The Buns Approach
We frame our philosophy by envisioning a sandwich.
The top bun represents the big picture: Theory, context, philosophy, related fields. The bottom bun represents the execution: the tools, skills, details, the nuts and the bolts. What we don't talk about is the meat: the working practice of graphic design as a personal, subjective craft that we believe is not one-size-fits-all.
Take the example of type design. A type design class at Index would cover top-bun issues like the history of type design and the many topologies of fonts. It would also teach the the tools of the trade, like Glyphs, and the skills of kerning and recognizing fine visual details. The class would not cover subjective opinions on fonts: Which are better than others or what styles are "cool" or not. Expect no dumb Comic Sans jokes.
We apply this approach to all aspects of our offerings, from the books we stock to the structure of the discussions we host. We are interested in the exponential potential of this type of discourse, the limitlessness of thought and skill. We are bored by the meat of the sandwich: The traditional portfolio talks that posit some work (often derived from Western commercial traditions) as stylistically superior and reduce our fields to superficial, glossy images.