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å December 2016

í Unit 14: Jacek Mrowczyk

Q: Can design make a difference?

How and to what extent can design change, or influence the world around us? There have never been times like these: technology, politics, environmental challenges, and social unrest are colliding with remarkable force, shaking the earth and its inhabitants to the core. Can designers make a difference in this complicated world, and if so how? We often hear about design as a tool for change. This Unit asks you to question this premise, to look closely at the world around you, at both large and small-scale issues, and identify areas where design has made change.

For Mon. Nov. 14th

Define the area of design activity (what the project refers to, e.g. improving visual communication of public transport system, discrimination, freedom of speech in the academic units, helping the homeless, hate speech in politics, revitalization of town districts, activating the local community, recycling & environment). Where do you want to have impact? Research into existing solutions (what requires improvement/intervention).

Fill a table with your research. Use the table as your platform to demonstrate the problem.

Learning Objectives

– learning to think critically

– learn to work with unconventional media to create heightened experiences for audiences and users

– develop a critical outlook within the discipline of graphic design

– learn to critically investigate socially involved graphic design (ideology/propaganda/activism)

– define areas where graphic design directly affects users awareness

– paying attention to how design activates social awareness

– consider how to intervene or subvert daily routines in order to communicate a new angle on an existing problem


For Wed. Nov. 16th

Developing three initial concept/solutions designs (sketches, descriptions), including a proper strategy for possible intervention. Print results (any format) and fill a wall surface with your proposals.

For Mon. Nov. 28th in-class

Preparing a presentation (keynote/pdf) of selected initial concept. The presentation should include:

  1. detailed project description
  2. implementation strategy/action (for example intervention in public space)
  3. project’s impact on the surroundings/environment (how the design should work)
  4. assumed process, changes/results
  5. suggested project efficacy evaluation method

For Wed. Nov. 30th small groups/brief walk about

Prototype the preliminary design of the implementation strategy/action

For Mon. Dec. 5th/rotate teachers

Presentation of documentations from intervention/action.

For Wed. Dec. 7th/final crit

Walk about / project presentation

Presentation of project’s documentation.


Reading: “Research and Destroy” by Daniel van der Velden

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í Unit 13: Persuasion / Overview & Assignment

Unit 13 / Narrative persuasion / Hammett Nurosi


  1. How can design be persuasive?
  2. How does time, timing, framing, and sequence operate when making a visual argument or persuasive message?
  3. Can designers develop new messages (visual narratives / experiences / memes) by mining existing works of visual art/design?

Unit Summary

In this Unit we are asking you to consider your visual world: one filled with clickable, interactive, time based, and temporal digital information, stories, opinions, and persuasions.

Students will begin to see possibilities in their own work as they practice being persuasive and effective communicators and manipulators of visual language.

Learning Objectives

  1. To study the basic elements of visual narrative especially in f­­­᠎ilm: framing, image, transition, timing, sequence, point of view (pov), and type of shot (long, medium, close-up).
  2. To become familiar with mise-en-scène (a term used in f­­­᠎ilm, painting, architecture, etc. which refers to the considered placement and arrangements of elements of a visual composition).
  3. To explore the tools of rhetoric and persuasion using visual, verbal, and time-based means.
  4. To consider time, sequence, and editing techniques when framing visual arguments.
  5. To look at the role of symbol, icon, sign in creating visual/verbal messages

Protocol / Schedule

[Week 1]

Work in groups of 3 (ideally). Work together, and through discussion and analysis develop an understanding of the formal and thematic language of Adam Curtis’s f­­­᠎ilm HyperNormalisation and present your point of view to the whole class in 212 in one week.


Using the f­­­᠎ilm as provocation and/or inspiration, each team will create a f᠎ive-minute screen-based viewing experience to share with the whole class that establishes an argument and point-of-view (pov) around a particular issue drawn out of the f­­­᠎ilm. (you may use video, keynote, pdf, browser/html etc.)

Consider how your presentation is a provocation — and how your team might employ such techniques as seen in the f­ilm, framing, collage, mise-en-scène, sequence, juxtaposition, timing and sound, etc., in order to persuade your audience (us) around a particular issue that you want to address?

Key questions:

  • How does HyperNormalisation relate to current social, political and economic conditions?
  • How does the author of HyperNormalisation frame the work (is it positioned as documentary? Art? Combination? How is it perceived by its audience and why?)
  • What are the techniques and design considerations that are employed in this f­­­᠎ilm; how does it attempt to influence its audience? Consider how information and ideas have been condensed; look at choices of image, music, typography and text, editing, narration, montage, f­­­᠎ilm-clips, silence (“gaps”), advertisements, products, political language (i.e., freedom, democracy, perception management), etc.
  • Consider how sequence and order of events works to highlight point-of-view.

Deliverable: Each team will have exactly f᠎ive minutes to perform their presentations. Among other approaches, we encourage you to consider using screen-based media. Present to the entire class in 212 on Monday, October 31 at 1:10pm.


Persuade [Week 2-3]

Phase Two

Begin Monday Oct 31

Due Monday Nov 14 Nov.

Final project: 2 min (max) screen-based narrative.

The team activity was essentially a group effort of analyzing and comprehending the context: in this case Adam Curtis’s f­­­᠎ilm.

The design from here shifts to students working individually to develop their own content stemming from phase one.

— Consider HyperNormalisation as a system of sign and symbols

Where those elements can be adapted to your ideas and concepts or

Even your design can be built and constructed around sign and symbols.

— Consider at the very basic level HyperNormalisation’s questions while at the same time pointing out the systematic relation between economic, politics and technology.

—Consider the idea of the film’s plot (events in the narrative) and the point of view and style in which the story is told, prior to proceeding with your concepts.   

— Start by identifying different elements of group finding and where your own personal interest is and how can interact with it or not.

— Writ, sketch and storyboard your concepts, ideas and study can go further with the notion of screen based media (even as the simplest form of the slides presentations where images follows successively each other with a beginning and ending in real time.

— If you chose to combine or add sound to your image(s) consider the influence and role that (sound) can play and add to the overall impact of your design and movie,

— Consider the fundamental difference of 2D design (print media) with 3D and the presence of movement (even with slides presentation).

— Consider in your design is there a need to use Type and typography, with images and how they can work with each other?

— Your individual project can take a small component from the f­­­᠎ilm (such as a series of sequential still shots, a brief clip, or a collection of curated shots) and create a new “content” and new work that tells a story and express your own point of view and narrative. Also with the ”Hypernormalisation” experience it could

move to a new and different direction that has less relevance to it.

— Your final projects should illustrate a personal point of view. Create a narrative that is more appropriate to your interpretation.




HyperNormalistion (MP4 file)

Reviews of HyperNormalisation

The f­­­᠎ilms of Errol Morris


     Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art

     Novel by Scott McCloud

     Visible Signs (Second Edition): An Introduction to Semiotics   

     in the Visual Arts by David Crow

Additional Inspiration / References

Michael Wallin, 1988 Decodings

Real Fantasy, Prada, Fall 2012

Presidential Poetry Slam



Perception Management (wikipedia)

Dennis Cooper’s GIF novels

Dennis Cooper blog deleted by Google story

Camille Henrot, Grosse Fatigue

The Sprawl (Metahaven)

Oliver Laric, Versions

Drumpf Insult Generator

Embroidery web page

Holly Herndon, Home (Metahaven)


Olia Lialina, My Boyfriend Came Back from the War

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