Tasks Due Last Week

  • Research Project Meetings
  • Review Post Modernism resources
  • Review Finding Library Sources guide
  • Set milestones for your Research Project
  • Complete Reading Response #9
  • Participate in Discussion Week 11
  • Submit Week 11 Agenda Checklist

This Week’s Topics


Hello! I hope you were able to spend some time last week with family and friends and take some time to work on your Research Project & Presentation.

This week we will take a look at The Digital Revolution & the Social Responsibility Movement. The late 90s to early 2000s marked the transition from hand-crafted graphic design to digital design. The Internet boom at the dawn of the millennium welcomed millions of online users. Computer-aided design was no longer just an option, it became a necessity. The 2000s were a decade of great political and social change. Designers were called to respond to the excesses of capitalism and consumerism in design and focus on ‘pursuits more worthy of our problem-solving skills’.

Below review the videos and text to explore the digital revolution, the impacts of technology, and the push for social responsibility in the field of design. In order to give you extra time to focus on your Research Projects, we will respond to the reading in the Discussion post and forgo the individual reading responses.

If you’d like to meet again to discuss your research project, please contact me to schedule a time. And as always, be in touch with any questions or concerns: jspevack@citytech.cuny.edu.


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

1. The Digital Revolution & Social Responsibility (90+ minutes)

As one millennium ended and another began, digital technology fundamentally transformed graphic design. Old avant-garde issues of authorship, universality, and social responsibility were reborn within society’s newly decentralized networked structure.

Helen Armstrong

The Digital Revolution – 1980s-1990s Design History (3 min)

In 1984, Apple released the Macintosh computer.  It would revolutionize the entire industry. I was in art school in the early 1990s and we used the first release of Photoshop 1.0. It was slow, clunky, and honestly painful to use (we would run a filter and go out for coffee!) but the results were nothing like we had ever seen before.

Let’s watch this video from Graphic Design History on LinkedIn Learning to gain an overview of the time period, the advent of the personal computer, and its effects on the design industry. Watch from 1:57:58 – 2:01:49 on LinkedIn Learning via your Library Card or the YouTube video below.

Activity: As you watch, take note of the dates and designers who experimented with these new tools. Also, note how once again changes in technology radically altered the field of design and the role of a designer.

Graphic Design HistoryWatch from 1:57:58 – 2:01:49

The Internet (7 min)

At the turn of the 20th Century, photography and printing revolutionalized communications. At the turn of the 21st Century, the new digital technologies of the computer and the internet change the field of communication design again.

In the early years of the internet, graphics were limited and the design standards that we know and use today were often ignored. It was the wild west. After many years, designers began to see the importance of user experience. A focus on universality, the grid, visual/information hierarchy, and minimalism drove much of the design aesthetic in web design because it allowed designers to put content and the user experience first. Today anyone anywhere can make a website and this has changed the role of the designer once again.

Activity: As you watch this video, note that it’s from 2012. What has happened to mobile/app development in the few short years since this video was produced? And looking back at our exploration of the effects of social media on society, how has the optimistic utopian vision of the internet changed?

The Art of Web Design | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios 2012

The Digital Design Revolution – THE LONG VIEW (44 min)

For a detailed background on the history of the digital age in design take a look at this video that takes you from the early 50s room-size computers to the present day.

Activity: Again, as you watch, take note of the dates and designers mentioned. Consider your own experience as a consumer and a creator. Many of you grew up with the internet. How has your use of the computer and the web changed in your lifetime? Do you have nostalgia for the “old days”? 🙂

The Digital Design Revolution – Ann Lemon Kutztown University

Authorship & the Social Responsibility Movement of the New Millennium

…Designers who devote their efforts primarily to advertising, marketing and brand development are supporting, and implicitly endorsing, a mental environment so saturated with commercial messages that it is changing the very way citizen-consumers speak, think, feel, respond and interact. To some extent we are all helping draft a reductive and immeasurably harmful code of public discourse.

There are pursuits more worthy of our problem-solving skills. Unprecedented environmental, social and cultural crises demand our attention. Many cultural interventions, social marketing campaigns, books, magazines, exhibitions, educational tools, television programmes, films, charitable causes and other information design projects urgently require our expertise and help…

First Things First Manifesto 2000

In a 1994 essay in Eye magazine, Andrew Howard reminded designers about the 1964 manifesto entitled ‘First Things First’ signed by British designer Ken Garland and a group of 21 colleagues. The manifesto’s aim was to “reject the ‘high pitched scream of consumer selling’ and omnipotent lure of the advertising industry in favour of what was defined as socially useful graphic design work.”

Several years later, thirty-three designers renewed the original call for a change of priorities and published ‘First Things First Manifesto 2000‘ in AdbustersEmigre,  Eye, Blueprint, Items in the Netherlands, and Form in Germany. 

In 2014 – on the 50th anniversary of the manifesto – over 1600 designers across the world renewed their commitment to the manifesto.

In 2020 an updated version, FTF 2020, was published online and included a focus on the climate crisis and racial justice. “Our time and energy are increasingly used to manufacture demand, to exploit populations, to extract resources, to fill landfills, to pollute the air, to promote colonization, and to propel our planet’s sixth mass extinction.” 

Check out this short 2:30 min video of David Berman, author of Do Good Design. Berman’s main thesis is: “Rather than sharing our cycles of style, consumption, and chemical addictions, designers can use their professional power, persuasive skills, and wisdom to help distribute ideas that the world really needs: health information, conflict resolution, tolerance, technology, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, human rights, democracy …”

David Berman on Design And Social Responsibility – 2 mins 30 secs

2. Evaluating Online Sources

When searching for sources for your Research Project, it’s important not to take all sources at face value. Think critically about the sources your find online, the context in which the sources are created, and the context in which you are using the source.

Watch this interactive 5-minute video tutorial created by the City Tech Library which goes over how to evaluate online sources.

When evaluating sources, ask the following questions:

  1. What kind of source is this? Be as specific as possible.
  2. Is it a reliable source? How can you tell?
  3. What is the purpose of the source?
  4. Is the source biased?Do you think the author was paid to write this source? Why or why not?
  5. Do you think you’d have to pay to read the full text of this source? Why or why not?
  6. If a text is free to read, but an author is paid to write, where does the money to pay the author come from?

3. Research Project Presentation Planning

You have 17 DAYS left to complete your Research Project & Presentation.

Review the following milestones. By today Nov. 28th you should have completed the first two milestones. Your next milestone is Dec. 5th.

  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. Presentation Tips & Tools

Review the project guidelines to make sure you are clear about what the expectations are for the Research Project & Presentation. Specifically, take note of the requirements for Your Annotated Bibliography and Your Presentation Format.

Below find some helpful links for tips and tools you can use to assemble and record your Research Presentation.

5. Reading & Discussion: Week 12 (2 hours)

For this week’s reading and discussion be sure to review the section above on Graphic Authorship & the Social Responsibility Movement of the New Millennium. We will take a look at Rick Poynor’s essay The Evolving Legacy of Ken Garland’s First Things First Manifesto, examine the updated FTF 2020, and consider how technology and graphic authorship have influenced social responsibility in design.

See Reading & Discussion: Week 12


Week 12 Agenda Checklist

Below are all of the tasks, big and small, for this week. The deadline is Sunday, December 5th, 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 12 Agenda

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