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5 Outline

í Unit 18: Reflection

Unit 18 slides (PDF)

Design an outward-facing expression of your reflective process.

A print product
An on-screen experience
An object

You are making a practical but expressive tool that you will use to facilitate your end-of-year discussions.

Community (GD Commons, 5/18, 11:20am)
Your instructor (5/18)
Your end-of-year review (5/25)

Pages from DS4_May9_2016

We began the semester by asking you to ask questions.

This weekend, set aside some time away from distractions to think about those questions in relation to your own progress this semester.

What’s working?
What do you consider to be your strongest accomplishments as a designer so far?
What are your biggest challenges moving forward?
Where do you need help?

What inspires you?

What are your hopes for moving forward?

How have your design values evolved?

Try to be honest and clear with yourself.

This kind of awareness is crucial to any creative practice.

An essential part of becoming a designer is recognizing the importance of reflection and self-evaluation.

Ideally, it’s a continuous part of your growth process, in school and beyond.

Wednesday May 11
Unit 17 review

Monday May 16
Unit 18 design studio

Wednesday May 18
Unit 18 review
11:30–12:30 Full group in GD Commons
12:30–4:20 Individual meetings

Wednesday May 25
Juniors end-of-year review

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í Unit 17: Overview and assignment

How do we design Design?

More and more, designers are expanding their traditional role as service provider into positions of greater agency. Today, the designer as author, producer, entrepreneur or cultural critic is common. Whatever the challenge, designers are now able to activate their own ideas and shape projects and products for users and audiences directly. How do we design the design process to best serve these relationships? In this unit—your most in-depth Design Studio project at RISD to date—you’ll begin by identifying your own interest that stimulates an inquiry reflecting your own questions, values and identity as a designer.

Learning objectives
— to become intimately aware of the “process of design” as an unfolding creative experience.
— to develop a project experience of personal interest and value.
— to develop a natural unfolding process deliberately guided by visual search.
— to ensure a meaningful enfolding of ideas into a final resolution.

Process phases and schedule
Unit#17 Phase 1:

1) Identify your main interest condensed into a single word by reflecting briefly on your response to Unit#15’s question (and sub-questions): What are my design values? Do so in a very short time!
IMPORTANT: DO NOT have project any product or design—keep your mind open!
2) Respond to this via a “making” process of VISUAL SEARCH (to draw, sketch, diagram, form, build, etc.). See the “Conditional Making” below to help you get into this “making” process)
3) From this visual response evolve a simplified “design brief” (meant to evolve over time).
4) For MONDAY 4/11: present this visual search for group review, to fill at least one table, structured in a self-explanatory “narrative” that allows us to respond to what you share from your experience. Present only the results. Do not describe, or explain.

Conditional Making: Choose 2–3 conditions from this list:

— a physical place (a nation, a region, a spot down by the canal, a wall, a pathway, the mall etc.)
— a tool (scanner, copy machine, snapchat, after effects, dropbox, tape, brush, glue, letterpress etc.)
— a method or action (appropriation, collage, collaboration, gaming, blow up, repeat, erase, etc.)
— content / material (newspaper, books, wiki articles, photo archive, googled street view, poem, letters, etc.)
— a physical context (getting dressed, reading a book, taking care of a child, watching a movie, sending
email, riding a train, browsing the web, online shopping, to-do lists, texting a friend etc.)
— an emotional context (make someone happy, take away pain, make yourself laugh, reduce anxiety, etc.)

(For example: scanner, getting dressed, at the mall; or: masking tape, by the canal, make someone happy.)

Using your conditions, pose your questions, make your inquiries, and follow the process….

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B Unit 16: Readings & links (updated)


“An American had done the Louvre in nine minutes, forty-five seconds. They decided to do better.”
(from Bande à part, Jean-Luc Godard, 1964)

“The Museum Interface” a conversation between Sarah Hromack and Rob Giampietro



“Horrified art lovers watch as children climb all over $10m work of modern art at the Tate Modern”

ways of seeing
John Berger’s Ways of Seeing (BBC Documentary Series)

Ways of Seeing Ways of Seeing. (a website collecting PDFs of the book version of Ways of Seeing)


Dust at MoMA.
also: MoMA’s Dusty Windows on facebook.

Building a Bigger Picture
An Interview with Rob Giampietro (RISD Thesis Critic, Google Design NY)

Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight

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í Unit 16: Overview and assignment


Community Music Works Fellow Shawn LeSure performing by the Dainichi Buddha in the RISD Museum (March 2015)

How can all of our senses be used to design and communicate experience?

As graphic designers we tend to privilege a visual perspective. But experience actually relies on all our senses (touch, sound, smell, taste, visual), inevitably part of one’s total nature for experience. When we set out to capture experience, with the goal of informing others, can we do so in multiple dimensions? How might we use all of our senses to enhance understanding? In this unit, we’ll look at translating sensory input — in the form of a fully immersive, shared experience at the RISD Museum — into experiential output.

You will begin by setting aside expectations and entering the RISD Museum with a beginner’s mind, searching for discrete moments that you connect to using an array of senses. You will identify five of these sensory “inputs” — experiences in the museum that are important to you — and record them in some way. These inputs will be developed, expanded and refined into a series of five output expressions that communicates some aspect of the museum to a public audience.

Think of this project as an investigation in experiential design at the scale of the body in physical space, with the museum collections, gallery spaces, surfaces, sounds and smells as your content. How will you record, develop, design and articulate this experience in ways that capture the essence of your content? How might your design project go beyond the conventions for marketing an arts institution?

Learning objectives
— Learn to sharpen sensory input into rich output
— Explore design experientially as a means to understanding
— Develop products that reflect information and experience
— Develop an understanding of relational design (user experience, social context, environment)

Part 1: Five inputs (1.5 weeks)
— Engage with the RISD Museum.
— Use all senses to explore and inquire: sight (seeing), sound (hearing), touch (feeling), smell (olfactory), taste (oral). Note that time may also be used as another “sense.”
— Record your experiences.
— Communicate your experiences to the studio.

Part 2: Development (1 week)
— Focus on at least two experiences from the museum.
— Expand these into multiple ideas and forms.

Part 3: Five outputs (2 weeks)
— Consider your audience and develop the ideas into a project that communicates your sensory experience of the museum.
— Design your project into five outputs that express the museum experience.
— Prototype your design.
— Work collaboratively to present an installation of your projects in the GD Commons.

Things to consider:
— How do you communicate personal values and insights from your experience?
— What are the platforms and media to best communicate your ideas?
— Can others (teams, sharing) help you appreciate the value to the whole?
— What role does time play in sensory experience?

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í Unit 18: Reflection

How do reflection, documentation and synthesis facilitate awareness?

Throughout the semester you will develop your own reflective process, running parallel to the other units. Nurturing a daily practice that notes your experience and insights (experiments, failures, interests, questions, methodologies) is a bridge to learning. In this unit you will give yourself a space to nurture this practice. In addition, a final Reflective Process Document will be prepared during your final 2 weeks of the semester.

— Nurture your reflective practice daily via written notes on your DS studio work and experiences.
— Even if only for a minute or so.
— Write spontaneously.
— Use any writing style that feels comfortable and natural to you.

— Feel free to add visual notes, as needed.

— Don’t belabor it! This is not an English class, not a thesis, not a test.

You will be asked to share your reflective process with your instructor at various times throughout the semester. This is not meant to “prove” anything but rather to show evidence of your attention to your work. There may be no response/critique.

Process Document
Towards the end of the semester, you will be asked to synthesize your notes into a more finished process document that will be shared with your instructor, to be graded as Unit 18. We will spend time on this during the last two weeks of the semester. More details to come.

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í Unit 15: Overview

What are my design values?

Often, we are called upon to respond to a design challenge with solutions. But deep insight into a design process begins with awareness, self-directed inquiry and questions, not answers. If we allow uncertainty and risk into our practice, even vulnerability, we might get closer to our own values and identity as a designer. Unintended consequences and surprise can be key ingredients in the search for our own position in the world of design. In this introductory unit we will practice a questioning stance as preparation for your last semester in the Design Studio sequence, and for the faculty to take note of your needs and interests.

— Begin by yourself. Using the index cards, generate a series of questions around your own interests in design. What is important to you? (30 minutes)
— There are no right or wrong questions, but try to ask questions that are open to flexible opinions and points of view (rather than yes/no questions). Open is good. Try to be as authentic as possible to your own identity as a designer.

— Now, pair up. Interview each other about your questions. Test them. . . how do they hold up to conversation? Try asking: why — what if — how — how might we? Which questions resonate? Which are most important? Choose three. (60 minutes)
— Double the groups and expand the conversation. Discuss your sets of questions. (30 minutes)

— Give form to one (or two but no more than three) of your questions with image, text and/or objects. (60 minutes)

— Install your expression in the GD Commons and be ready for a group discussion at 5pm.

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