Maine Summer Institute in Graphic Design 1996
Type of Work
Maine Summer Institute of Graphic Design (MSIGD) ran as a three-week-long intensive residency program at the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine from 1992–2002. Each year, Margo Halverson, the founder and director, invited a triptych of well-known professional designers and educators to lead a week of a hands-on immersion in foundational design skills. Halverson was a participant at the Yale Brissago, Switzerland program and started MSIGD with a similar tone and weekly structure of focused studio work, presentations, and outings. Twenty-some participants were offered time, space, and support to question and update ways of seeing, working, and thinking through workshops and exercises. Graphic design professionals and students from around the world convened side by side to make work that was not about the how-to’s of new technologies or designing portfolio pieces, but instead focused on what each faculty brought as core design skills to refresh studio approaches.
In 2002, after 10 years, Halverson questioned the teacher-student relationship. Could a gathering that had a flattened hierarchy be possible, one where leading and learning rotated? How might themes and personalities intersect for further collaboration? Could those outside the design profession inform a topic? Halverson wondered if these gatherings could be more fluid in response to the weekly energies.
Through 2002–2004 MSIGD was restructured to test ways of modeling design and collaboration practices, then left the Maine College of Art & Design and became DesignInquiry to begin again on an island off of Maine. Co-founded by Halverson, Peter Hall, and Melle Hammer (former MSIGD faculty) DesignInquiry is an educational nonprofit organization; a collective of thinkers and makers devoted to extra-disciplinary exchange with roots buried deep in MSIGD. DesignInquiry still spearheads intensive team-based gatherings, influences design research and teaching methods, and inspires professional designers to rethink what design can be and can do.
A more comprehensive history is here.
1996 workshops by:
- Wolfgang Weingart–Basic Typography
- Deborah Sussman–Exploring the Environment Emphasizing Color
- Nancy Skolos/Thomas Wedell–Poster Form and Application
- Iteration Layouts for Typography Exercise
- Faculty Communication between Wolfgang Weingart and Margo Halverson. Including photos of Charles B. Melcher and Posters
- MSIGD 2002 Lecture Series Flyer
- Schedule planning, correspondence, workshop descriptions, memos, etc.