Circle-Diagram

In 1959,  Annie Albers wrote in her book Annie Albers: On Designing, “Though only a few penetrate the screen that habits of thought and conduct form in their time, it is good for all of us to pause sometimes, to think, wonder, and maybe worry; to ask where are we now?”

In my opinion, Albers poses a question dealing with location. We need to know where we are before we can move forward. While she is referring to reflecting over a period of years, the same “pause”can be applied to every work we do. Every assignment has a center and it is the designer’s job to find it. The most important information on a map is “You are here”. Directions require two coordinates. It is not possible to get driving directions from mapquest without entering a starting location.

In my experience with teaching, helping a student find “where they are” is the most important thing a teacher can do. In general, students do everything they can to avoid the center of an issue. They feel that if they start moving in a direction, they will eventually arrive at their destination. Also, staying busy helps time pass and gives the comforting illusion of accomplishment. In reality, however, activity alone is a form of procrastination.

Location is objective and renders no judgment in terms of good or bad, right or wrong. It is simply identifying a point of departure.

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