Learn to Design – Georgia Magazine

What is design? How to brainstorm and come up with ideas? How do you execute these ideas?

To help students find the answers to these questions, Lilia Gomez-Lanier, associate professor of textiles, merchandising and interiors at College of Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS). “Even if you have a different design area where you’re designing products for the home or for apparel, it’s the same process,” she says. “You need to understand the customer, what they are asking for and where they are coming from, then explore and finalize your ideas.”

Its students work on hands-on projects that prepare them to jump straight into the world of design after graduation. On a recent project, students worked as a team to develop a variety of redesigns for UGAs ASPIRE Clinic, a holistic counseling and education service for communities in UGA and Athens.

After meeting with ASPIRE Clinic Coordinator Megan Ford, the students developed new layouts, determined color palettes, and found furniture and accessories to optimize the clinic’s floor plan and maximize functionality.

FACS isn’t the only option for budding interior designers at UGA.

the Lamar Dodd School of Art also offers an interior design program, with a strong emphasis on creativity and knowledge of the fine arts.

“We strive to make students understand that what we do is create experiences,” says Tad Gloeckler, interior design chair and professor of art. “To do that, you have to understand natural and artificial light, proportion, movement in space, construction, color, materials. That’s what it takes to be a really good designer. You have to work with the details and understand how the materials fit together, and you need to have a vision of what the building experience will be like.

The program is also hands-on, integrating the business side of design into its courses and requiring an internship for graduation.

“The art of design is an applied art,” says Saral Surakul, Co-Chair of Interior Design and Associate Professor of Art. “Beginning with art creates a very good foundation for students to understand aesthetics. Our students are required to take studio art classes, which helps them expand their creative horizons.”

Graduates of both programs go on to work in commercial design, start their own business, or even go into urban planning. The possibilities are truly endless.

“There is a misconception of what interior design is,” Surakul says. “We have HGTV and it’s good to watch that on TV, but that’s not all we do. When you hire a designer, you are not just hiring a decorator. You bring someone in and you really improve your quality of life, whether residential or commercial.

Abdul J. Gaspar