Tasks Due

  • Contact Professor to schedule a Research Project meeting
  • Review Representation and Context resources
  • Review Stereotype in Advertising Media resources
  • Complete and submit Research Paper 2
  • Submit Week 10 Agenda Checklist

This Week’s Topics


Greetings! As we get closer to the end of the semester and your obligations start to pile up, please take some time to review/revise your schedule and make sure you are able to balance your home/work life and your academic responsibilities. Your mental and physical well-being is important.

Rahel, thanks for kindly letting me know about your other commitments! I encourage others to do the same. Because we have a flexible course structure, let’s work together to make the learning experience less stressful and more effective as wrap up the semester.

This week we will take a look at Post Modernism. What is it?! Well, that’s always up for debate. We’ve already touched on this movement/theory/era over the last two weeks without actually identifying it. See if you can recognize some of the postmodernist approaches and theories from the last two classes in our studies this week.

And as always, be in touch with any questions or concerns: jspevack@citytech.cuny.edu.

Feedback & Revisions

Week 9 Assignments: Feedback for Week 9 assignments has been added to your post as a comment with notes in Hypothesis. Completion checkmarks have also been added to the Gradebook.

Past Discussions: Check to see if you’re missing contributions to any past discussions. If so, please go back and review your colleagues’ comments and add your responses.

Revisions: This week I reviewed and provided feedback on late work and revisions. If there are any revisions that I missed, please send me a note, and I’ll try to get to them right away.

Don’t forget to submit your Weekly Agenda Checklist, indicating the tasks you’ve completed. This is required.

Research Project Meetings

If you haven’t yet made an appointment to meet with me to discuss your Research Project/Presentation progress, do not delay.

Contact me to schedule a time: jspevack@citytech.cuny.edu


Below find the information covered in this session. Complete all of the following activities, videos, and assignments.

1. Postmodernism? Style & Subversion (90+ minutes)

From about 1970 to 1990, Postmodernism shattered established ideas about design and art. A brilliant mix of theatrical and theoretical, Postmodernism ranges from the colourful to the ruinous, the luxurious to the ludicrous. It is a visually thrilling multifaceted style which so famously defies definition.

V&A exhibition ‘Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970 – 1990’

What the *&%!# is Postmodernism? Even celebrated design leaders of the Postmodernist era have a hard time describing what the term Postmodernism means. And as we shall see, that’s kind of the point. Last week we used Barthes and Hall’s Postmodern lens’ of Structuralism and Cultural Studies respectively to discover that meaning is subjective. It can change depending on the viewer and each individual’s life/cultural experience.

Activity: Get a scrap piece of paper and pen/pencil. Take a moment to write down the qualities of Modernism that you can think of. Think back to the early avant-garde (De Stijl, Constructivists, Bauhaus, New Typography) in the early 20th Century. What were their goals and ideology with regard to Universality in form, truth, and meaning? What were they rebelling against? Consider that some of their goals were realized by the mid-1960s when the Swiss/International Style went mainstream.

By the late ’60s and early 1970s, the rebellion begins again. The Postmodernism avant-garde was a direct reaction to mainstream Modernism.

What is Postmodernism? (12 min)

Let’s watch this video before we go any further. Here we look at some of the design styles seen and heard in the Postmodern era.

Activity: As you watch, write down the words that the designers use to describe this style/era and the work they produced during the 1970s-1990s.

What is Postmodernism? V&A exhibition ‘Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970 – 1990

Graphic Design History – Rejection of Modernism in late 60s-1990s (20 min)

In our reading of Steven Heller’s “Underground Mainstream”, we learned how in the late 1960s, mainstream Modernism (universality, simplicity, minimalist, structured, grid-based, corporate, design for all) was rejected in favor of the opposite (complexity, ambiguity, subjectivity, cultural pluralism, personal, experimental). This was the very beginning of Postmodernism in design. Let’s take a look back starting with the hippy counter-culture posters coming out of San Francisco in the late 60s, all the way through the 1990s anti-consumerist grunge movement in Seattle. In this broad time period with its range of styles, anything goes. The rejection of Modernist minimalism and functionalism and the embrace of personal expression, experimentation, mixed media, and styles from other time periods are the hallmarks of Postmodernism. Pay close attention to the sections on Punk and New Wave, Low-tech Seattle, and Postmodernism. These sections will be important to the Reading Response and Discussion.

Watch from Filmore 1:34:40 to Postmodernism 1:57:58 on LinkedIn Learning via your Library Card or the YouTube video below.

Graphic Design HistoryWatch from 1:34:40 – 1:57:58

Punk Pop & Post Modern – Graphics of the Big 80s (38 min)

This video looks at the 1980s, “the decade of shredding, remixing, tagging, overdubbing and deconstructing” and the Postmodern lineage from the late 1960s and 1970s.

Punk Pop & Post Modern – Graphics of the Big 80s – Ann Lemon Kutztown University

2. Finding Library Sources

At this point, you should have collected a large number of sources to support your Research Project topic. You will also want to include at least 3-4 sources from the Library Databases.

This 5-minute video tutorial goes over the basics of using the City Tech Library databases.

Database Detectives

To search the library databases follow the instructions below:

  • Visit the City Tech Library site (https://library.citytech.cuny.edu/)
  • Navigate to Research Guides
  • Select A-Z Database List on the right-hand side of the page.
  • Then select Academic Search Complete (EBSCO), the largest scholarly, multidisciplinary, full-text database.
  • Login to the CUNY SSO (Single Sign On)
  • At the top of the search form click the link Choose Databases to select the databases to include in your seach. Then click Save. Depending on your topic, you may need to experiment with the databases you include in your search, but generally the following are a good starting place. These databases include a wide variety of newpapers, journals, magazine and other media.
    • Business Source Complete
    • Communications & MassMedia Complete
    • Regional Business News
    • MasterFile Complete
    • MAS Ultra – School Edition
  • Use the form to execute a keyword search.
    • Enter your keywords in the first text box.
    • Select TX All Text from the Select a Field dropdown.
    • If relevant, restrict the search to specific dates using the Publish Date fields.
  • Navigate the results to find sources in HTML and PDF or links to sources in related databases.

3. Research Project Presentation Planning

You have ONE MONTH left to complete your Research Project & Presentation.

Review the project guidelines to make sure you are clear about what the expectations are: Research Project & Presentation

If you need help finding sources, organizing your ideas, or help with technical issues don’t wait until the last minute. 🙂 Make an appointment to meet with me to review your work in progress.

Consider setting the following milestones:

  1. November 21: Finish collecting all supporting media and sources
  2. November 28: Complete presentation outline and script
  3. December 5: Assemble all graphics and text in slideshow
  4. December 12: Share in-progress slideshow presentation with voiceoever, get feedback from peers and professor
  5. December 14: Submit Presentation to OpenLab site

4. Assignment: Reading Response 9 (2+ Hours)

Katherine McCoy challenged designers to support local cultures by practicing audience-centered design. McCoy was voicing the postmodern disillusion with universal design. “As a Modernist Swiss-school graphic designer in the late sixties,” McCoy wrote, “I knew we were going to remake the world in Helvetica.” Modernism sought a common language built on systems and modularity; in contrast, the postmodernists valorized the special idioms and dialects of cultures and subcultures.

Helen Armstrong

Follow the assignment guidelines and prompts for Reading Response 9 â€“ DUE Sunday, November 21st, at 11:59 pm

Following the instructions guidlines, read and annotate the text with your classmates in our Hypothesis group COMD3504_OL08. You will be reading Katherine McCoy and David Frej “Typography as Discourse” 1988 found in our main text Graphic Design Theory: Readings From the Field by Helen Armstrong.

Refer to Assignment: Reading Response 9 for guidelines.

5. Discussion: Week 11 (1 hour)

Watch the video lecture Punk Pop & Post Modern – Graphics of the Big 80s (above) and respond to the prompts in Discussion: Week 11.


Week 11 Agenda Checklist

Below are all of the tasks, big and small, for this week. The deadline is Sunday, November 21st, at 11:59 pm. Submit your Weekly Agenda Checklist below, indicating the tasks you’ve completed. This is required.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out: jspevack@citytech.cuny.edu

Tasks from the Week 11 Agenda

Print this page