Purpose: In this article, we (re)consider the moments of creativity and beauty in the work of technical communication and how those moments can be better incorporated into, emphasized, explored, and engaged with in classroom instruction or other training.
Method: We performed a literature review of texts published in the last 25 years, identified by searching for the keywords "creativity" and "beauty" in technical communication journals, to understand how these concepts have been theorized and included in the field recently. We then extended this prior literature to consider how beauty and creativity might be incorporated into technical communication teaching/training. The suggestions offered are grounded in experiences, observations, and student feedback from our own classrooms and training, and/or from other classroom studies and additional literature from the field.
Results: We identified creative approaches that help students and practitioners think more intentionally about audience, purpose, and visual elements in technical communication. These approaches reinforce (rather than distract from) established principles of technical communication. We offer practical solutions for instructors and trainers who are intrigued by more creative techniques but may, for various reasons, consider artistic elements inappropriate or unworkable in their classrooms.
Conclusion: Fostering an appreciation for creative and beautiful communication in the classroom helps develop more effective technical communicators. Especially considering that the ways audiences encounter and interact with information have been changing rapidly, technical communicators must be able to think and create both visually and spatially, as well as connect with users on a human level.
Hardesty, Kathleen Sandell, and Andrew Hollinger. “Uncommonly Common: Reconsidering Creativity and Beauty in Technical Communication.” Technical Communication, vol. 67, no. 4, Soc Technical Communication, Nov. 2020, pp. 28–48.