Communication Design Theory

COMD3504 - Section OL02 - Fall 2021

Assignment 13 for December 7

It should be clear that final research projects are due on December 7th. If you have any questions concerning, expectations,  requirements, guidelines, etc. please email me:

There are 2 items to post before class on the 7th. They are:
(1) a PDF of your presentation. This should be the same document that you will use to deliver your presentation, exported from PowerPoint, InDesign, or whatever program you use to design it.
(2) your bibliography, also saved as a PDF. Remember, in addition to class readings, you must include 10 sources from library databases.

Both of these items should be uploaded as a single Post.

If you would like to pre-record your presentation, please also include a link to your recording in that post. Note: this must be submitted in addition to the PDF of your presentation.

It sounds like we’ll have some very interesting presentations in the next couple of weeks. Please be ready to start promptly at 11:30 on the 7th!

Assignment 11

Designs/Art by individuals/ underground does best away from the eyes from an audience. An audience that will seek and prefer the non-status que. But eventually a company would use those designs for advertising, allowing it to reach to a mainstream audience. It kind of reflects that idea of underground art being liked by the youth and seen as controversial or misunderstood by older audiences. Usually, a company wouldn’t promote anything that is controversial, but they will jump in if it can make them a profit. According to Heller, the concept of mainstream vs. underground is relevant to contemporary design by the battle these two-art appeal continues to face. “Underground denizens attack the mainstream” and “Outsiders may choose to join the mainstream on their own terms” are examples of the endless cycles against mainstream and underground. People there are in with their community but once their style reaches mainstream then they no longer feel special.

The designs of application icons for my final presentation fits into this dichotomy through mainstream. The series of applications I’ll write about are Google’s mobile applications for android/iOS. If you’ve used google then you probably see theses icon almost every day. These are little different from icons such as the power and Wi-Fi symbols, icons for the face of the application can be changed over a short period of time. In the end these application ids meant to be viewed by the masses that can afford a smartphone. According to Philip Megg, “Designers are engaged in a never-ending race to refine and differentiate their apps while keeping the visual aesthetic fresh and relevant.” Application icons are closely tied to branding of the company.

From my research of Google’s history, I’ve learned that the start of google targets the youth, like the underground design’s audience. The designer for their first logo in 1998 was by the co-founder, Sergey Brin. In the next year, Ruth Kedar was hired to make a few changes to the google logo in 1999 but it generally stays the same. She removed the explanation mark and changed the font. I think for tech companies at the time a three-dimensional look was cool and interesting since most applications at the time followed this trend. “Putting Art and Words Together” by Donna Reynolds mentioned, “Firstly, it creates a loyal audience because their primary aim is making sure their customers are happy— not selling more products.” This means it was important for growing businesses to build trust and an early targeted audience.

Today, Google is bigger than ever. They’ve has to broaden their reach to appeal to anyone at any age. The more people use their products the more ad revenue they receive. Google also created other products such as google, maps, Gmail, documents, drive, calendar and more. Each with different designs that represent the use it provides. They were well designed however their new 2020 update to the icons went a little too far. Don’t get me wrong simple designs can be easy to identify and understand. For instance, Paul Kirschiner said “graphic designer who is capable of translating what we say, write, and think into simple and understandable graphic images.” In the end it’s about communication to an audience. So, when google tries to uniform the deigns, they also sacrifice clarity.

Meggs, Philip B., and Alston W. Purvis. Meggs’ History of Graphic Design, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2016. ProQuest Ebook Central,

Reynolds, Donna. Graphic Design : Putting Art and Words Together, Greenhaven Publishing LLC, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central,

Caviglioli, Oliver. Dual Coding for Teachers, John Catt Educational, Limited, 2019. ProQuest Ebook Central,

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