Demystifying Beauty: Inspiration for Design

Ellen Lupton, Curator, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

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9 Videos (36m)
    • Introduction

      1:59
    • What is Beauty?

      1:38
    • Theme 1: Stories of Making

      2:58
    • Theme 2: Polychrome

      6:35
    • Theme 3: Monochrome

      4:44
    • Theme 4: Natural Patterns of Growth

      5:26
    • Theme 5: Chance Encounters

      3:05
    • Your "Dot Challenge" — Create Beauty!

      8:10
    • Closing

      1:22

About This Class

What do we mean by "beauty"? How can you bring beauty into your own work? Join museum curators Ellen Lupton and Andrea Lipps for a half-hour class exploring beauty!

  • Go inside New York City's Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.
  • Explore 5 themes through dozens of examples from contemporary art and design.
  • Create a beautiful pattern of your own — a surprising and powerful prompt to engage with your own notions of beauty.

This course is inspired by the 2016 exhibition Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial, the fifth installment in the museum's signature contemporary design exhibition series. With a focus on aesthetic innovation, Beauty celebrates design as a creative endeavor that engages the mind, body, and senses.

In this Skillshare class, the exhibition is brought to life. See how beauty can move us to ask questions; move beyond the decorative; and drive change materially, structurally, and ethically. Every lesson is rich with visuals, examples, and insights that will transform the way you see both art and the world around you.

This class is perfect for graphic designers, creatives, and enthusiasts alike. All you need is a passion for design, a curious eye, and a yearning to understand beauty.

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This class is presented in collaboration with Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

Ellen Lupton is Senior Curator of Contemporary Design at Cooper Hewitt. Lupton, also a renowned graphic designer, also serves as director of the graphic design MFA program at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, where she has authored numerous books on design processes, including the bestselling Thinking With Type; Graphic Design Thinking; and Graphic Design: The New Basics. She received the AIGA gold medal for lifetime achievement in 2007.

Andrea Lipps is a curator, writer, and educator. She is an Assistant Curator focused on contemporary design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and is co-curator of "Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial." A contributor to numerous books and exhibitions, she also served as a 2015 Mobius Fellow in Helsinki, Finland and is a visiting critic at both Pratt Institute and Parsons School of Design.

442 of 450 students recommendSee All

This is a completely different class because its matter isn't a particular technique even though techniques are a matter. I mean, this is more like a journey that goes through the work of talented designers to inspire, challenge and provoke a reflection about what we do and what we want. Thomas Aquinas said: "The purpose, although it is the last thing in the execution, is the first thing in the intention of the agent." And this is a great class to stop, take a breath and deepen in our purpose: to make this world a more beautiful place.
Eréndira Espinosa

Teacher and selflearner.

Great information and Beautifully expressed. Loved this class
Amazing class. Thank you.
Vasileia Poimenidou

Woodworking artist and design enthusiast

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Ellen Lupton

Curator, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

I am a curator of contemporary design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City and director of the Graphic Design MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore. An author of numerous books and articles on design, I am a public-minded critic, frequent lecturer, and AIGA Gold Medalist. My book Thinking with Type is used by students, designers, and educators worldwide.

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