Why the emphasis on Rhythm and Unity?

Rhythm dominates the natural world and has been part of our experience since even before childbirth. Unity (and order for that matter) is about finding the balance to the chaos in life and discovering control. How much rhythm, how much unity and how much chaos to deliver in a work are factors that every artist comes to term with either quietly, loudly or somewhere in between.

Doesn’t design savvy come more from knowing the software and watching others?

If it were that simple, there would be nothing left for you to prove. Watching the work of creative people that you admire can be inspiring. What's missing though is the notion, how did they get there? It wasn't the software alone. Software or any tool for that matter, can’t see like you can and can’t slice and dice your life experiences like you can. Tools are relatively dumb though highly evolved and very sophisticated. Tools and techniques can easily seduce. Knowing who's ultimately in charge (you!), knowing one’s capabilities, digging for ideas, being willing to get out of your comfort zone–to explore and experiment; being in tune with your better instincts and possessing a good understanding of how design works will enable you to become the highly evolved, creative individual you've always wanted to be.

How does this site benefit my students since for the most part, they’ve already taken a beginning two-dimentional design class?

The simple answer is some students won’t need it as much as others. Those that do, however, really need it! Merely completing a two-dimensional or “basic” design class implies no degree of proficiency. Some people simply take longer than others when it comes to grasping notions of rhythm and unity. Remember, design elements are relatively tangible. It's the more abstract notions of design principles that seem to be the vexing agent. Anyone can draw and identify a pair of shapes. Identifying how the shapes relate to each other and how that relationship can become even more interesting, that's the wild card. Some grab on early, others don't. Some simply require an alternate pathway.