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)
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.
#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.
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:
– 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.”
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.
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.
Participants design a specimen book of typefaces. They select a number of interesting typefaces, and create specimen pages. The pages are assembled into a book, which may be published using a print-on-demand service.
Typical steps during this brief:
Define the scope of the book: What type of typefaces are to be chosen? How many pages will be produced by each participant? What will be the sample text?
Create a specimen template that will be used by each participant. Each student should design a template, and during a critical session one of the template is chosen.
Once the template is defined, the students can begin to create the specimens.
In addition to the template-based specimens, each students should design a few pages of freeform, individual specimens where they can to break all rules and display the fonts in unexpected ways.
To finish the book, some more things must be designed: cover page, backcover, introduction pages, index.
Bibliography: to give the students a frame of reference and inspiration, it’s a good idea to show them some specimen books. Maybe your school has some of them in the library. A few examples: specimen books by designers (Jean-Baptiste Levée, Radim Pesko), the iPad app of FontFont, the Free Font Index, books by Fred Smeijers…
Second implementation of the “Specimen Books” workshop.
Host institution:EAA La Chaux-de-Fonds. Instructor: Manuel Schmalstieg Timeframe: May 2013, 5 half-day sessions (ca. 20 hrs).
Following the success of the first implementation at HEAD Geneva, I proposed a second iteration of that workshop concept to a class in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
Participants: Olivier Borel, Patricia Monteiro, Anthony Bühler, Lori Droel, Emilie Mojon, Yannick Chautems, Marie Lechot, Quantin Perrenoud.
Some differences compared to the previous workshop:
– Instead of working with Adobe InDesign, students worked with open-source layout software Scribus.
– Instead of one common sample text, students chose a different text for each specimen. The concept: descriptions of films taken from french Wikipedia (the title of the film isn’t revealed).
– The workshop duration was 50% shorter: 20 hours (5 half-day sessions).
Final result: a PDF of 153 pages, gathering 79 specimens. The attempt to produce a print version failed due to time constraints.