AOD welcomes Professor David Gelb as Design Resident in the Graphics and Visual Communication Design department

The Academy of Design (AOD), is delighted to welcome on board Professor David Gelb to its academic staff as the university’s new visiting design resident. David will be working closely with the design institution’s popular Graphics & Visual Communication Design programme, further enriching its diverse faculty with an impressive academic and professional portfolio of design expertise. Additionally, David will be consulting for program development and conducting field research on culturally embedded design.

David currently holds the position of Associate Professor of Design at York University in Toronto, where he explores the potential of technology and pedagogical experimentation with a focus on ethical interfaces, artefact collaboration, and building design knowledge. David teaches across the graduate and undergraduate spectrum and centres his teaching on building user interfaces, design research methods, and interaction design history and theory.

What do you hope to bring from your global experience to your new position in Sri Lanka?

As a visiting faculty member, I see my role as supporting AOD students in broadening their capacity for exploration through visual communication design. I hope to bring my perspective for design practice that is informed through an inquiry-based process. For students, this may include experimentation with type and image to generate new modes of visual communication, or it can follow an applied research approach for user-centred design in order to understand better the people we are designing for. In all ways, I anticipate engaging with students to reinforce and build upon design’s unique methods and processes to engage with some complex issues facing all of us in the 21st century.

What most excites you about your new role?

Connecting with students in the studio classroom. We get to share ideas, make things, ask questions, and explore new possibilities together. Design is all about collaboration, and I thrive in a space where we can learn from each other. At this point, I also have much to learn about Sri Lankan design and the culture that produces many stories here.

What can you say about the potential of Visual Communication Design in Sri Lanka from what you have come to experience so far?

In the first few weeks, I have been on campus and met visual communication students eager to tackle real-world issues important to them and their future. By building on their own experiences and engagement with the world around them, I look forward to seeing many eventually launch into professional design roles, contributing to positive change in their communities, regions, and nationwide.

Why should students choose a career in design now? How can it be impactful, both on a local and global scale?

The past number of years have been a challenge in so many ways. We are in a time of profound change; a time that calls for a new kind of thinking; a time when we need a new type of designer with the creative intellect and agility to respond to many unknowns and obstacles. I see the potential for design students to build the skills and know-how that will be in demand now more than ever at all levels of human interaction and with the planet we all share.

How is the Visual Communication curriculum at AOD in tune with the ever-changing face of the world and its needs?

The world of design has undergone tremendous changes over the last decade. As such, the curriculum at AOD is responding to current conditions and anticipating future areas where design can be impactful. It does this by having students tackle global issues at a local level through design methods and practices. In this way, visual communication students are being prepared as design professionals to be responsive and critical thinkers in our rapidly changing world.

Graphics & Visual Communication Design at AOD

AOD’s BA (Hons) Graphics & Visual Communication Design degree is affiliated with the globally ranked Northumbria University in the UK –recently named University of the Year 2022 in the prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) Awards- and is a three-year multi-disciplinary programme that equips students with a much-vied-for repertoire of transferable skills, and also a comprehensive and versatile design toolkit that will help them thrive in an uncertain future.

In itself, this design programme from Sri Lanka’s pioneering design institution is a combination of tutorial guidance, project ‘crits’, lectures, workshops, competitions, live industrial projects and placements. Students are empowered with the skills, confidence, and prowess to face any challenge with ease, while also encouraging adaptability, curiosity, and critical thinking.

All carefully curated modules are taught and mentored by a global faculty of experienced tutors –like David-, with course subjects covering a range of graphics design and visual communication fields; also taking into consideration theoretical, historical, and cultural contexts. Professional development for industry readiness helps students gain a firm footing as they establish themselves as multi-faceted designers, and exposure to national and international competitions provides both, a taste of the working world prior to graduation, and the invaluable opportunity to work with peers from around the world.

AOD’s ever-growing portfolio of successful graphics and visual communication design alumni has gone on to leave their marks in the fields of advertising, communications, filmmaking, and even healthcare; with many choosing also to proactively use their skillset to further social causes.

The immense potential of visual communication in an increasingly digital and visual world has no bounds, and when designers of the future are in the hands of inspiring educators and exemplary academic mentorship, the future is all the brighter.

Sunday Times Article

AOD invites Sri Lanka’s young designers to learn more about the university’s BA (Hons) Graphics & Visual Communication Design degree, and how its diverse and global faculty is helping prime the next generation of creative change-makers for success. For more information, contact AOD on 0775727772, email or walk in between 9 am and 4 pm Monday to Friday – Colombo Innovation Tower, No 477, R. A De Mel Mawatha, Colombo