Have you ever wondered why a soup tin is the shape it is? Or why there’s so much seemingly empty space inside a cereal box? Have you ever held a pen in your hand and wondered who decided what it should look like? Welcome to the world of design. Far from being an obscure discipline reserved for specialists or artists, design is part of our everyday existence. As Ravi Naidoo, head of Design Indaba, points out, “It is estimated that the average person interacts with about 150 items of design by breakfast – from the toothpaste tube to the box containing the cornflakes! It’s easy to see why – everything in the man-made world has been designed, from the houses we live in and the clothes we wear, to the modes of transport we use. And so design touches every aspect of our lives.” Woolworths and the Western Cape Department of Education have compiled an innovative design education resource guide – ‘Making The Difference through Design’ – with input from many of South Africa’s leading designers and creative people. The “Making the Difference through Design” program will be launched in 2006, targeting 121 schools in the Western Cape, in support of the new National Curriculum Statement, FET Design that will be launched nationally. The programme will help young South Africans learners understand the many facets of design – and the vast array of career possibilities it offers. During September Woolworths is sponsoring the ‘Making The Difference through Design’ road show, and will be visiting schools to provide Grade 9 learners with the opportunity to find out more about the course and the many career opportunities available. Learners will receive all the relevant information which they can then discuss with their parents before making their final subject choices for Grade 10. The new Design course will allow learners to study how design functions in society and to develop new ways in which to respond and interact with their world, communicate ideas effectively and develop their perceptual skills and sensory awareness. They’ll also learn how design contributes to the economy, social responsibility and environmental sustainability, not only in South Africa, but on a global scale. The skills, knowledge and values they will develop will be invaluable, regardless of what career path they choose to follow. In addition to design theory, the course includes a wide variety of practical disciplines that can be chosen, depending on the schools’ teaching facilities and the design teacher’s own area of specialisation: for example, apart from developing basic design skills and knowledge, learners will be able to choose from four modules: Visual Communication Design covers topics such as advertising and packaging design as well as photography, animation and multi-media design. In the module on Surface Design, learners will gain theoretical and practical knowledge in fields as varied as appliqué, textile design, mural design and mosaics. Craftwork – such as basketry, wire work, weaving, beadwork and ceramic design – is covered in the Product Design module along with disciplines such as furniture design, industrial design, jewellery design and fashion design, while the fields of architecture, display and event design, interior design and theatre/set design will be covered during the module on Environmental Design. “Making the Difference through Design”, will take learners and teachers on an exciting voyage of discovery through the fascinating world of Design. Case studies and examples from many of South Africa’s leading designers will provide special insight into both the creative and business aspects of design. Among the more than 70 contributors are familiar names like Carrol Boyes, whose tableware is world famous; graphic designer Garth Walker, whose innovative typeface features on the façade of the Constitutional Court building in Pretoria; well-known photographer Mark Cameron; textile designer Sonwabile Ndamase, who created the Madiba shirt; and many others.

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Have you ever wondered why a soup tin is the shape it is? Or why there’s so much seemingly empty space inside a cereal box?