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briefs ideas

Another year in web design

A few years ago, Taschen released a heavy volume of web design history – Web Design: The Evolution of the Digital World 1990-Today.

The survey in the book ends in 2018.

In this brief, students are asked to continue the story by adding a new chapter – how does the current year in web design look like? They will have to identify current design trends, major innovations, notable websites, and organize the information following the examples in the book.

Depending on the number of students, they can work on one year, or on several missing years (2019, 2020, 2021…).

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briefs

music and photographs

This brief is inspired by this line, by photographer Joséphine Michel, on her collaboration with Mika Vainio:

Écouter tous les matins un de ses albums, puis aller photographier des lieux en correspondance avec sa musique. Dans la nature, ou dans les musées de sciences

Source: Fisheye Magazine

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briefs ideas

Layer tennis

Engage students in a tournament of “layer tennis” (also known as Photoshop ping-pong”. According to Wikipedia:

The players pick a starting image, or one is “served” by a player, then another player makes some sort of alteration to the image in any chosen image editor (matches are not exclusive to Adobe Photoshop). They then send the altered image to the other player or players, usually via e-mail or by posting the image to a Photoshop tennis forum, who then edits that image and sends it back to the first player. This process goes back and forth until a predetermined number of rounds have elapsed, or the players otherwise wish to end the game.

Ressources:

Categories
historical

twenty variations of a small size newspaper ad

In the 2014/04 issue of TM-RSI, Helmut Schmid writes a recollection:

My first typographic exercice under Emil Ruder was twenty variations of a small size newspaper ad. Eight of them were shown in November 1961 in Graphisches abc, a german magazine for apprentices of the graphic trade.

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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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briefs

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.
Jennifer Daniel (March 23 2020), Talk to Me: The Evolution of Emoji, Google Design

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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.

Categories
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.