The basic principle is this: that all human landscape has cultural meaning, no matter how ordinary that landscape may be. It follows, as Mae Thielgaard Watts has remarked, that we can “read the landscape” as we might read a book. Our human landscape is our unwitting autobiography, reflecting our tastes, our values, our aspirations, and even our fears, in tangible, visible form.
As we think about design in place, and design in cities, it’s important to keep observing. Think about your first writing assignment, wherein you were asked to observe your surroundings and document them in written form. How else can we interpret what we see around us? How else can we document and translate, and then ACT in response to our immediate environment?
When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we’ve already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.
Bruce Mau (via charlottexcsullivan)
TOTALLY appropriate re: today’s class! Thanks for such a great discussion and collaborative brainstorm, you guys!
But note that we had breakthrough ideas and creative thinking throughout recorded history, long before designers entered the scene. When we examine the process in detail, what is labeled as “design thinking” is what creative people in all disciplines have always done.
— Don Norman, 25 June 2010
An interesting thought! Do you agree?
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.
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 is another set of thoughts from Megan Deal that will inform our conversations during Week 6, Design and Good. Some of this is very very relevant to our discussions about working with, for, and in communities as a designer.
There are several “Design for Good” entities that will likely never move past surface-level efforts for social change until they realize that systems change is (1) a cross-disciplinary sport, (2) a long haul and (3) not always popular.
Until designers find a way to move beyond our networks of peer support, the result of any Design for Good (or Social Design if you prefer) Lab, Workshop, Blitz, Brainstorm, Think Tank, Do Tank, Summit, Session, etc will forever be a bunch of designers (“top creative minds” if you will) sitting in a hallway for seven days dreaming up big ideas, without the capacity or knowledge-based needed to implement and sustain.
Megan Deal very articulately captures some of the questions we raised in class this week about what it means to be a graphic designer who works or seeks to work outside of a commercial context.
If you’re not following her blog, please do so.
The past few weeks have proven somewhat frustrating as I continue this struggle to define what exactly I’m aiming to do, both in Detroit and in Design. This, I believe is largely to do with the fact that I am still sitting ever so vigilantly on the borderline between design as we’ve come to expect it, (design for business, for beauty, for consumption) and a design the deficiencies of the world are demanding us towards, (design for humanity, for civic change, for community empowerment). My right foot steps cautiously, albeit anxiously, towards the latter, while my left foot, left arm, two-thirds of my brain and two-thirds of my time rest soundly in the former.
I am caught deep in the cycle of ‘as usual,’ with no solid indicator of how to break through and move beyond.
During my walk, I headed up into the hills behind PSU. I didn’t really fall into any style or focus for my photos, but just capturing anything that caught my eye. I really enjoyed taking this walk and have been wanting to take more pictures, definitely planning on doing it more in the future.
- Jesse Weeg