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briefs

Wikipedia Biographies

An assignment described by Dawn Bazely, University Professor in biology at York University, Toronto:

In 2014, I developed assignments requiring students to edit Wikipedia. One had them choose a woman scientist or an ecologist of any gender, and either start a Wikipedia page or add to their biography. This was partly to lure students into learning some HTML-style coding, but also so they would hone other important, transferrable skills. As a new Wikipedia editor, you learn to follow style rules and policies; you learn how to put work into the public domain while still guarding your intellectual property and how to create fact-checked Open Access Internet resources. I hope, too, this work instills a public-spirited enthusiasm for sharing knowledge.

Source: Washington Post, 8.10.2018

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briefs

Make a new word

Make a new word; expand the lexicon. New ways of thinking demand new forms of expression. Use the form of the word to reflect its secret meaning, enabling your classmates to adopt the word for usage in relation to your Idea. (Adapted from an assignment given at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in the Netherlands)

Source: Erin Hauber, Cottage Industries

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briefs

Oblique Strategies

You maybe heard about the Oblique Strategies, an infamous card set for idea generation, created in 1975 by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt. Not only has it been adapted and re-hashed numerous times in various media, including websites, a MaxMSP patch, and a reincarnation as anagrams.

It also appears to be a very popular subject of assignments in Interaction Design education. A search on Github returns currently 138 results, many of which appear to be teaching assignments.

3 reports for Oblique Strategies

#1 – Stratagèmes obliques, Eracom

Host institution: Eracom, Lausanne
Instructors: Aurélie Camuset, Manuel Schmalstieg
Timeframe: February-June 2018
Number of students: 11

This design assignment consisted in two parts: first, the students, working in pairs, had to create a series of 20 – 30 illustrations and to design a printed set of cards, including an original packaging.

The second part consisted in creating a website that would allow to browse the cards and illustrations. The website was completed in June 2018, and can be visited at oblique-strategies.github.io.

The source code is available on Github, and a detailed write-up has been posted.

#2 – Oblique Strategies at Westtown School, Philadelphia

An assignment by teacher and artist Chris Wills (AP Studio Art, Westtown School, Philadelphia).

In Graphic Design: Portfolio Development I developed a unit based on these challenges and directives. Students were tasked with transforming a project that they had developed earlier in the semester using one of the oblique strategies. This challenge allowed students to build on ideas of typography, narrative photography, or poster design that had already been studied in previous months. Students were not to revise the original work, but to transform it into something else altogether.  The designers had to include visual references to the original work within the new piece, but not replicate past work.

Source of the assignment: www.chriswillsart.com

#3 – Oblique Strategies at IXD Belfast

Host institution: IXD Belfast, Belfast School of Art
Instructors: Christopher Murphy (in 2017), Paul McCormack (in 2018)
Number of Students: 17
Type of Class: UX Module, Designing User Experiences

The brief, summarized by Paul McCormack:

The brief was to recreate a digital version of Eno and Schmidt’s Oblique Strategies. This could be in the form of an app or website, a connected device, an AR/VR piece… Anything that would push the boundaries and try to enhance the card-based principle of the original.

Some of the student projects:

Related links:
Source repository by instructor Christopher Murphy.
A browser extension for Chrome, created by William Park. “For this part of the masterclass, I took the oblique strategies idea and turned it into a Chrome Extension. The extension will show an oblique strategy every time the user opens a new tab.”

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briefs

A bird in the hand…

An assignment, created by a teacher at Central Saint Martins, quoted by Nina Paim in an interview at Brno Biennial:

‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’ – Prove this visually”.

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briefs

20-minute music app

A brief created by Hike One, a digital product design company from the Netherlands:

We gave 32 of our designers the assignment to create a music app in 20 minutes, in teams of 4. Every group was provided with a set of basic music icons and some music related imagery that gave them a head start.

Source: Medium, February 2017.

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briefs

Wikipedia drawings

This workshop proposes to participants to:

  • select a Wikipedia article that could benefit from an illustration.
  • produce an illustrative drawing for that article.

3 reports for Wikipedia drawings

#1 – Wikipedia Illustrated

“Wikipedia Illustrated” was a workshop initiated by artist/illustrator Galia Offri and by designer/educator Mushon Zer-Aviv.

Host institution: Transmediale, Berlin, February 2011

During the workshop at Transmediale, images are created as illustrations for articles such as: Ash heap of history, Hikikomori, Moustache …

Links:

#2 – Drawing for Wikipedia

Host institution: Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Parsons the New School for Design, New York
Timeframe: October-November, 2012 (three workshop sessions)

A proposal by Michael Mandiberg, building on the work of Wikipedia Illustrated and others. Illustrators and graphic designers are invited to join Michael Mandiberg to create images and illustrations for environmentally oriented Wikipedia pages.

Our goal will be to use visual language to explain complex concepts without over simplifying them. This could range from the factual, such as diagrams of biological or chemical phenomena, maps of environmental issues/disasters, or charts, to the poetic or expressive.

Links:

#3 – Wikipedia drawings : design portraits

Host institution: Eracom, Lausanne
Timeframe: half day (4 hours)

During a half day workshop, a group of five students has created portraits of major figures of swiss design history, in order to illustrate their articles on Wikipedia: Karl Gerstner, Armin Hofmann, Josef Müller-Brockmann, Emil Ruder, Rosmarie Tissi, Wolfgang Weingart

Participants: Sophie Berry, Teo Dolci, Nelson Tavares, Samantha Trinkler, Marina Volet.

 

Links: 

The portraits on Wikimedia Commons

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briefs

Student Bio Website

Use the basics of HTML to make a personal website.

Source: Sara Shields, web design and publishing course, Texas State University.

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briefs

CSS Zen Garden

In this assignment, students create their own version of the CSS Zen Garden.

Source: Scott Granneman, teaching at Washington University, St. Louis.

Observation: it could be interesting to do an exercice that is “similar to it but on a component level”. For an example, see the article “Same HTML, Different CSS” by Ahmad Shadeed.

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briefs historical

Composition with initials

Rosmarie Tissi, in an interview by Louise Paradis (TM Research Archive), describes an assignment for a workshop she directed at Yale in 1991:

For the Yale workshop I thought of something simple and asked the class to make a composition with their initials. An easy task but some of the results were almost paintings; some very esoteric.

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briefs

Calendar Grid

A design problem by Ellen Lupton, from Graphic Design: The New Basics (2008):

  1. Create a spread in a two-page document. Each page is 7.5 x 7.5 inches.
  2. Devise a weekly calendar system that divides each page into seven days. Use lines, shapes, and typography to mark and identify the space. Leave space for a user to write down notes and appointments.
  3. Think creatively about the underlying problem. The rhythm and structure of the grid can be vertical or horizontal, regular or irregular, rectilinear or diagonal.