Presentation and Poster Guidelines || Communication Design Theory || Fall 2019 
The final project and presentation in this course are designed to facilitate independent research into contemporary design and design philosophy. Your goal will be to consider the theories discussed in class, and the contexts in which they emerged, then locate current designers or design projects within the framework established by these theories. The findings from this research will be shared with the class through a visual display and presentation.

Your research should explore the relationship between specific theories and the contemporary design that puts these theories into practice. Whether you begin with a particular writing or idea that you found compelling, or with an innovative, resonant design project, the objective is to draw connections between the two.

The design work that you address should be a project completed in the past 40 years, with a definite form and scope. You do not need to limit your research to a singular work, but it is not an examination of a designer’s full career. For example, “the work of Paula Scher” is far too broad. “Paula Scher’s environmental design” is a better topic, but should still be more exact. “Paula Scher’s brand identity campaign for the Public Theatre, from 1993 to 2004” or “Paula Scher’s environmental design for NJPAC” are both appropriate subjects to consider.  

The theory that you apply can begin with one of our assigned readings, but should branch out to include related or derivative ideas and texts. Keeping with the “environmental design for NJPAC” example, you might explore the influence of Rodchenko’s manifesto, “Who We Are…,” on Scher’s conceptual approach and formal aesthetics. This is a good starting point, which opens the discussion to a wide range of possibilities; Rodchenko was a prolific writer who wrote many more texts, designer-writers such as Moholy-Nagy, Vladimir Tatlin or Sergei Eisenstein expanded Rodchenko’s ideas in new directions which are also relevant to Scher’s work, and Scher herself has written about and discussed the ways in which she applies Constructivist ideas to her own work. All of these should be considered. Or you might connect seemingly unrelated ideas; perhaps McLuhan’s media theory helps to identify ways in which Scher’s all-over graphics use Constructivist ideals to convey her message through the medium of architecture. 

Research to this end should be conducted in a rigorous manner, as if completing a 10-12 page paper. In addition to assigned readings, you must cite at least 10 sources, including proper citation information and a bibliography in MLA format. You will submit your bibliography, along with a digital file containing your poster to our OpenLab site prior to the 14th class session on December 9.

Instead of typing a research paper, the results of your investigation will be presented as an academic poster. This format is well-suited for our purposes in that it allows you to present ideas and findings in a visually stimulating manner, while also provoking new discussions. 

The poster format is commonly used in academic conferences, where recent research findings or studies-in-progress are presented, typically for a relatively small group of peers and colleagues. Information is generally presented as a network or web with different strains of thought branching out from one another, or in a linear progression from a starting point to a final outcome. The former often appears much like the outline for a paper, while the latter can resemble a sequence of presentation slides laid out in a grid. Either of these approaches are fine, as are combinations or derivations of the two.

As design students, you will be expected to create visually appealing posters. Information should be organized clearly and succinctly, in a style evocative of the designs and ideas under consideration. Though the poster is ostensibly a visual aid to your presentation, it should be interesting and engaging in its own right. 

The traditional format for a poster is exactly that – a large sheet of paper displaying information, or smaller sheets adhered to a larger board. There are no particular size limitations, but all relevant information should be readily visible to a viewer standing 8-10 feet away.

You may also play with different forms of media; i.e. incorporate multiple pages in a flip-chart, construct 3-dimensional objects, or use digital projection via the classroom projector. If working in a format such as these, the information should still be scaled for a group gathered within a perimeter of about 8-10 feet, and the presentation should be specific to the medium. 

You will be responsible for assembling and delivering a 10-15 minute presentation, during which you will present your topic, aided by the poster. You should consider the ways in which you will navigate the poster’s information to outline your topic in a compelling, engaging manner.

Every presentation will be followed by at least 5-10 minutes of Q&A. Presenters should invite conversation, and spectators should not be passive. Your grade for the presentation will be determined by the quality of your own presentation as well as your participation in every discussion.

Presentations will take place during our final two class sessions on December 9 and December 16. All are required to have their poster completed, and presentations ready, prior to class on December 9.

– Posters should present clear, coherent information, in a logically organized manner.
– Viewers should be able to readily identify your research questions, your method of inquiry, the literature employed, and your overarching thesis.
– It should be clear that original research has led to a synthesis unique to your subject.
– Your poster should be neat and professional, utilizing design standards consistent with the topic at hand.
– Relevant images should be carefully selected and placed within your layout, with considerations made for reproduction quality and scale.
– Print quality and care in assembly will be taken into consideration.
– Presentations should be equally clear, with ideas confidently articulated.
– Presentations should be rehearsed, and should adhere to a planned narrative or script
– Pace and diction should be stimulating for your peers, offering information in a manner that can be grasped and processed in a thought-provoking manner.
– Presenters should pose questions intended to engage viewers with the ideas presented.
Viewers should ask questions that challenge assertions in a productive manner, inviting the possibility for further research or for applying theories in additional contexts.

We’ll begin discussing ideas for research topics in class on November 4. You will be expected to have some ideas for the project to share with the class on that day.