Posted: January 21st, 2023
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Step 1: Choose a Design Movement
Instead of following a link, this week you’ll pick a design movement. You can pick one from the lists below. Or if you want, you can find a movement that’s not on the list. Just check with me before you use it.
A traditional American design story…
If you pick up a book or visit a website about European or American design history, you’ll probably see these movements (or similar versions with different names). They had a big influence on the development of European and American design, and when you put them all together they tell a straightforward, interesting story.
We’re also still using them today. Even though some of them are more than 100 years old, designers are still creating products, buildings and images that fit neatly into these categories.
Arts and Crafts
This list is helpful for understanding European and American design, but there are lots of other movements to choose from. These are some of my favorites. Either I see them a lot in my own life, or they’re something interesting that I recently encountered and I want to learn more.
Brutalism (or Brutalist Design)
You’re welcome to choose a movement from this list. Or, like I mentioned above, you can choose another movement that you think is especially interesting.
Step 2: Analyze the movement
Write a short, informal analysis about the movement. Imagine you’re writing this for a new friend who isn’t studying design. You can use informal, conversational language. But you also need to include enough information that your friend understands what you’re saying.
Please include this information:
What movement did you choose?
How would you describe it?
What’s its story? What inspired it? When did it emerge?
How did people respond?
How does it compare to other design movements from its era?
Who contributed to this design? Is it attributed to an individual, a group of people? Are there well-known designers in this movement? Who are they?
What are your 5 favorite designs from this movement? Please describe each one. Include pictures if you can. And let us know why they are your favorites.
How are people using it today? Are people still creating things that would fit into this movement?
In your opinion, what is good about this movement? Why?
In your opinion, what is bad about this movement? Why?
Your final document should be 750-1250 words long.
Let people speak for themselves
When you discuss someone’s goals or priorities, let them speak for themselves. A direct quote, where a designer specifically talks about their goals, is the best option. Second-hand accounts from reputable sources that use fact-checking or peer review are pretty good too.
The same thing applies when you discuss the effects that a design has on users, makers and other stakeholders. Whenever you can, let them speak for themselves. When that’s not an option, use fact-checked or peer-reviewed sources.
Either way, make sure you cite your sources. Since we’re using an informal, conversational tone for these assignments, I recommend using informal citations, like this one:
This online guide from the Design Institute of San Diego has excellent guidelines for using informal citations.
It feels like everyday conversation, and it gives us all the information we need to find the source ourselves. Also, the Design Institute of San Diego’s guide is excellent. Please read it.
Step 3: Evaluate your work
This is your checklist to make sure you’ve included all of the important stuff. It will also help us find everything when we grade your assignment. We’ll use something like it for most of our deliverables.
Highlight the important stuff
Read through your assignment. Use your word-processor’s highlighter tool to mark these things:
The name of the movement you chose
A description of the movement
What inspired the movement
How people responded to the movement
Important people who are associated with the movement
Your favorite designs from this movement
What’s good about this movement
What’s bad about this movement
Some of these sections may be several sentences long. Don’t worry about highlighting the whole thing. Just highlight the first 5-10 words, or the first sentence.
Step 4: Submit your document
Save your document as a PDF and submit it via Canvas.
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