Praxis of Design Education to the current Digital Culture Student



Design Education Strategy


  • cultural influence, social learning, digital tools


If “Design is shaped by the community and community shapes design” (DEFSA 2013 brief author), then how do we teach design to a culture that is engrossed within the ever-­changing information age, what is the impact of this ethos on the current day designer and design?

Today’s student is inclined to have an ethos that is different to students from as short as five years ago; post 2007, the year that social media started to be commonly used by South Africans, thus changing their ethos of design and continues to change as the digital information age develops. This paper looks at a design class, on third year level, as the Design Culture described by the conference outlines; understanding the dualism at play on the design process and the class group as the community. It investigates the culture that does not hold onto information, but has access to information at the press of a button. This investigation aims to understand the nature of this constantly changing culture and the influences the information age has on the ethos of a design culture. It investigates how teaching has to adapt to serve this digital culture and how learning happens within it. The paper considers the changes to the praxis of design; process of design, the nature of creativity and the communication of design within this ethos, the challenges and potential for growth that the information ethos brings with it. It aims to contribute to the discourse surrounding praxis of design teaching to today’s constantly changing, network driven design culture.

In conclusion this investigation considers the influence of the digital culture on design cultures and aims to act as a catalyst to design educators to enrich the understanding of the cultures they are involved with and aims to contribute to the praxis of teaching design to a continually changing culture on the fringes or outskirts of the educator’s own culture.

DEFSA conferences

DEFSA promotes relevant research with the focus on design + education through its biennial conferences, to promote professionalism, accountability and ethics in the education of young designers. Our next conference is a hybrid event. See above for details.

Critical skills endorsement

Professional Members in good standing can receive a certificate of membership, but DEFSA cannot provide confirmation or endorsement of skills whatsoever. DEFSA only confirm membership of DEFSA which is a NPO for Design Education in South Africa (