There is a Michael Beirut quote that often I use when explaining to my design students the value of a liberal arts education. Or, more specifically, to explain the value of reading novels, trying exotic foods, and watching reruns of The New Yankee Workshop. “Not everything is design. But design is about everything.” To that end, my colleagues and I in the University of North Texas communication design program generated a list of life experiences that we feel budding young designers should have in addition to their in-class studies. We want to occasionally push students away from their computer screens and out into the world. I formatted this list of experiences into a series of four passport books, one for each year of our degree program. Students can work through the list—visiting museums, viewing films, listening to the news, etc.—and collect passport stamps along the way. At the end of four years, each student will have hopefully learned a tiny bit more about that ‘everything’ and, by extension, about design.
The experience passports were distributed to students simply as black & white print-ready PDFs. Each student could then select a paper stock of their choice and complete the printing and binding. Not only did this approach save on printing costs, it enabled each student to customize their books. Faculty can confirm that the various experiences were completed using a series of 12 ink stamps. An embossing stamp also lends the entire system an air of authenticity.
Many pictures included below.