Categories
briefs

user empathy challenge

A brief created at Automattic, for members of the design team:

“Our task was to pick one of our fellow designers’ blog posts and come up with a plan to get it over 1,000 views on a financial budget of $20 and a time budget of two hours.”

Read more on the Automattic Design Blog.

Categories
briefs

retype five pages of content

An assignment by Kenneth Goldsmith, at University of Pennsylvania:

One class assignment asks students to retype five pages of content of their choice. Students who type out everything from restaurant menus to presidential speeches often find the assignment relaxing, Goldsmith said. It’s the first time they can just focus on the act of typing, instead of struggling to argue a thesis or create an original piece of work, he added.

The Daily Pensylvanian, 2011

Goldsmith writes about it:

Others say that it was the most intense reading experience they ever had, with many actually embodying the characters they were retyping. Several students become aware that the act of typing or writing is actually an act of performance, involving their whole body in a physically durational act (even down to noticing the cramps in their hands). Some of the students become intensely aware of the text’s formal properties and for the first time in their lives began to think of texts not only as transparent, but as opaque objects to be moved around a white space.

Categories
briefs

Internet Famous

An assignment created by teachers Jamie Wilkinson, Evan Roth and James Powderly, at Parsons (The New School for Design). It was carried out in 2007 and 2008.

This course is dedicated to learning how to spread your work to the widest possible audience online. We study the art and science of getting hits. And in an academic first, students’ grades will be awarded by a piece of software that helps students track their websites & online accounts and monitor their popularity in real-time.

Sites like Digg, del.icio.us, YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Technorati, Alexa, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and many more will be mined for data relevant to the amount of attention a student is receiving, such as view counts, friend counts, inbound blog links, the length and intelligence level of comments, and more. This raw data is calculated into a “Famo Index Score” that will be mapped onto the Parsons Graduate Grade Scale Description, and each student given a grade from an A to an F.

Dedicated website (Archive) : https://web.archive.org/web/20111103100655/http://internetfamo.us/class/about

Coverage:

Categories
briefs

Font Collections

In this assignment, students are asked to create a “Font Collection”: a selection of typefaces related through some concept.

I carried out this assignment during an afternoon (3 hours) in November 2016, at Eracom, Lausanne.

The original project brief can be found here (in French). In short:

Concrètement, chaque groupe aura comme mission de:

  • Sélectionner un ensemble de 10 fontes.
  • Donner un titre à cet ensemble (par exemple: “Ultimate Monospace Type Collection”, “Grotesques et Arabesques”, “Fermentation Belge”, etc). Approchez la chose comme si vous deviez constituer une compilation de musique, une mixtape…
  • Créer un graphique servant de “pochette” à sa collection.
  • Créer un dossier qui contient les fontes (format TTF ou OTF), la pochette (format PNG), et un fichier README.MD avec la liste des 10 fontes, leurs sources, leurs auteurs.
  • Publier la collection sur GitHub.

The results are presented on this site: https://eracom-gr451.github.io/font-collections/

Categories
ideas

Stock Photography

The students are requested to create “stock photography” of some topicc – for instance, their city. They will create lots of photographs (maybe also video) of different key locations, and publish them online, on stock photography platforms.

The produced content can serve as base material for further briefs, becoming part of the schools photography database. This will raise questions of how to manage, to share and to classify such a database.

Categories
briefs

Sound Walk

An assignment by Marc Weidenbaum, posted on Disquiet in 2017:

Categories
ideas

24-hour video time capsule

The participants will collectively create a continuous 24-hour video recording. This recording will be a “time capsule” documenting a day and night in their chosen surrounding (city). The video should ideally never cut. It should be a nearly continuous stream. The participants will have to:

  • Form small groups that are in charge of a certain time segment of the 24 hours.
  • Organise the logistics for transport, food, sleep, electricity, charging batteries.
  • Plan events, encounters, visits, discussions, micro-performances… for their segment.

Background: the idea for this brief comes from an audio project I did in 2002, when I produced a 24-hour audio recording, using two minidisk recorders. Nearly 20 years later, such a project can be done in video!

Equipment: the best currently available technology for immersive video recording should be used. In 2020, this is probably “360 degree video”. An interesting option would be the Insta360 One X, a standalone 360 camera, selling for $400 USD. The storage capacity needed, if filming at 4K@30fps resolution, according to camera specs, would be 615 GB – that’s 3 x 256GB SD cards, selling currently for ca $75 (for example SanDisk 256GB Extreme PRO).

 

Categories
briefs historical

A square, 30 cm by 30 cm

An example of Kandinsky’s assignments during his teaching at the Bauhaus. Cited in Teaching at the Bauhaus (Wick, 2000, p. 201), from the notes of a participant in Kandinsky’s course:

In Kandinsky’s class we were given a real vacation assignment, but it isn’t bad. A square, 30 cm by 30 cm, is to be divided up into 5 by 10 cm rectangles. The following colors are to be used: 3 primary, 3 secondary, and 3 uncolored (black, white, gray). The arrangement of the colored rectangles is entirely up to you as long as they are horizontal and vertical, not diagonal. It’s also up to you how often you use each color, so long as every color is used at least once. The task is as follows:

1. emphasize the center.
2. balance top and bottom.

Categories
briefs

Design deliverables for a WordCamp

In this assignment, students will design deliverables for a WordCamp of their choice. Typical deliverables include:

  • A logo
  • A website header
  • An identity (font and colour palette)
  • A visual style for the website

Students will interact remotely with the organisers they will collaborate with. This will provide them with an experience in project management and professional communication.

Some resources:

Categories
briefs

Digital tools for emancipation

A brief by Geoffrey Dorne. In French: “Des outils numériques pour s’émanciper”. Mentioned during a talk at BlendWebMix.

On va travailler sur les outils numériques pour s’émanciper. On va imaginer des dispositifs pour répondre au besoin d’une personne pour la rendre plus indépendante, plus résiliante, plus autonome. Vous utiliserez la méthodologie d’ethno design et les techniques de prototypage.

Geoffrey Dorne published a blog post describing a similar workshop in 2017.