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.
Design a self-contained website that measures time (hours, minutes, possibly seconds or milliseconds).
In other words, create a digital watch face, filling a screen, written in HTML/CSS/JS (and maybe SVG).
Possible improvement: if you want to focus on “best development practices”, you could have the students work up to a certain point on their project, then re-assign them randomly. Students will have to complete and debug the code of another student. This will be a lesson in code readability. See this Github thread.