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Seven Questions for Jeffrey Zeldman

MFA Interaction Design: How would you describe your course “Selling Design” in one sentence?

Jeffrey Zeldman: We prepare students for professional life after they graduate with their MFA.

MFA IXD: What were the top three take-aways your students had at the end of your class?

JZ:

  • I know what work life is like inside each kind of design organization—studio, start-up, in-house design department, and so on.
  • I know what kind of design organization best suits my temperament, talents, and short- and long-term professional goals.
  • If I choose to create a product, alone or with others, I know how to choose partners and build a user community around my project.

MFA IXD: How did your own perspective evolve over the course of the semester?

JZ: The students were brilliant at defining themselves and their goals early on; the course and my perspective evolved out of the unique qualities of these particular designers and their needs. Just like design, the course was a collaborative project defined and structured by its participants and tailored to their needs and desired outcomes.

No one made anything in this course; this course was not their work, it was their spa, their "me" time, their listening time.

MFA IXD: Could you give one example of things students made in the course?

JZ: No one made anything in this course; this course was not their work, it was their spa, their “me” time, their listening time. They made questions, I suppose.  

MFA IXD: What book(s) would you recommend for people interested in this class?

Design Is A Job, by Mike Monteiro

MFA IXD: If you could go back and cover one thing you didn’t have the chance to cover, what would it be? Why’d you leave it out?

JZ: At the request of administrative personnel, we cancelled our semester-end wrap-up session so some other teachers could use our room. It wasn’t a big deal; the students had already gotten everything out of the class that they were going to get. So I’m okay with it.

Faculty Jeffrey Zeldman along with actor Robert Downey Jr, who Zeldman would pick to play him in a movie.
Faculty Jeffrey Zeldman along with actor Robert Downey Jr, who Zeldman would pick to play him in a movie.

Credit: Zeldman at swiss-miss.com, Downey in the public domain

MFA IXD: Which actor would play you in the movie about your class?

JZ: Either Robert Downey, Jr. or Danny Devito.

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