In Minneapolis, a number of high-profile design schools have struggled to find places to open in recent years.
They have not been able to secure funding and the local talent pool has not kept pace with the demand for designers, which has been the primary driver for the decline in design schools in the city.
“If you look at the schools, the demand is so high that you have to have an infrastructure in place to handle it,” said Kristina Jang, a Minneapolis-based design consultant who specializes in local design talent.
“It’s a lot more complicated than just, ‘You know, we need some money, we have to open a school.’
It’s a big infrastructure, it’s very expensive.”
In recent years, there has been an uptick in interest in designing for a more digital age, which means a more responsive design culture and more digital apps, but also more emphasis on teaching students to understand how design is accomplished through the process of interaction.
It’s not just about the digital tools that students use to design, it has to do with the way they interact with it, said Jang.
“That’s not to say that we should be making the tools look like digital tools, but it has something to do to the way that they’re actually being created,” she said.
In the last few years, design schools around the country have seen a big uptick in enrollment.
In some cities, such as Minneapolis, students are starting classes with classes that are digitally enabled.
In other cities, like New York, students don’t have to worry about coding or a digital workspace.
“The idea that we have a digital culture where we don’t need to have people design in our classrooms and in our schools, I think is a huge step in the right direction,” said John Caulfield, president of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Community Design School.
“Design is more about the interaction than it is the tools, and the interaction is what makes people fall in love with design.”
In Minneapolis Public Schools, there is a new emphasis on digital technology, with students being taught about using iPads and computers in classrooms.
But the lack of an infrastructure to manage digital content and the limited pool of talent in Minneapolis is hindering the growth of design schools.
“What’s happening is we’re missing a generation of young designers that are thinking about design,” said Kelli McEachern, executive director of the Minnesota Department of Education.
“They’re not learning how to use technology because they’re not in the classroom.”
Design schools are often viewed as an exception to the overall trend of declining enrollment in design programs.
While it is true that many of the schools in Minneapolis do not offer a design degree, the lack.
of a curriculum that is interactive in nature has created a large number of students who are looking to pursue an education in digital media.
“There’s a growing number of young kids who are thinking that they want to design,” McEakens said.
“So we have this idea of, ‘Oh, design is an option, but design isn’t a choice.'”