The Buns Approach
We frame our philosophy by envisioning a sandwich.
The top bun represents the big picture: Theory, context, philosophy, related fields. The bottom bun represents the execution: the tools, skills, details, the nuts and the bolts. What we don't talk about is the meat: the working practice of our subjective crafts that we believe are not not one-size-fits-all.
Take the example of type design. A type design class at Index would cover top-bun issues like the history of type design and the many topologies of fonts. It would also teach the the tools of the trade, like Glyphs, and the skills of kerning and recognizing fine visual details. The class would not cover subjective opinions on fonts: Which are better than others or what styles are “cool” or not. Expect no dumb Comic Sans jokes.
We apply this approach to all aspects of our offerings, from the books we stock to the structure of the discussions we host. We are interested in the exponential potential of this type of discourse, the limitlessness of thought and skill. We are bored by the meat of the sandwich: The traditional portfolio production that posits some work (often derived from Western commercial traditions) as stylistically superior and reduce our fields to superficial, glossy images.
Prompts & Discussions
There’s something kind of magical about being given a prompt and asked to respond to it creatively and immediately, knowing that a bunch of your peers are doing the same thing at the same time. Like a life drawing class where each pose only lasts 20 minutes and then the drawing is done, these pockets of time sit outside the mundane flow of to do / in progress / done. So often in our work as creative professionals are we expected to make things that are “perfect” and “finished.” We iterate and refine, we work up to deadlines (and sometimes past) in order to get to a state of “deliverable.” Index is a space of refuge from this type of output. Here we make opportunities to create in ways that turn those expectations on their head.
Our courses use prompts and discussions to make class time as inspiring and interesting as possible. Though some courses ask students to complete projects outside of class, we strive to contain the work we ask of our students to the time spent together — that way you won’t feel bad because you went to the beach on the weekend instead of coding.