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School of Art & Design History

Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture

Kingston University

HA6101 Dissertation


How Modern Technology has Influenced Arts, Graphic Design, and Architecture: Reflecting how Technology has Influenced the Arts and Graphic Design 2015-2016


Table of Contents

  1. Introduction. 3

1.1.       Problem statement 4

1.2.       Objectives/Aims. 4

  1. Literature Review.. 4
  2. Study methodology. 6
  3. Technology in arts and design. 6

4.1.       Current trends. 6

4.1.1.        Use of video/projectors. 7

4.1.2.        3- D printing. 7

4.1.3.        Virtual learning. 7

4.1.4.        BYOD options. 7

4.1.5.        Movement To cloud. 8

4.1.6.        E-learning and digital textbooks. 8

4.1.7.        Social media. 8

4.2.       Emerging Issues in Arts and Design as result of technology. 8

4.2.1.        3-D printing and 4-D projections. 9

4.2.2.        Digital curators. 9

4.2.3.        Robotics and artificial intelligence. 9

4.2.4.        Mobile learning. 10

4.2.5.        Environmental impact/concern. 10

4.3.       Impact of technology on art & design. 10

4.4.       Challenges that face use of technology. 11

  1. Recommendations. 12
  2. Conclusion. 12
  3. References. 13


  1. Introduction

In the modern learning environment, technology has been at the center in propelling education to new levels. There has been a lot if integration of technology in the learning curve which has seen the learning curve taken a different orientation. The trend has cut across all level of education, with the extent of use increasing with the level of education. In arts and design, the use of computers plays a central role in the creation and analysis of the different types of artistic works. It has opened doors to various options that in the past where only the creative works of the school of imagination. Currently, different platforms are being used in the learning environment to aid in achieving better results and also make the learning more enjoyable to the students and lecturers alike. They are being presented with numerous avenues that enable them to explore their full capacity. The full potential is yet to be unearthed since the use of Information, and Communication Technology (ICT) has not been fully embraced and become a central part of the classroom (Wishart & Green 2009; Assey 1999). This paper focuses on the evolution of technology in the arts and design profession and how it has influenced the learning curve. The currents trends and emerging issues that are pertinent to the students are discussed and how they influenced the learning process. It also analyses ways that IT can be smoothly incorporated into the learning process by handling the expected resistance carefully so that the core values and principles of the discipline are maintained and preserved for the future generation.

The field of Art & Design and its related disciplines has seen revolution since the emergence integration of technology in the learning curve. For the last few decades, there has been increasing use of computers in the field to perform different tasks which range from creativity to the advanced analysis of artistic works. In the modern class, it has become a mandatory for the students to employ the aid of various devices such as computers and laptops in their studies. This has changed the learning specter in comparison to the previous years. Lecture halls that were filled with charts on the walls and library with large volumes of books have been replaced with eBooks and an online library that are easy to access and offer a better ground when doing research (Poole 2012). The idea of college has completely changed and being given a new definition as the raise of technology continues to offer more and better options in the learning environment.

In the wake of this new approach to learning, the field of Arts & Design has been at the forefront in embracing these new trends both in the classroom, fieldwork and even research. Numerous approaches have been defined that have played a significant role in making the learning environment of being friendlier and even interesting. With the modern technology, works of arts that used to take extended periods of time are currently being done within a very duration. Moreover, it has enabled the creation of more complex and appealing designs that were only mere imagination in the previous past. With computers, it is possible to create advanced arts and design works hence making the field one of the most sought after carriers in the modern world. From advertisement to the creation of cartoon and animation programs, the new level that has been achieved can only be attributed to appropriate use of technology. There has also been the creation of applications that can replicate arts works or those which the user gives commands and then the produce the works.

It is thus important to understand how arts and to design has been influenced by the new era and how students are embracing this new definition. This paper focuses on in-depth research, critical inquiry and reflection on critical issues emerging in students/ own practice, and pertinent to the practice in Facility of Arts and Design (FADA).  It concentrates on how students have been able to identify the appropriate technology to use in their studies, how it has revolutionized the working environment, advantages and challenges that they have faced. The paper will analyze trends before 2015-2016 academic years then use the picture to reflect on how the current academic year has been about the immediate past. In the end, students will be able to develop their critical inquiry to a subject matter and be able to come up with a well-profound and clear conclusion.

  • Problem statement

It is a well-accepted idea that technology is crucial to the modern world learning. Everyone understands that it play a key role in the modern classroom and the benefits it has brought. From the lowest level of learning to advanced institute if research, it is impossible to segregate the use of technology in the learning and learning itself. Both have become one and the same thing which brought with it numerous advantages. However, the full impact it has had on the classroom remain quite unclear. Also, there are also emerging issues that are developing each new day as students, and their lecturers try to make the learning environment to be more engaging and produce better results. In Arts and Design, there have been a lot of integrations of modern technology. It is no longer a field where students were limited to manual methods while executing various projects. However, there are some questions and emerging issues that are pertinent to students practices that remain unearthed or barely understood. A critical inquiry and reflection thus become vital in this new era. This requires the development of in-depth research that will focus on identifying these underlying issues.

  • Objectives/Aims

To fully understand the issues of concern to students and the merging issue as a result of the increasing use of the technology in the classroom.


  1. Literature Review

The use of ICT in the learning environment has reached a higher that was only thought to be imaginary. McLuhan was the first to conceptualize the idea global village where the world will be interconnected by the electronic media in midm1960’s. Such idea seemed absurd at that time, but as time progressed, it developed towards realization. This faced some resistance as some people thought that conceptual art should by no means be replaced with art-and-technology. As advancement was made in electronic, computing and telecommunication, and, in particular, the advert use of the internet has provided tools which have enabled the artist to interrogate the conventional materiality and semiotic complexity of art objects. Over the last fifty years, information processing technology has influenced our notions about creativity, perception and the limits of arts. The boundary has been crossed and new methods being exploited each new day.

In his research, David Poole (2011) analyzed how technology has been used in the different types of arts and the impact it has had on the profession.  Evidently, it has contributed significantly to all disciplines especially those outside the performing arts. Students and lecturers as well have been able to use various platforms that are offered by the technology to advance further their studies. With the appropriate use, it has made it possible to come up with better analysis, creation and presentation of artistic works. Some applications such as Google’s Arts Project can offer detailed copies of original work which further encourages the shift to this new era.  It was noted that the most of the large museum do not have the right resources as far as technology is concerned to handle much of the artistic works though a lot of effort is being done to bring the situation to level.  In other scenarios, it was noted that the majority of the people who had access to technology did not make full use of its potential. They tend to limit themselves to the basic that computers, and information technology has offered. The ease of access to online museums is very limited (Poole 2012).

The use of ICT in Art Education has been shown to increase in the last decade. This has been major to the increased access to the internet and availability of device at relatively affordable prices. Students and their professors alike have shown and increase in the use of ICT in art classes citing that it offers them unique and capabilities which motivate them to learn. It improves the quality of learning in a modern learning environment. The teachers use appropriate tool that must match the current era of the Internet to facilitate the smooth learning. The approach is intended to enable them to relate the working environment with what is in the outside world and also bring the advantages associated with it. In a survey by Maria K., about 70% of all the students surveyed acknowledge the necessity of using technology in the learning, whereas 12.6% did not have any opinion about the issue. The rest were of the idea that it might have a negative impact on the convectional learning of art. Nevertheless, all the students indicated that they had a working knowledge of the application of technology in arts even if it involved the basic such as color manipulation. The new application, acceptance by the community, and the appropriate training of Art teachers, and how effective this will be in teaching and operational will constitute a major challenge for researchers who want to seek to continue studying this new norm in arts and design (Maria 2011).

Assey (1999) had predicted an era in art education when technology will be immersed in the teaching experience. In her argument, she pointed out that the lecturers and educators at all level should keep the curriculum in focus and only use it create a more challenging environment that will enable them to exploit their full potential. While maintaining the content relevant, ideal hardware and applications should be developed that aid in delivering the curriculum standards. All members should be involved in the preparation of students who are performers and consumers of arts while realizing the lifelong benefits. This seems to be the case in the current situation though there is a lot dependency on the use of technology in the art session. It is a caution to the stakeholders since maintaining contemporary art and design should be at the back of the mind. Use of artificial intelligence should not be a replacement to the formal curriculum but only a tool to advance it.

The inter-relations between technology and art are not a new concept. Throughout ages, the two have been intrinsically linked. This is evident from the pyramid of Giza to the latest cathedrals which have left many ages. Humans have been known to build not only to function but also with an eye to form. The inexorable relation by art and technology is that as one evolves so does the other. This implies that the way art is created and also the way it is viewed, appreciated and finally sold evolves as the world of technology changes (Gamboa 2014). This impact is being shown in ways that individual artist and even museum handle artist works. The new trend starts on the learning environment which is transferred to other market and other areas where hard fits in.

It thus evident that the conception of technology being used extensively in arts and design is not a new concept but an idea that has around for centuries. When the Information Technology took a different orientation in the 1950’s, so did art and design also take a new definition so that the two have remained at par over the decades. In the current situation, technology has reached its highest level that was a mere imagination in less than a half a century ago (Poole 2012). It is being used in class from the lowest levels of study to research in a large institution of higher learning. This is expected to be the trend in the foreseeable future, and all field of study should be ready to reap the best from this new this new platform of education.


  1. Study methodology

The study was done through systemic review of materials that have been published on the topic. The study involved online search in popular databases for art, design, and architecture materials. The primary databases used were Avery Index to Architectural periodic afilitaed to EBSCOhost, Design and Applied Arts Index (DAAI), RIBA British Architectural Library Catalogue Online, and Art Source. Materials was searched using various keywords namely; “technology and education”, “Modern Education”, “Technology Impacts”, and “Technology in Arts and Design”. Materials were filtered based on relvanmce to the study topic and years of publication. The year filter was limited to a decade, with the aim to establish how technological change over the last decade has impacted the field of art, design, and architecture with specificity to the art and design class.


  1. Technology in arts and design
    • Current trends
      • Use of video/projectors

The use of video and projectors has become a common practice in arts and design classes. Lecturer and students alike are using this new aspect brought by technology to for normal lessons and also when presenting projects in arts, graphics and other rated disciplines. In modern classes, there is limited use of chalkboard which has been replaced by projectors which the lecturers use. The internet is filled with video uploads by professors and art students who take the advantage of its increasing availability to reach out to a greater number of interested individuals. The social media is also being used to share various forms of artistic works and even for discussion that to improve on particular areas (Ashley, 2014).

  • 3- D printing

3-D printing is a feature that allows the creation of 3D print by importing already figures already drawn in other software. Through this capability, it is possible to create complex 3-D solid figures which will give artist endless opportunities to explore their creativity in design through visualization and to be able to bring the conceptualized ideas into a reality. In many institutions of higher learning have at least one 3-D printer especially for the creative arts & design facilities. It is worth noting that this is still a new idea in many colleges and universities hence full understanding is still in the course of study, and the trend will be evaluated once it becomes clear that all concerned groups are conversant with it.

  • Virtual learning

It involves attending lessons without physical representation in classrooms. Under virtual learning, students and lecturers can interact from the comfort of their homes and offices through teleconferencing (Ashley, 2014). It has eliminated physical movement, and enhanced classes since notes and other learning material can be sent before hand or real-time sharing. It offers a unique interactive session which many have argued that it is an advancement of the traditional form of learning. It reduces the time and other resources associated with lecture halls while at the same time offering wide options which are not available the mainstream curriculum. Distance learning has been made a reality majorly due to e-learning options that many universities are offering.

  • BYOD options

The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has been a popular strategy that is being used to embrace digital technology. Students are required by their faculty to have their own devices such as tablets and laptops which are made to supplement the facilities that the school offers. Having a personal gadget in class eases congestion and scramble for limited devices that the school can offer. In arts & design, having a laptop installed with the right application can be a huge boost towards exploitation of one’s capabilities. Some schools recommend that students should have a device that can meet the certain requirement if possible to promote further the culture of integrating technology and class. It becomes even thrilling when a student realizes that they can do as much with their own devices anywhere as they can do in an actual classroom. On top of achieving the main goal of learning, it also becomes fun to have this new adventure (techthought, 2013).

  • Movement To cloud

This involves putting the learning resources and other material in virtual library known as the cloud. It gives all the student s a chance to use their credentials and access different types of materials that are helpful in their studies. Clouds could be personalized to meet certain demands as per the area of study which can be accessed anywhere by the students. For the past two years, there has been tremendous growth in the shift to the cloud with experts predicting that there might be more than fifty million servers worldwide (Ashley, 2014). Cloud is an interactive tool which allows both peers to peers exchange and also discussion with teachers. On the broader picture, it has an option of allowing students from different institution be able to interact and share useful information.

  • E-learning and digital textbooks

These two are closely related to the cloud and virtual learning. Students are given access codes to check assignment, do research, upload and even check the results in the profile. All institutions of higher learning have an online portal where the students can access resources as per their faculty. Information and material that one can view are limited to their schools which make it more convenient and easier to browse. The department of arts & design has created its own online portable and library where professors and students can search for information useful in their studies (Ashley, 2014).

  • Social media

There are many social utilities that are suited to meet various demands by given sections of the population. Social media has been used for educational purposes by sharing information and resources used in the classroom. Artists even take the social media to promote their works where they can reach a larger number of their target. Students are also able to interact with their classmates by using various social media utilities. This has been a big boost to learning since it also makes it more fun and enjoyable on top of developing skills that are crucial to their learning process.

  • Emerging Issues in Arts and Design as result of technology

In the last one year, there have been notable emerging issues that have been brought about by the increased use of technology in the learning environment. Those who are underserved might face the problem of being left behind by the digital revolution. As such as arts and design might be a conservative profession, it is important to be able adapt to these rapid changes to remain relevant shortly. Some of the notable issues are:

  • 3-D printing and 4-D projections

These two methods are improving the works of art and design form one of the amazing uses of technology in the classroom. Creation of three-dimensional printout has increasing become popular among students who have access to 3-D printers. On the other hand, 4-D projections are merely 3-D images that incorporate a person sense as the fourth dimension or create the impression of space. In movies, for example, there are blasts of air, heat or moisture if the movie has scenes with events that produce such phenomenon. They can simultaneously hence creating the effects that the person watching is in the real world or the movie or create an impression that makes them attached to what is happening in the movie. They have become very popular in advertising and animations where the creator exploits the target person’s senses to create a better impression. This has the effect of becoming more appealing to the viewer. In schools, there are currently 4-D projectors that are used for educational purposes. Students have the chance to have firsthand experience of the possibilities that come with these new technologies by being able to produce their own designs.

  • Digital curators

Under educational projects, students have the chance to become curators and involve them in digitalization of the museum collections. Digital duration is the selection, preservation and maintenance of different types of artistical works. It is about adding value to a trusted body of digital work for both current and future use. It can be described as active management and appraisal of digital information over its entire lifecycle. This job has been preserved purposely for the large museum. However, students are actively used as digital curators in their institutions where they search for different arts and design works preserve them in the school’s library. It gives them an opportunity to apply the different skills learned in the classroom in a real controlled environment. Different institutions have their own across the cultural heritage have different requirement and approaches to curating materials. Students thus have the opportunity to explore the various ways and compare notes to come up with even better criteria.

  • Robotics and artificial intelligence

This is another feature that has become pertinent to the use of technology. Robots and artificial intelligence are being integrated with the conventional learning to increase the quality of the works produced. Robots have higher precision compared to a human who finds applications in areas where there is the need to have more accurate copies. They can be programmed to produce multiple exact copies due to their repeatability and execute a list of commands as fed in their software. Students are combining computing, robotics and arts & design to come up with a blend that leads to the ultimate production of unique works. The field of artificial intelligence is under immense research as scientist try to come up with machines that can make rational and independent decisions. If such conceived ideas can become a reality, robots could be used on behalf of humans to create artistic works to feed the ever raising demand (Robo|Arch, 2015).

  • Mobile learning

It involves use of ordinary mobile phones to access academic materials. Mobile learning is basically the mobile use gadgets as the media of access to cloud, virtual learning and e-library. There has been an increase in the number of students who opt to use their mobile phones to access the necessary resources as opposed others such as personal computers (Wirshat & Green). This trend can be attributed to the fact that they have higher portability and offer other options used in communication. With the mobile phone, the student is able to both do a better part of their class work and communicate with their professors and students alike. It might seem a norm to have a phone but the impact it is having on the lives of students and transformation it has brought on the learning curve cannot be ignored.

  • Environmental impact/concern

Environmental degradation has become an issue of concern all over the world. Actually, it ranks at the top of issues that governments and non-governmental organizations are concerned with and ways how to conserve the earth for future generation. Arts & Design as a profession has not being left behind in the fight towards achieving this and plays a central role in devising means that ensure that their activities do not by any means lead further pollution of the earth. This has been spearheaded by the use of appropriate technology that has eliminated extensive use of paper work while at the same time producing minimum side effects to the environment (Dunn, 2012). Campaigns have done through arts for the public to become more vigilant of their surrounding and engage in acts that help conserve the environment. There have been positive results towards achieving this goal as the target audience responds accordingly. More strategies are being planned each day to push further this accord to realization

  • Impact of technology on art & design

These are several ways in which the use of technology has had on the field of arts and design. First, there is an increase in the number of opportunities for the designer. When the right technology is embraced, it offers almost unlimited opportunities to the designers. No matter how complex and advanced the technology becomes, it has some basic element s that must be utilized. This added development of interaction also offers even more potential that can b tapped for better benefits. Futurists predict that time will come when technology will be at the core of all disciplines and offer unmatched advantages (Allen, 2012).

Second, technology has brought efficiency to this field. The time required to do certain obligation has greatly being reduced. Researches, analyzation and even creation of artist works have been made a lot easier as compared to when using the manual methods. This increase efficient is recommendable since as technology is made to achieve better results within short time (Purcell & Raine, 2013).

Another advantage that has come about as the result of technology is the creation of better quality (Purcell & Raine, 2013. Use of computer applications which help in the design of various works leads to better quality of the produced material. Among the merging issue is the increased use of the robot and possibly artificial intelligence which is expected to lead even to more quality jobs within a shorter duration.

Technology has made learning to more interesting and enjoyable. As students use various trends that have taken the learning curve, the learning environment becomes even more interesting. In comparison to the traditional method of education, technology-aided education systems are by far more appealing to the current generation of learners.

Use of technology leads to full exploitation of the potential of the learners. When the appropriate means are put in place, technology opens up gates to the candidate which allow them to explore the new found freedom in art and design. They are therefore able to discover their potential to the maximum upper limit.

  • Challenges that face use of technology

Computer literacy levels- even though a majority of the people has access to computers, the ability to use them in art and design is another different topic. Literacy levels that come with the right skills to use various applications for design are still a challenge among many students.

Replacement of “real thing” with the virtual world- conservatives are of the opinion that with the advancement of technology, it might come to period when all that human do in arts & design will entirely be done by robots and artificial intelligence. These might negate the human aspect from the equation.

It increases the pressure on the designers and artist- to meet various expectations by the market, the artists should be extraordinary in their duties. This mounts a lot of unnecessary pressure on the creators as they try.

It has blurred the lines between a virtual and real experience- as the realism of participatory and non-participatory has taken effects, it threatens the elements that make art be a unique experience. The digital platform is making a lot of progress is replicating the real world experience.

Challenges of handling e-book were there has been a culture if literary books- many organizations that are used to using hardcopies are finding it hard to adapt to the new era of education. There is also the thought that at one time publishers will require coming up with both digital and print editions.

Some people worry that these disruptive technological and cultural forces might make it hard for big scale art forms to survive- arts which have survived for decades might not be able to survive in this otherwise competitive world brought by the adaption of technology. Small firms might be able to adapt easily and take the new forms.


  1. Recommendations

The conservative and traditionalist will ever be arguing against the use of technology in school especially for arts and design. There might have a stronger ground for their argument since, in arts and design, it is more conceptualizing ideas and being able to deliver them through various methods which require handy actions by the use. However, the advantages that are being brought about by the use of technology cannot by all means be ignored.  There are tremendous and opens up the field for more opportunities. Moreover, the world is moving at a very high pace as far as technology is concerned and everyone needs to catch. It is, therefore, advisable to embrace the technology in the first place then come up with means that preserve the very building blocks that form the basis of all the different types of art and design works. This should be brought down to the specifics since all the works of art and affected differently by the use of technology. Rejecting this new ear might solve just a single current problem but create endless issues in the future (Catherine, 2015).


  1. Conclusion

Technology advancement has brought a lot of changes in the modern. People are still trying to catch up with the actual state which keeps on changing each day as new inventions are being brought into the market. In arts and design, it brought up advantages as well as a few disadvantages. It should be clearly understood that in this dynamic world, staying ahead of the changes whenever possible is the surest way to survive. Change is inevitable and resisting it will only result to lagging behind in the long run. Though there might be some twist and unfavorable changes that might come up with the new era, the overall benefit bypasses such challenges. The recommendation provided above should be followed to ensure that in the wake of ICT, this discipline does not click on the old ways of doing things. It must match up and move with the current trends which the world is taking. Becoming resistive will only make the transformation have more friction than it is due. Generally, the paper has highlighted all the trends and emerging issue that are a day to day norm in the modern world. As we embrace the current and future technology, it is important to keep the core of the subject a central point of interest and not to drift away or alter the main course.


  1. References
  • Allen DR, 2012, Technological evolution and its effects on the graphic design, Utah State Unviersity Publishers
  • Ashley W, 2014, Biggest Classroom Technology Trends in 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.securedgenetworks.com/blog/6-Biggest-Classroom-Technology-Trends-in-2014 on 26 March 2016
  • Assey J, 1999, The Future of Technology in Arts Education. South Carolina, Office of Governor press.
  • Large C, 2015, The future of arts, craft and design in schools: Next steps for cultural education, Montague Close, London.
  • Dunn C, 2012, Art and environment – are they intangibly entwined? Earth times. Retrieved from: http://www.earthtimes.org/going-green/environmental-impact-art-design-films/1858/ on 25 March 2016
  • Gamboa S, 2014, The influence of technology in arts appreciation and sales as a factor in the sustainability of the retail art industry. Retrieved from: http://www.usf.edu/business/documents/undergraduate/honors/thesis-gamboa-sarah.pdf on 25 March 2016
  • Maria K, 2011, Teaching Arts Using Technology. Review of European Studies 3(2). doi. 10.5539/res.v3n2p98
  • Poole D, 2011, Digital transition and the impact of technology on the arts, Canadian Public Arts Funders Network
  • Purcell & Raine, 2013, Overall Impact of technology on the arts. Arts and Digital Technologies. Retrievd from: http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/01/04/section-6-overall-impact-of-technology-on-the-arts/ on 27 March 2016
  • Robo/arch, 2015. Robotiv Fabrication in architecture, art and design
  • Shaken E, 2002. Art in the Information Age: Technology and Conceptual Art. Leonardo 35(4) pg 432-438
  • Techthought, 2013, THE CURRENT STATE OF TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM [INFOGRAPHIC]. Retrieved from: http://www.teachthought.com/uncategorized/the-current-state-of-technology-in-the-classroom-infographic/ on 26 March 2016
  • Wishart J, & Green D, 2009, Identifying emerging issues in mobile learning in higher education. A report to JISC. University of Bristol Press.

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