What students think

We were quite excited to see Alex Tyers’ (www.informationdesign.net.au) student survey he completed for Desktop Magazine. Amusing and informative – but there are a few eye-opener results.

From www.informationdesign.net.au

There were a few non-surprising answers, such as 75% of students use a Mac (while the other 25% are fussing about with their PCs), Facebook is the most-used social media outlet, changing uni course content to be more industry-related and that Andy Warhol made it to the top 5 of inspirations for the students (to the outsider, that may make no sense as he’s an artist, but his thinking and achievements seem to inspire students – it was the same when I was at uni, some things don’t change).

But there were some answers that made us stop and ask, “what?”. Firstly, there were no Australian designers in the top 5 inspirational people. We have some amazing designers and artists in Australia, although they aren’t famously known which may explain the lack of local inspiration.

We found it amusing that “living in the wrong town” counts as a factor that will impact on the students’ ability to design, however are concerned that students feel it is difficult to be original and that “most ideas are taken or done already”. Please guys and girls, have some optimism! Original work comes out of more than just putting your thinking cap on.

We’re also surprised that students believe they won’t be designing business cards, books, annual reports or forms in 25 years time. This makes us feel old already – forms are a big part of our business and I can’t see them going anywhere soon (and we’re a relatively young studio!). They may transform into exclusively electronic forms, but we won’t be without forms for as long as services and government departments require our information to function.

It’s also interesting to note that students don’t see economics as a driving force behind design. We can understand that, as it wasn’t taught at uni, however out in the industry it’s as obvious as a smack in the face – we need a healthy economy to have a healthy design industry, and it completely affects how clients use design services. Depending on how the economy is going, businesses decide to change how they present themselves, their information and how they advertise to move with the times. While environment, technology and society form how we consider and produce our design outcomes, it is the economy that drives what design outcomes are completed.


According to Design Victoria, the design sector contributes $7 billion to Victoria’s economy, and businesses that use design are more likely to show profit growth, as well as higher rates of profit growth.

– Five Years On: Victoria’s Design Sector 2003-2008

We are happy to hear that the students do believe that design will improve the economy, and that design will one day become a part of our general society – everyone can live and breathe design, it doesn’t need to be elite or unknown, and we look forward to the upcoming designers to help make that a reality in Australia.