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briefs

campaign website from the past

Students have to design a website for a historical figure (maybe from a list provided by the instructor).

Example carried out in 2021 by student Messaline Piette at Eracom, Lausanne:

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briefs

Instagram Stories

A brief proposed by Frederik Mahler-Andersen : students have to create an Instagram Story, as a series of short animations (combining video, image, text). The topic has to be a news article chosen by the student.

An example, carried out over five weeks with a graphic design class at Eracom: https://www.instagram.com/eracom_gr491/

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Create a new emoji

Create a new emoji character. Go through a brainstorming process to come up with useful new emoji types. Design them, in the style of different emoji / OS alphabets (Google, Twitter, OpenMoji…).

Study the emoji submission process:

https://unicode.org/emoji/proposals.html

Get inspired by actual emoji proposals : https://www.unicode.org/emoji/charts/emoji-proposals.html

Get inspired by the OpenMoji styleguide:

https://openmoji.org/styleguide/

Related reading: Ellen Lupton, Design is Storytelling, p. 100.

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briefs

a new face for the apple watch

An assignment by David Reinfurt, from his Advanced Graphic Design at Princeton University. Reinfurt describes this assignment in the liner notes for an exhibition of student work, held at Hurley Gallery, Lewis Arts complex, in 2017:

The assignment is simple and lasts the full semester — design a new face for the apple watch which tells the time, and (by design) also changes the way you *read* the time. Simple, no? The students begin by considering, with a broad historical scope, how the representation of time affects the ways we understand it and use it.

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briefs

100 day project

An assignment by Michael Bierut, that he described in 2011 on the Design Observer blog:

For the past five years, I’ve taught a workshop for the graduate graphic design students at the Yale School of Art. The specific dates always change, but the basic assignment goes something like this:

Beginning Thursday, October 21, 2010, do a design operation that you are capable of repeating every day. Do it every day between today and up to and including Friday, January 28, 2011, the last day of the project, by which time you will have done the operation one hundred times. That afternoon, each student will have up to 15 minutes to present his or her one-hundred part project to the class.

The only restrictions on the operation you choose is that it must be repeated in some form every day, and that every iteration must be documented for eventual presentation. The medium is open, as is the final form of the presentation on the 100th day.

In the article, Bierut shares some of the most amazing outcomes.

Other examples

Guillaume Berry publishes on the blog of swiss design agency Antistatique his “100 Days of Lettering” challenge. Other designers taking part are Francis Chouquet and Chris Campe.

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briefs

typeset an assigned quote

An assignment given by Dan Boyarski at CMU.

Described by (then-student) Dan Saffer in a July 2003 blog post:

Our first assignment is to set an assigned quote in 10pt. Frutiger (one weight only) in a 7″ square, horizontal type only. In at least 10 variations.

Strangely enough, my quote is from the Tao Te Ching, a book I have sitting on my desk beside all my design books. The passage I have to set begins, “A great square has no corners.” But just before that is a passage I am thinking about now, here in school:

The Way’s brightness looks like darkness;
Advancing on the Way feels like retreating;
the plain Way seems like hard going.

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briefs

six pages of a fake journal

An assignment described by student Dan Saffer at CMU in November 2004:

Journal Layout. For Graduate Typography, designing and laying out six pages of a fake journal. We got to choose the content, so mine is a literary journal whose theme is “20 Years of Don DeLillo’s White Noise.”

In an update on December 2004, Dan shares his work:

Above is an image from my final typography project: two spreads and the front and back cover of a fake literary/arts journal called Cadence. I chose the 20th anniversary of White Noise, Don DeLillo’s National Book Award-winning novel, as my subject matter.

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briefs

Intermorphable Alphabet

An assignment by Golan Levin in his Introduction to Interactive Graphics course at CMU. Described in 2004 by student Dan Saffer in the following terms:

The project was to come up with a “font” in which any letter can morph into any other letter. Mine is a “block and bubbles” alphabet, composed of bubbles inside blocks that move around. I tried (unsuccessfully) to get the bubbles to break out of the blocks while moving, but I never got it to work right.

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briefs

A Place You’ve Never Visited

Another assignment described by then-student Dan Saffer on his blog, on October 3 2004:

We’ll be creating a poster about a place we’ve never visited. It can be a real or imaginary place.

The poster is supposed to be very impressionistic. That is, we’re not to get images of the actual place, but instead gather images and words about the texture, smell, architecture, and culture of the place. How we imagine it to be.

I’ve chosen a place I’ve always wanted to visit but have never gotten around to it: Iceland.

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briefs

Onomatopoeia Poster

A brief from CMU, described in 2004 by Dan Saffer:

It’s a multi-tiered project that just starts with creating a type treatment of an onomatopoetic word in a 20″x20″ square. Words like “wow” or “hiss” or “plop.” My word, if the title of this post hasn’t already given it away: booYAH!

Dan Saffer, September 24, 2004

To recap, this poster involved combining an onomatopoetic word (pop, wow, zap) with another word and an image. The three things together were supposed to make some sort of statement. Mine is, not surprisingly, political.

Dans Saffer, November 16, 2004