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å October 2015


w Unit 4: Lecture
October 28, 2015

í Unit 4: Overview & Assignment


How can collaboration be a catalyst for making?


Collaboration is important across many fields of creative work and the discoveries made through it can be invaluable. This unit promotes methods that emphasize teamwork, spontaneity and responsiveness. You will see how methods of shared creativity can produce a form of knowledge that is experiential and intuitive.

Students will develop a discrete visual vocabulary and system. These systems will then be shared with all DS1 students to create a shared lexicon that may be mined endlessly. We will recontextualize, synthesize, transform and conspire, working in and on top of each other’s work. We will build on remix practices, which blur distinctions between invented and borrowed work.



After introducing this unit each student is given a word. Use this word as a starting point for inspiration and media to be explored.

Next build a complex set of visual parts (total: 50) to share with all students in DS1.

Use this assignment as an opportunity to develop a language of personal symbolism.

Use any available resource found and/or self-authored: photos, scans, drawings, video, etc. Your visual vocabulary will include but not be limited to: shape, perspective, color, line weight, scale, foreground/background, level of abstraction, etc.

This unit is structured to provide an opportunity to collaborate and extend the process of design from self to collective.

You will design 2 posters that are due week one of this unit. (printed or pdf)

  1. Highlights and applies all 50 visual parts that you created.
  2. Create a hybrid that borrows/appropriates visual parts from the collective. Use any module of your choosing.


Determine methods, techniques, media, etc. you plan to work with. Explore and perform studies using a variety of 2D and 3D materials and processes. Look at ways of hybridization and translating one medium into another. (Physical and Digital)

  • – Create a set of visual parts. (possibly interchangeable)
  • – Explore a variety of tools and processes. (at least 5)
  • – Explore (at least 10) different form factors. (refer to posted list)
  • – Be exhaustive, create multiples, aim for quantity and variety.
  • – Carefully consider contrast, figure/ground, composition and gestalt principles.
  • – Be economical with the combination of elements. Reduce to basic elements.
  • – They should work together as a system (similar scale, level of detail, grid, etc.)
  • – Screen grabs and stills may be taken from video and motion work.


You will receive an invitation via email to a shared Google Drive. Save your set of parts to the Google Drive in preparation to share with classmates by Noon on Saturday, October 31st, 2015.

  • – Group all vectors into one Illustrator file.
  • – Save images as individual jpg files. Scale should be at least 4 x 4 inches, 300 dpi.
  • – Use this format for naming and numbering of files: email username_1.jpg
  • – Present (2) 30 x 42 inch designed posters
  • – Display at the beginning of class on Tuesday, November 3rd


For this part of the assignment you will work in pairs.

Create a poster diptych that is a response and reinterpretation of your partners work. Expand it through analysis and experimentation. Recontextualize, synthesize, transform and conspire, refine the system, work in and on top of each other’s work. This process can shift your thinking and may uncover unforeseen relationships.

  • – Consider exploring methods of sorting, adding and subtracting.
  • – Look at ways to connect seemly-unrelated ideas.
  • – Visual responses during this phase of the assignment may totally transform.
  • – 2 posters (diptych) 30 x 42 inch due: Tuesday, November 10th

Working together in section:

  1. Dissect week one’s outcome. What themes emerged?
  2. What methods and mediums were most successful?
  3. Does your partner’s work contrast or compliment yours?
  4. What methods of your own devising will you continue to employ? Can you achieve a successful hybrid?
  5. Will you enhance or destroy?
  6. Look for relationships between things to see what emerges. What are the commonalities?
  7. How can you creatively combine and connect totally disparate elements? Taking something out of a context and placing it into another, demonstrates how meaning is fixed and how meaning is unfixed when location is changed. What does it mean in its new situation?
  8. Analyze outcomes, transform, hybridize, change parameters, explore in depth.
  9. How does working collaboratively alter your approach?

Week Two Critique in Section:

  1. How were your original intentions interrupted?
  2. How was work transformed by the conversation?
  3. Do you feel ownership of something that was not originally yours?
  4. Take note of benefits and pitfalls.
  5. Were your results consistent or were there pivotal moments?


Martin Venezky, Sol Lewitt, Stephen Wolfram, Karel Martens, Barry McGee, Miranda July






Collaborative working methods, Flexibility, Intuition, Spontaneity, Respect and Trust, Working with Constraints, Fragmentation, Gestalt, Abstraction, Appropriation, Conveying ideas through minimal means, Explore processes and media, Hybridization/working across platforms, Representation and Meaning

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w Lecture: Word as Image
October 18, 2015

B Examples of typographic images

http://vincentperrottet.com/ (amazing french poster designer)
http://fromkeetra.com/ (a playful wordsmith / designer I know and love)

http://thisiscolossal.com/?s=typography (that crazy site where you can find a dizzying amount of too much cool stuff )

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2010/11/hand-cut-typography/ (a lovely thoughtful project)


http://www.tm-research-archive.ch/ (beautiful archive of swiss typographic covers for a type magazine series from the 70s/80s)


http://www.edruscha.com/featured-works/ (world famous painter/artist lover of words)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m86ae_e_ptU (OK-Go music video; if you dont like their music just turn the volume down)


http://www.ok-rm.co.uk/project/the-billboard-book-project-jonathan-monk (great UK studio project: about scale, proportion, type)

http://balladora.blogspot.com/ a very well curated typography blog with a deep archive.

also look up HN Werkman, and also enjoy this


https://www.are.na/share/GMgWhBK (From JC)

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í Unit 3: Overview & Assignment

How can the graphic medium enhance and enrich the verbal message?

In our engagement with the world around us, and our routine to “make sense” out of complexity, we take for granted the perceptual and holistic principles this interaction involves. That perception of parts and configurations as a holistic system, or language, depends greatly on the use of socalled “gestalt” principles (i.e., figure-ground, similarity, closure, etc.) and how these serve the purpose to communicate. Since graphic design presents ideas primarily via graphic means, awareness of these perceptual principles is critical for designers to help their products stimulate clarity and unity, curiosity and interest, inquiry and insight. We will look into this power of graphic design to discover how an abstract (non-visual) object like a “word” (a verbal means to represent an idea) can be enriched significantly toward a deep sense of poetic insight due to its graphic/visual delivery, and thus provide a lasting impression of value for the ideas it holds.

Learning objectives:
— Develop visual sensibilities
— Learn about “gestalt” principles and their holistic system as “language”
— Observe the power of the visual to affect the non-visual
— Develop mind-mapping skills
— Become aware of the practice to design for experience

Download the assignment as pdf
Download the lecture notes as pdf

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w Unit 2: Critique Format
October 13, 2015

Y Unit 2: Encouragement / Advice

Unit 2:

We saw evidence of excellent work and a good variety of visual explorations on the wall. Well done! You put lots of basic design principles to work in your explorations: form, color, material, context/subversion, language (type), color, quantity variations! Also photography, framing, perspective, cropping, scale, order. All Good.

Now you have the task of re-presenting what you did in a new form. You must frame, or re-frame, the record of the event(s).

This is what this field is largely about: Visual Communication, pure and simple.

Breaking it down:
You performed some interventions on various sites. You used form, material, language, color, quantity, context. You created many different environments and moments in space: strange experiments; bold interventions; quiet visual poetry; surreal and surprising landscapes; and so on. In some cases you created narrative. In some cases you made purely aesthetic or formal moves.

Now you need to decide what it was you did, and you need to look at the records of these events, and work out how to tell others about them.

Will you approach your next step as a sorting/organizing system? Or some other method? Will you use a narrative approach? Will you develop a gathering or archive or collection? Will you create some sort of installation or wall system? Or make a book or a video to sort or reframe the work? Will you edit your material and foreground just one of your interventions? Or try to show all of them? Or create some hierarchy in a single collection? How will (can) your audience share in what happened? What methods can you employ to put your “documentation” to work to communicate to others?

Only YOU can answer these questions.

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