Core Design One

Through a series of in-class exercises and projects, students learn how to recognize and identify aspects of design process and form through an intensive realization environment. Students will often perform immersive exercises in idea conceptualization and form-making. Projects will be presented and assigned for homework. Short lectures, presentation and demonstrations will be utilized during class time. Students will learn how to preserve, document and present exercise and project process for discussions, evaluation and critiques. A key emphasis is on the value of the design process through active realization while developing individual confidence in formal production skills and knowledge of formal design vocabulary. Students will work with various mediums and methods for two-dimensional and three-dimensional forms.

The course is structured around 3 studio projects. The class also includes a series of lectures and supporting handouts and readings, videos to introduce projects or review contemporary practices, and software demos in our computer lab. At the core, the course intends to guide students to develop formal skills and a range of methodologies to shape and inform their design process. Students work individually in the first assignments and collaboratively in their final project, and they document their work in a design process book.

Selected student work

Project 01: The News

In this exercise students re-configure articles from major newspapers into small square posters to explore principles of composition while expressing the meaning of the news pieces. Each student prints and arranges the set of compositions into a booklet that includes title page and colophon, and uses a Japanese-binding technique.

This projects helps student understand best practices when working with raster images, retouching and saving files for documentation.

EastWest by Vivian Lin

Project 02: The Collection

This studio project is a communication design project thematically anchored in the role of objects in culture and asks students to construct a narrative around them. Students research and curate a collection of objects by analyzing them in a series of criteria (iconography, materials, rituals, practices, values, technology, environmental impact and life cycle, etc) and present them in a large scale poster.

The project is introduced with the movie “Objectified” which helps students identify critical aspects of the challenges in product design and, in general, generates open questions about the role of objects in our cultures.

Paper Shoes, hand spun toilet paper by Jaclyn Phillips

Project 02: Paper Shoes

This project is an introduction to material prototyping and user-centered design. Students are challenged to design footwear for someone other than themselves using only paper and glue. They learn about paper as a material, its qualities or a ordances, and some techniques for working with it. As designers we are typically working for someone other than ourselves and we must be evaluated every object in relationship to its intended user and purpose. Students learn the value of developing empathy for the user, understand their needs and the way they want to feel in the new shoes.

Design specifications:

Technical: final structures should be sturdy enough to hold a person’s weight while walking across the classroom. This requires testing before committing to a final design.

Emotional: The structures should address the users’ sense of self and express it through the visual/mechanic choices in the footwear based on the interviews, observations and feedback received from them.

Aesthetic: final structure must also demonstrate a sense of visual order, unity, harmony and completeness.

Inside ECU. This project proposes a redesign of Emily Carr’s internal website for course registration and student’s schedules. Students: Victoria Lee, Kenneth Ormandy, David Metcalfe, and Haoquian Liu

Project 03: Design Something Better

In this project students work in groups to apply the skills learned in previous assignments and develop their design process. This project covers formulating a design brief, conducting research and employing user-centred methodologies to inform their design proposals. Working collaboratively is an essential skill for solving complex problems in interdisciplinary teams; in this project students are guided to formulate individual roles and responsibilities, identify their skills, communicate and resolve conflicts, learn to negotiate group discussions and delegate individual tasks, and present their work to peers and guests during evaluations. Typical research methods introduced in this project include: secondary research, personas and scenarios, role-playing activities to test design proposals, simple questionnaires and surveys.

The final outcomes for this project include a working prototype (scale model for product or keynote prototype for apps or websites), a final presentation and a poster.