Classroom Visualisation

Visualize your classmates :

  • Geographical network: visualize the “migration paths”, the geographic origins of the different students.
  • Map of interests: produce a survey of “favorite art, movies, books, music”. Produce a chart or other visualization of the results.

Botanic Exploration

Projet idea for design schools that are surrounded by a green area (parc, garden).

  • Make a survey of the plants – trees and other species.
  • List the different species, their age, origin, and other characteristics.

Present the information in a visual way (data visualization). This project aims to engage student in ways to present statistical information visually, but also to improve their understanding of urban ecosystems.


Urban Hacking

Evan Roth, in interview with Constant:

It is really about the idea of hacking. The first assignment in the class is not to make anything, but simply to identify systems in the city. What are elements that repeat. Trying to find which ones you can slip into.


Animated GIF Loop

Assignment by Golan Levin: “My students have the assignment of generating an animated GIF loop (with @p5xjs or @ProcessingOrg code)”. September 2018.


Future Retro

An assignment by Boris Müller, Professor for Interaction Design at FH Potsdam

In 2017, I gave a web design class at the Interface Design Programme in Potsdam, Germany. Each team was asked to come up with a redesign for an existing website. The assignment was very clear: Treat the browser as a blank canvas and create expressive, imaginative visual experiences. Use the technological potential of current web technologies as a channel for your creativity. Do not be constrained by questions of usability, legibility, and flexibility. Have an attitude. Disregard Erwartungskonformität.

The results:

Source: Why Do All Websites Look the Same?, Medium, Oct 30 2018


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


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


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

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:

#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.”


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”.


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.