Here are links to the readings for Monday.
Design is About Democracy by Rick Poynor (an introduction to the 2000 version)
Remember that these links and links to all your other readings can be found here.
Make sure you’re at Wieden+Kennedy at 9am for our tour! 224 NW 13th. Be early! Bring your questions.
Depending on how much time is left after our tour, we’ll either meet somewhere down in the Pearl or head back to school.
Some of you have asked what your groups need to have done by tomorrow. I hope that you’ve been thinking about your projects since your presentations on Tuesday, and have made some of the progress that your peers and I suggested. For some of you, this is editing your many ideas down to one or two. For others, it’s tightening up your problem statement and challenge question.
For tomorrow, I’d like you to have one piece of relevant research to share with your group. This could be an article you read, documentation of a conversation you had, or observation of your challenge in relation to your own life. Bring a tangible thing if it’s helpful, otherwise be ready to explain your research to your group members.
At the end of class tomorrow, you’ll need to have your challenge statement 100% finished. Please post these to Tumblr by 5pm tomorrow, along with your group name. Edited, tightened up. It needs to state your problem and then ask a question about what you’re aiming to solve.
See you tomorrow!
Here’s a few ideas us three dudes have been tossing around:
☞ OLD TOWN CHINA TOWN
The old town/Chinatown disctrict of Portland is in serious danger of losing all of its culture and charm and rapidly becoming just another Portland neighborhood (in this case, more stale Pearl District flash-in-the-pan yuppy elitist rich white liberal yadda yadda). What can we do to save this historic hub of Portland before it becomes a cultureless zone just like Lair Hill and North Williams have been gentrified in the past few decades? How can we do this as a collective of mostly caucasians, without seeming offensive at the same time?
A few ideas we’ve come up with are seasonal block parties, going all out with Chinese dragons in the street. Hanging strings of Chinese lanterns across 5th street, the spine of the area. Instead of pedicabs, why not actual rickshaws? The boundary street signs on Burnside and Broadway could feature some Mandarin script to give you a better idea of the hood you’re about to enter.
Then there is the whole issue of the disgusting night life that has taken over the area, all catering to your average lowest common denominator citizen. Vandalsiam and drug-related crimes are up in the area largely due in part to the transformation this neighborhood takes during the evening hours. How can we keep this scene alive going for those who “depend” on it (businesses and alcoholics), but also make it more family-friendly so others can visit the neighborhood in those hours?
☞ BUS STOPS
Portland rains a lot. We all know that. Why is it, then, that at least 50% of Trimet’s bus stops are unsheltered, and additionally offer little to NO seating? And even the stops that are sheltered are unsightly and uncomfortable to sit on. How can we re-approach this situation to make waiting for the bus less daunting?
☞ NIGHT LIFE
The night life in Portland is largely centered around the consumption of alcohol. What are there for sober people and underage kids to do? Can we devise a strategy to get people who cannot, do not, or wish to not partake in this lifestyle?
PSU is a great school. We all loave it. But as it is mostly a commuter school, sometimes us students feel a bit left out (this DOES NOT include the art and/or Graphic Design department, FYI) of the entire going-ons of the school. What sort of campaign can we devise to give this school a greater sense of community, making all students feel in the loop and more participatory in extracurricular activities?
Reusable grocery bags are seemingly everywhere. But they should be obviously everywhere. There are still discarded plastic and paper bags lining the gutters all over town. How can we raise awareness and motivate everybody in the city to start using reusable bags for ALL types of shopping?
As we’re working toward defining our Portland-based challenges for Project #2, make sure you’re checking in on local current events.
As always, be literate media consumers and consider the points of view and biases held by content creators.
We are going to DIVE IN to Project #2. We’ve been doing a lot of preparatory thinking, research, and getting ourselves in the right mindset to think about what urban issues are present in Portland. This week it’s time to buckle down and get to work on Project #2.
Here’s what our week will look like.
Your reflections on the GOOD Ideas for Cities event are due. Please be ready to discuss. Read more about that assignment in the previous homework post on this blog.
We will work in groups to brainstorm on ideas for our challenges. Use this time wisely. By the end of class on Tuesday, you and your teammates will have to have your challenges narrowed down to three options. Past challenges have been phrased as statements followed by questions. Look at the Good Ideas for Cities website and think back to Alissa’s presentation last week for the right kind of language for these challenges.
* * * By the end of class on Tuesday, please have one of your group members post your top three urban challenges to the Tumblr. Format your post like this: Group members: Name, Name, Name. Challenge #1: xxxxx. xxxxx? Challenge #2: xxxxxx. xxxxxx? Challenge #3: xxxx. xxxxxxx
Between class this week, maintain contact with your group members to narrow down your challenges. I will email your groups about the challenges you posted to Tumblr. Please use my feedback to make your final choice.
* * * By end of class on Thursday, you will need to choose your challenge. I will need to approve this challenge before you move forward.
We will have guest speakers come to class to talk about the importance of participation in design. These guests are MFA candidates in the Art and Social Practice program here at PSU, and they all use participatory techniques to engage and collaborate with audiences. Their work will give us some ideas for how our solutions for Project #2 can maybe engage the people of Portland in interesting ways.
I will be posting links to our guests’ work, as well as other links that deal with participation. Please keep a close eye on this blog and read through the things I’m posting. Think about participation. How can your projects engage the people of Portland?
After our guest lecture, we will discuss our challenges and hear from all of the groups.
Let’s do this! Email me with any questions.
I hope you all enjoyed the GOOD Ideas for Cities event last week. Ideally it gave you lots of good fodder for jumping into your own Portland-based projects.
I wanted to re-cap a few things from the last two weeks.
We watched the documentary Urbanized in class, which was intended to give you a global overview of some of the essential systems present in urban centers.
We watched a few videos about Detroit, which made the discussion a bit more localized. The shorts gave us an idea of how American cities reflect cultural and economic shifts taking place in our own country.
We explored our own relationships with Portland through the You And Your City writing assignment. Those were incredibly enjoyable for me to read, and it gave me a glimpse into the ways you all interact with the place you live. Hopefully it made you think more carefully about your own lives and the place you call home.
We got out into the city to observe via the Reading the Human Landscape assignment. Some of you ventured into unknown territory, while others took a closer look at something familiar. That assignment was intended to get you into a hyper-aware mode and teach you that you can read and interpret your surroundings. I also wanted you to get comfortable talking to strangers!
What questions were raised during the last few weeks? Did the assignments and in-class discussions change your perspective on where you live? What did you think of the GOOD event?
Your assignment for Tuesday is to write a short reflection of the GOOD Ideas for Cities event. What did you think of the challenges? The solutions? The presentations? Were there specific things you saw or heard about that you’d like to address as your challenge? Are there presentation methods that you’d like to use? Did you like the more serious ideas or the more playful ones? Use this assignment as an opportunity to think about your own projects. If you need a reminder of what happened, the Portland Mercury wrote it up on Blogtown.
Please bring to class on Tuesday, printed out, a one-page response to the GOOD event. Address some of the questions above.
Super excited to jump into these projects! See you on Tuesday.
You will be working collaboratively to identify, research and tackle urban challenges specific to our city. You will seek and address stubborn social, sustainable, cultural, and systemic problems that confront the city and metro area of Portland, Oregon.
Okay. The time has come. On Thursday, February 9, you will present the work you did for Project #1.
What follows is a checklist for presenting your project to me and your classmates.
1. Photograph your work. If you made a piece of graphic design, you must PRINT it and photograph it. No digital files. Use a REAL CAMERA, not your phone. Consider lighting. Try to take your photographs outside, where the lighting is natural and dispersed. (If your project is a video, you do not need to photograph it. If your project was an action or event, hopefully you photographed it in process!)
2. Write your reflection paper. Use your “I” voice. This is your chance to reflect on the process you undertook. In this paper, you’ll explain your choices and offer examples of parallels between your piece and the work of your chosen inspiration.
How were you influenced? What did you borrow? What was it about your chosen inspiration that made you choose it? Perhaps the most important part of this project, this reflection, or rationale paper, or argument, will dissect your process as well as your product. Did you enjoy yourself? What did you learn about yourself as a designer, as a maker, as a thinker?
3. Make a post to this Tumblr.
(Use the “Photo post” option and create a photoset.) Include 3-10 photographs of your final, completed project. Include 1-3 photographs of your project process.
In the “Caption” section of the Photoset post, include an excerpt from your reflection paper. Choose a paragraph or two that describes your project and alludes to your process. If there are links to your project on the internet, include those!
Format your “Caption” text like this:
Project One: Your Name
Title of Your Project
Inspired by (Name of your inspiration)
And then your content.
4. Give a short, informal (aka DON’T FREAK OUT) presentation of your project to the class on Thursday. You’ll use your Tumblr post on the projector to share your process with your classmates. If you made a video, let’s watch it. If your project has sound let’s hear it.
*** If applicable, please bring your physical project to class on Thursday. If you made a book, a zine, a poster or a sculpture, bring it to class to share with your classmates and loan to me to document over the weekend. You still need to photograph it and make a post to Tumblr. ***
Get it? Got it? Good. Now go!!!
As always, email me with any questions.
Here we go! We’re entering the second half of the term, and with that midway point comes a shift in our thinking.
We’ve been addressing theoretical questions (“What is the difference between design and art?”) and somewhat intangible practices (design and process!). But now we will start to look at some more concrete things: places and spaces and the people, communities, situations and interactions that happen within them.
This is a big week!
We will watch the documentary film Urbanized in class. I’ll introduce Project #2, a group project that is a collaboration with Alissa Walker and GOOD Ideas for Cities. I’ll assign your groups for this project. I’ll also give you input on how to document/present your work from Project #1.
Project #1 is due! Please turn in your tangible project or documentation of what you made or did. You will also need to turn in a reflection paper. Reference your Project #1 info sheet for guidance on the reflection paper.
We’ll discuss the film we watched on Tuesday and you will have a writing assignment, You And Your City, for the weekend.
The most important thing you can do in preparation for next week is to keep your eyes open as you move around the city this weekend. Notice the systems around you. Where does design play a role? What functions of the city are dictated by planning, and what functions of the city develop more organically?
See you all on Tuesday!
Portland sketch by Bill H. Sharp.
This week we asked the question, “What does it mean to be a graphic designer who works outside of a commercial context?”
We looked at work and ideas from Rural Studio and Project M. We Skyped in Maria and Jack from the Epicenter to talk about doing design work with a community. We read the First Things First manifestos from 1964 and 2000, and some of you wrote your own design manifestos. We went to visit the Studio H exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Craft and received an excellent tour from curator Namita Wiggers. (Thanks Namita!)
All in all, I think we had an excellent week!
As I said at the beginning of the week, I don’t intend to bash advertising or commercial work. Those things are a very powerful part of our culture and a large part of what we do as designers. The intention of this week’s topic was simply to expose us all to new ideas about what it means to be a graphic designer. Did you learn about new models of working? Do you look at your own creative practice in a different light?
The topic of community will come up a lot as we move into our next two weeks on design and cities and design and good. Thanks for a great week, everyone!
Photo above from Project M project Plot 63.
THIS IS WHAT IS HAPPENING ON THURSDAY.
We will meet in class. You will turn in your writing assignment. (See below.) Then we will take the streetcar to the Museum of Contemporary Craft. At 10:30 am, we will receive a walk-through of the Studio H exhibit from Namita Wiggers, the curator of the Museum. (We’re so lucky!) Class will be dismissed from the Museum and may end a bit early.
Student admission is $3. If this is a problem, please let me know via email ahead of time, and we’ll take care of it.
Meet in class. We’ll leave here at 10 and go together. The streetcar is free.
I recommend reading the About Section on Studio H from their website. I also recommend watching this TED talk from Emily Pilloton, the director of Studio H. You could also check out information about Project H, the “parent” organization.
WHAT IS DUE?
A) In response to the First Things First manifestos we read for class today, please pen your own manifesto. I am interested in what you take a stand for. What happens when you use strong language to talk about design? Are you trying to convince someone of something? What is your ideal model of practice, and what steps could you take to get there? What values drive your practice?
As we established in class, the First Things First manifestos had multiple parts and goals:
1. Establish a problem, conflict or issue
2. Use bold language and confident statements
3. Ask questions.
4. Include a call to action
5. Relate it back to your own values.
B) Using the readings as a starting point, answer the following question: What does it mean to be a graphic designer who works outside of a commercial context? What are those other contexts? What kinds of projects could you work on if you didn’t do commercial work? Is that a viable option?
Both options, A and B, should be one page minimum, double-spaced. Don’t stress.
Next week we will get into the topic of design and community. What does it look like when designers apply their creative and critical skills to a community context instead of a commercial context? How, as a graphic designer, can you help make people’s lives better? How, as a graphic designer, can you help facilitate social engagement? Is this even design at all?
We’ll ask those questions and more during our discussions and field trips next week.
Due: Please post your walk documentation to Tumblr by 9am, Tuesday morning.
Read: Please read the following for Tuesday. Remember to print the readings out and bring them to class! These links can also be found on the READ page of this blog.
Design is about Democracy, Introduction to the First Things First Manifesto by Rick Poynor
"About" section from The Epicenter’s website
Skype/Discussion: We’ll be beaming in Maria Sykes and Jack Forinash from The Epicenter to talk about designing with and for a specific community. Please have some questions in mind to ask them! Their “About” section is rich with interesting ideas.
Field Trip: We’ll go as a class to the Museum of Contemporary Craft to see the Studio H exhibit currently on display. I will let you know on Tuesday if we’ll meet at the museum or if we’ll meet in class and go together.
Due: You’ll have a reading/discussion response due. I will give you a question in class on Tuesday to base your writing on.
Remember, this is the last week you have to execute your Project #1. Work hard! Don’t get behind! You set your schedule in your proposals, so stick to it. We’ll use any extra in-class time to talk about your projects. But DO NOT HESITATE to reach out to me and your classmates for our input, critique and feedback. Email me. Post to the Tumblr if you need help.