Final Assignment for December 16

As we prepare to wrap up our final class session there are just a few items that you’ll need to submit to complete the semester.

You must bring the following to class on the 16th (if you have not done so already):
– Your final poster, ready for presentation,
– Your research journal, including all assignments (handwritten or printed-out), notes on readings, and your independent research conducted for the poster.

You must submit the following as OpenLab posts (if you have not done so already):
– Your bibliography,
– Images of your poster; these can be in a PDF, a link, or snapshots of the assembled poster,
– Any missing assignments for the semester (the Assignments Page serves as a checklist).

Looking forward to our second round of presentations. Please be on time, ready to engage with your peers’ presentations, and let me know if you have any questions in the meantime.

Assignment for December 9

It should be perfectly clear by now that final research projects are due on December 9. If you have any questions concerning the poster or presentation please refer to the project Guidelines or email me:

Please also remember that there are two components of the final that are due in conjunction with your poster, (1) your bibliography and (2) your research journal.

(1) Your bibliography must be at least 10 sources including scholarly articles and books, preferably from the library (with websites listed in addition to these). The bibliography must be a new Post on our OpenLab site, titled “Your Name Final Bibliography”.

(2) Your research journal should be a compilation of all submitted assignments from the semester and your notes from in and out of class. Please bring your full journal, with all assignments (handwritten or printed from your OpenLab posts) to class on the 9th.

Assignment for December 2

Our final reading assignment for the semester will be two short articles, both from Graphic Design Theory. Here are the PDFs:

Jessica Helfand, Dematerialization of Screen Space (2001): Helfand_ScreenSpace

Lev Manovich, Import/Export, or Design Workflow and Contemporary Aesthetics (2008): Manovich_ImportExport

This week’s writing will not be a direct response to the readings. Instead, the written portion of this week’s assignment will be to post (1) sketches of your poster and (2) a working bibliography.

You can interpret “sketches” literally and/or loosely; include actual drawings, outlines of material, or brainstorm clouds of related ideas. The bibliography can include relevant assigned readings, but it must also include at least a few outside sources.

Please also feel free to email me with any project-related questions that might come up through the week.

Assignment for November 25

Our next reading will be a short essay by Steven Heller, from 2008, entitled The Underground Mainstream. Here is a PDF: Heller_UndergroundMainstream2008

Your response to this text will be a minor variation on our usual format. You’ll type a 1-page response, ap. 300 words, in 12 point Times New Roman, double-spaced. You’ll also include a short bibliography. These should be uploaded as a PDF.

The goal for using this format is to promote research for your final poster and presentation.

Please respond to the following prompt:
How, according to Heller, is the concept of mainstream vs. underground relevant in contemporary design? Where do the designs or the designer that you’ll be addressing for your final presentation fit into this dichotomy? What sort of underground designs influenced the work in question, and in what ways has it, or will it eventually, shape the mainstream. Use at least 3-4 sources from the library to support your response. Include citations.

*Assignment for November 18*

Your assignments for next week are to complete your 2nd paper, and to read two short texts.

The paper, as you know, is a response to Roland Barthes’ Rhetoric of the Image. The objective for this paper is to analyze the rhetorical elements of a recent advertising image.

Select a print ad that uses photographic imagery, then deconstruct the elements of the ad. Describe the image in as much detail as possible, examining the characteristics of the objects, models, and environment in the image, as well as layout, typography, interaction of picture elements, image quality and composition. Make your best attempt to articulate the meaning of the image, using Barthes’ terms. Consider the denotative and connotative aspects, the use of anchorage and relay, the 3 messages contained in the image, the semantic and lexical components, etc. Think in terms of the effectiveness of the advertisers’ rhetoric, and the ideological metalanguage employed.

Again, this response will be submitted as a 750-1000 word typewritten paper, double-spaced in 12 pt. Times New Roman. Include images of the advertisement under consideration and any other relevant illustrations. All references and quotations, including image sources should be properly cited in MLA format.

The readings are essentially unrelated to the paper. You may find it helpful to complete them after the paper. They are as follows:

Paul Rand, Good Design is Goodwill (1987): Rand_Goodwill

Denise Scott Brown, Steven Izenour & Robert Venturi, Learning from Las Vegas: The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form (1972): Venturi_LasVegas

Please budget your time this week to complete the paper with enough time remaining to also complete the readings.

Assignment for November 11

Our reading for next week is Roland Barthes’ 1977 essay, Rhetoric of the Image. Here is the PDF: Barthes-Rhetoric-of-the-image

The second 2-3 page paper will be a response to this article, and will be due on November 18.

The goal of this paper will be to critically examine a contemporary advertising image in a manner similar to Barthes’ approach in this article. You will be expected to employ the logic and terminology that Barthes uses in this text.

As you read, please make note of all important terms (ie. polysemy, linguistic sign, connoted, denoted, etc.), especially if their meaning is unclear. Attempt to define important terms. Make note of important points that you don’t completely follow. Write these terms as a list, by hand, in your research journal, then take a snapshot and upload. This will be your post for the week.

Please also select the advertisement that you would like to address for your essay. It should be an advertisement built around a single photograph. A full page print ad is preferable. We’ll talk about ideas in class on the 11th.

Assignment for November 4

Our next reading assignment is a 1969 article by Arnold M. Barban entitled The Dilemma of “Integrated” Advertising.

Here is a PDF: Barban_DilemmaOfIntegratedAdvertising

This article is something of a technical paper, written for ad executives and media strategists. You will notice that the language is, to say the least, out-of-date. While reading this we might ask ourselves what roles language and tone play in effectively addressing an audience. We might also consider the ways biases effect different aspects of advertising.

Your post for this reading will be structured a little differently. Instead of writing 3-4 paragraphs, please identify and document 3-4 instances in recent magazines, posters, billboards, etc. where advertisers appear to use race, ethnicity, gender or cultural identity to  shape their messages.

Post snapshots or rough scans of your selected ads to OpenLab with short captions describing the image and the source from which the image was found. If you’re looking in a magazine, tear out the pages and keep them in your journal.

Note that identity and race can be used in a seemingly positive, embracing way, or in a cynical, pandering manner. Or it can be difficult to tell. Please attempt to discern the motives of the ads in question.

Please also use ads that you encounter throughout the week. Do not use historical examples, or campaigns discussed in other classes.

Assignment for October 28

Our next reading will be a couple excerpts from Marshall McLuhan’s influential 1964 book Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man.

We’ll read the Introduction, Chapter 1 and Chapter 7, all of which are included in the attached PDF: McLuhan_UnderstandingMedia_exc

Please consider the following questions, then as per our usual posts write 3-4 paragraphs considering related ideas:
In Understanding Media, Marshall McLuhan describes technology and media as “extensions of man.” How do media extend human beings, or humanity in general? What hazards might technological progress bring for individuals and society in the “electric age” or in the current age? If “the medium is the message,” what role can artists and designers play in creating new ideas?

Extra Credit Option:
Instead of this text, you may read Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore’s experimental book, The Medium is the Massage. You must obtain a hard copy of this book, as the layout is a critical piece of the text. If you choose to read this option, please consider and answer the same set of questions.

Assignment for October 21

Our next reading assignment includes 3 short texts from designers who employed rational, systematic methods in their work. They are as follows:

Jan Tschichold, The New Typography (1928): Tschichold_NewTypo

Karl Gerstner, Designing Programmes (1964): Gerstner_DesigningProgrammes

Josef Müller-Brockmann, Grid and Design Philosophy (1981):  MullerBrockmann_Grid_Des-Phil

Here is the question to accompany these readings: COMDTheoryFa19_6

*Assignment for October 16*

This assignment is posted early in case you’d like to take advantage of the extra time between classes. Be sure to complete the October 7 assignment before working on this one.

While our readings for the 16th are similar to the past couple of weeks, the written portion will be the first of the two longer responses to be completed during the semester.

The readings are as follows:

Beatrice Warde, The Crystal Goblet, or Why Printing Should be Invisible (1930): Warde_CrystalGoblet

A selection from György Kepes’ Language of Vision: Painting, Photography, Advertising-Design: Kepes_Language_of_Vision_exc

Requirements for the written portion are included below. Note that you do not need to address these two texts in the paper if they are not directly relevant to your topic, but you must be prepared to discuss them in class on the 16th.

First Paper
Select a design object created after 1969 in which the influence of the theories considered thus far can be seen. Begin with a brief description of the object, the designer who created it, and the historical circumstances under which it was made. Considering these factors, examine the ways in which the creator was responding, directly or indirectly, to theories related to linguistics or semiology, Futurism, Constructivism or Gestalt psychology (ie. any of the ideas that we’ve read and discussed). Provide direct references to relevant passages from our readings. Locate additional writings using library resources to substantiate your comparisons.

This response will be submitted as a 750-1000 word typewritten paper, double-spaced in 12 pt. Times New Roman. Include images of the work under consideration and any other relevant illustrations. Cite all materials researched for historical context, any related writings, and image sources. All sources, references and quotations should be cited in MLA format.

Submit a printed hard copy of this paper at the start of class on the 16th.