The Role of Liberal Arts in the Design Field: 3rd Annual Design Week

Colorado College’s annual Design Week begins Monday, March 4, and marks the third year of recognition in celebrating the importance of liberal arts in the field of design. Design Week has evolved into an immersive experience open to students of all majors to gain a deeper understanding of that role.

Design Week began in 2017 initially as an extension of the Graphics Research Lab class, taught by professor of art studio Kate Leonard. Design Week was intended for students to witness firsthand the importance that graphic design plays in everyday societal functions.

Photo by Kochi Nakajima

Leonard emphasized that liberal arts students are uniquely well equipped to enter the design field. She elaborated that a liberal arts education offers invaluable training in innovative thinking, which is a necessary skill for the design field. Designers are constantly challenged to meet the needs of a community with a limited amount of resources.

The objective of Design Week mirrors the intent of the integrative design and architecture major, which was created the same year as CC’s first Design Week. The IDA major aims to combine all facets of the liberal arts in an interdisciplinary study of society and design. It offers students the freedom to shape their course of study according to whichever societal, design, or environmental issue they choose.
Ysa Trujillo, a senior IDA major, approaches design and architecture by examining how physical spaces impact community relations and biases. She utilizes the perspectives of feminist theory and systemic racial inequality to study design.

Trujillo, who has worked in Tutt Library since her first year at CC, has a deep appreciation for the role that libraries play in “equalizing” societies. She explains that libraries are unique places where community and learning intersect.

Trujillo anticipates the premier talk of Design Week, titled, “The 4th Generation Library.” In this talk on Monday, March 4 at 12:15 p.m. in Tutt Library Room 238, Alexander Lamis, the Executive in Residence, will address how library design can strengthen community relations and increase community members’ access to scholarship. He will focus upon the design of the new Tutt Library and the ways in which the library’s design uniquely fosters a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. He will also address sustainable design and how the design of the new Tutt Library “replenishes” community resources.

The Career Center will hold open office hours for students to meet individually with Lamis for 20 minutes at a time. Lamis will be avaliable on Monday, March 4 from 2-4pm, and on Tuesday, March 5, from 3-4pm. Students can sign up for individual meetings with Lamis at this link: .

Other events during Design Week will additionally address the intersection of design and society, including photography, the media, and landscape architecture.

On Friday, March 8, from 12:15-3 p.m., the Art Department will host an information session with Professor Kate Leonard. Leonard encourages CC students to come and learn more about the IDA major and the ways in which any student can become involved in the design field.

Throughout the entire week, art department senior theses will be featured in the Colburn Gallery in Worner.
Leonard anticipates a prolific future for Design Week. She is eager to witness Design Week become an increasingly valuable experience for peoples of all backgrounds and interests to learn about the intersection between society and design.

Ellen Loucks

Ellen Loucks

Ellen Loucks, class of 2021, is majoring in the humanities. She is from Champaign, IL, and is passionate about delivering authentic and reliable news to readers. She intends to pursue a career in writing following college.

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