(No) Assignment for May 19

As we prepare to wrap up our final class session your only remaining objective should be to make sure everything for the semester is posted to OpenLab.

This should include:
– Your bibliography,
– Images/files of your presentation
– Any missing assignments for the semester

The Assignments Page serves as a checklist for everything that has been due throughout the semester. You can also refer back to the scores recorded on your 2 papers. (There were 2 posts following the second paper, for April 28 and May 5.)

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

Assignment for May 12

It should be perfectly clear by now that final research projects are due on May 12. If any expectations or requirements are unclear, please refer to the posted Guidelines, or if you have any questions regarding topics and research please email me: mlange@citytech.cuny.edu

As stated, there are 2 items to post before class on the 12th. They are as follows:
(1) a PDF of your presentation. This should be the same document that you will use for 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 can be uploaded to a single Post.

It sounds like we’ll have some very interesting presentations in the next couple of weeks. Please be ready to get them rolling right at 8:30 on the 12th!

Assignment for May 5th

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 April 28

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

Note that our response to this text includes a minor but important variation from our usual format: you must include 3-4 sources accessed through library databases. (I find that Jstor and Ebsco ebooks are great but you should explore a few.)

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.

Part of the goal for this assignment is to make some progress on your final.

*Assignment for April 21 (Part 2)*

The first item to complete for April 21 is your second 2-3 page paper, the details for which can be found in Part 1 of the Assignment.

Once this is completed there are two new readings for next week. The readings are essentially unrelated to the paper. It is recommended that you 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

While there is not a response to these readings, you will be expected to respond verbally in class on the 21st. Please budget your time so that you can give proper attention to these texts.

*Assignment for April 21 (Part 1)*

Please note that we will have a full Webex class session on April 14. (Spring Break is shortened because of the Recalibration Period.) You should complete the Roland Barthes reading and post your notes before the 14th.

The second short paper is due on April 21, and there will also be two short texts to read for that class. I will assign the texts in class on the 14th. Please use the time until then to work on the paper and to research your Final Project.

The second 2-3 page paper is a response to Roland Barthes’ Rhetoric of the Image. The objective for this paper is to analyze the rhetorical elements of a recent advertisement. Ideally, the ad should be from a print magazine.

The advertisement should use photographic imagery, and should include text. Begin by describing the image in as much detail as possible, examining the characteristics of the objects, models, environment, etc. pictured; and the layout, typography, interaction of picture elements, image quality and composition of the entire ad. Try to identify all of the signs at work in the image.

Make your best attempt to articulate the meaning of the image, using Barthes’ terms. What is the linguistic message? What are the non-coded iconic messages? What are the coded iconic messages? Identify the denotative and connotative aspects, the use of anchorage and relay, the semantic and lexical components, etc. Consider the effectiveness of the advertisers’ rhetoric, and the ideological metalanguage employed.

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. Upload a PDF to a new Post on OpenLab before class on the 21st.

Another Quick Update

I hope everyone had a chance to look at my message (sent via OpenLab on the 27th at 12:24) regarding schedule updates. Please take a look if you haven’t had a chance yet.

Due to the Recalibration Period, there are no classes this week. But if you would like to work on your second 2-3 page paper, I’ll host a short Webex session tomorrow morning to discuss the Barthes reading and the paper. This is optional, but I hope it will be beneficial.

Please also note that we will have class on the 14th, as the timeline for Spring Break has been changed.

There will be a new post with details for the second paper tomorrow morning.

And if you’d like to review the agenda for the rest of the semester, our Syllabus Page has been updated to reflect these changes.

Be well!

Assignment for March 31 / April 14

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

As you read, please make note of all important terms (ie. polysemy, linguistic sign, connoted, denoted, etc.), especially if their meaning is unclear.  Also note important points that you don’t completely follow. And record a list of questions you have concerning the essay. Drop these notes into a post; this will be your written submission for the week. (It does not need to be structured or organized into neat paragraphs.)

The second 2-3 page paper will be a response to this article, and will be due on April 21. In this paper, you’ll critically examine a contemporary advertising image in a manner similar to Barthes’ approach. You will be expected to employ the logic and terminology that Barthes uses in this text. (In other words, this is an important reading!)

Please also consider the advertisement that you would like to address for your essay. It should be an advertisement organized around a single photograph. A full page print ad is preferable.

As you may have seen in my message from last week, I will also hold an optional online session on March 31 from 8:30-9:30 to briefly review this text, and to talk about ideas for the paper. I hope this will be a good opportunity to get ahead on your paper. Please log in if you can!

Please email: Online Class Sessions

Hi Everyone – the following is the same as an email you should have received on Thurs. Mar. 19. Reposting here to confirm that everyone has received and replied.

I wanted to provide you with an update for Tuesday, and ask you to reply with a little bit of info.

First the update: CUNY ended up brokering a deal with CISCO WEBEX to host our online class sessions. There has been a little bit of back-and-forth concerning the platform we’d use, and I apologize if you’ve spent time familiarizing yourself with Zoom. I know that some instructors are also using other platforms. But WEBEX is the platform that is now the standard for CUNY, and we’ll stick with it. Plus it seems like there is some really solid, intuitive functionality, not to mention a reliable APP that will allow you to log on from a mobile device.

You should have just received an invitation to join next Tuesday morning’s meeting via Cisco WebEx.

This leads to the Request for Reply: Please send me an email to mlange@citytech.cuny.edu as soon as you can, including the following:
– confirmation that you received the meeting notification from WebEx
– confirmation that you can attend this Tuesday’s class, or if not, please let me know
– the device that you plan to use to log in, ie. phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, etc.
– any questions, concerns, issues you’re encountering

We want to make sure everyone is properly equipped to participate in these online classes. If you’re at all worried about your capacity to log in for class, please let me know. The department may have some devices available if that is an issue, and we are gauging the need for computer labs if absolutely necessary.

Looking forward to hearing back from everyone.

Assignment for March 24

Please keep the posts coming everyone. They are looking really good. And, again, please keep an eye out for details concerning next week’s lecture. We’ll catch up on the McLuhan Reading and we’ll discuss the next reading, which 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’ll notice that the terminology is, to say the least, out-of-date. While reading this we might consider the ways that language, tone and biases effect different aspects of advertising.

Your post for this reading will be a little different. Instead of writing 3-4 paragraphs, please identify and document 3-4 advertisements in recent magazines, web pages, posters, billboards, etc. where race, ethnicity, gender or cultural identity play a role in shaping a brand’s message.

Note that identity and race can be used in a seemingly positive, embracing way, or in a cynical, pandering manner; or it may be difficult to tell. The most interesting ads are probably the most nuanced.

Please also use ads that you encounter this week, after completing the reading. We’ve all seen some of the widely publicized missteps from companies such as H&M, Dove, Sony, etc. …these are all very obvious.

Post snapshots, rough scans or screenshots 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.

And, as always, remain healthy and cautious this week, and please let me know if you have any questions. I’m happy to chat online.