students hailing from across the globe and fundamental shifts in the way graphic design is practiced. The book captures three distinct moments in time: the last year, the last decade, and the last century. The ‘100 Years’ chapter discusses the history and objectives of design education. The ’10 Years’ includes essays and heavy data illustrating the teaching and learning that took place in recent years, along with faculty research and transcripts of lectures and conversations by visiting practitioners – coming from all corners of academia and industry, including California College of Arts, Pratt, Rutgers, Dropbox, Glitch, Shopify, and Google. The last chapter, ‘1 Year’ presents thesis work from the AAS, BFA, and MPS classes of 2021 along with information about courses and other activities of the year.
“The Communication Design department is a unique reflection of New York’s design tradition in both its forward-looking attitude and international character,” said Caspar Lam, Assistant Professor of Communication Design and co-author of the new book. “Its vitality is characterized by holding in tension the wonder, theory, and practice of design.”
While the book is, in content, a celebration of the 100 years of history and education at Parsons, in form, it is a manifestation of the culture of experimentation and challenging the technological landscape that designers face today. Designed using unconventional methods of production using a custom set of softwares, the book is made with automated, logic-driven typesetting and layout. Say E Roon Kang and Andrew LeClair, the two designers of the book: “We propose that communication designers should focus beyond the surface appearance of things towards these underlying layers of technology. Existing as an automated, printed snapshot of a database in time, this book opens new possibilities for creative expressions, treating books as physical representations of structured data.”