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Lenora St. Blog

Random Thoughts about Why Cornish Design is Better (Or: Why I like teaching at Cornish, no BS.)

This blog entry comes from a series coming directly from Cornish Design writing about how they teach within their field, what’s different about Cornish Design, and more.


Why I Like Teaching Design At Cornish

Robynne Raye, Associate Professor

Having taught at a few places for comparison—and being a guest instructor and lecturer at dozens of schools across the U.S.—I can say that none of them nurture the individual in the way that Cornish does. No indoctrinating the masses to a certain aesthetic or approach. It’s easy to look at a young designer’s website, and guess where they studied. I can never do that with a Cornish student. 

student work vote buttonsWe’re not afraid to get political or approach tough subjects. When I assigned a vote campaign project this past semester to my Digital Tools class, I did not tell my students to be non-partisan. But I didn’t tell them they had to pick a side either. Many did naturally. (This project would never have happened in a publicly-funded college.)

Our smaller class sizes mean I can focus on an individual’s needs. In other places, I’ve taught in studio classrooms with 25 or more students—a minimum quota for many colleges. When classes get to be that size, I never feel like I have enough time. At Cornish, I get to know my students faster, understand where they need help, and focus on helping them achieve results.

A student that chooses Design at Cornish can take courses from a variety of disciplines, courses that would be off-limits or siloed at other schools. A Design major can, and-—maybe more importantly, should take: animation, character design, intro to illustration, UX, packaging or book-making courses. A student can take a little of everything here, or focus completely in one area, like print design or typography. It’s up to the student. (In contrast, many design programs are so siloed that a design student who has interest in illustration can’t take an illustration class, because there’s no room for it in their schedule) It’s different at Cornish. That’s why I teach here.


Associate Professor Robynne Raye is graphic design lead in Design at Cornish. She is cofounder of Modern Dog Design Co. here in Seattle. Her work has been exhibited internationally, archived by major libraries, and collected by museums worldwide. 

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