Natasha Sopieva & Rajesh Dahiya
Theories of design will be introduced including definitions of design,
design methodology, and the designer's role in society. Topics covered
include composition, color, perception, visual communication, typography,
abstraction, and visual systems.
Students will gain practical experience working with the tools and elements
of visual design. Students will enhance their ability to scrutinize the
visual environment and will develop vocabulary for speaking about aspects
of visual design. Hand-eye coordination and presentation skills will develop
and students will be given the opportunity to use a number of digital
The principle activities for the class are a series of design exercises
and critiques. The exercises are augmented by a series of presentations
and readings which will be discussed in class. Exercises are reinforced
by a final project. Learning will be additionally augmented by a series
of discussions on different aspects of design theory.
Criteria for success
This course will be successful if students increase their capacity for
future learning in the domain of visual design. They should enhance their
ability to think critically about design and be able to intelligently
critique designed objects and systems. Upon completion of the course,
students should be familiar with different aspects of visual design and
have an awareness of how to manipulate visual form for the purposes of
Projects will be evaluated on their originality, aesthetic qualities,
and conceptual sophistication. Feedback will be primarily qualitative
but numeric scores will also be given for each exercise. Students will
either pass or not pass the class and a score of 70% or higher out of
100% is considered passing. The numeric breakdown follows:
60% Exercises 1-6
30% Exercise 7
If you will not be in class, it is your responsibility to inform the professor.
Failure to complete all exercises will result in not passing the course.
Students may continually resubmit their exercises before the end of the
course in order to raise their score.
During the course of the class you will need to have access to the following
. assorted drawing
. drawing paper
. black untextured paper
. white untextured paper
. gray board
. metal ruler
. white or clear tacks
. x-acto knife and extra blades
Optional materials include
. black ink
. black paint
. black and white tape
. black felt-tip markers
Learning to design
It is not possible to learn design through reading books
or listening to lectures. Design is learned through the process of creation
and making discoveries and mistakes.
Readings and Discussions
Be prepared to discuss all readings in class. For each reading, write
down what you feel is the author's key point and defend your choice with
several supporting examples.
Never cut on a surface other than a cutting mat and never use spraymount
anywhere other than the vented hood in the basement. These rules are important
for the safety of yourselves and the furniture.
Alexander, Christopher. Notes on the Synthesis of
Form. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, MA. 1964
Coyne, R. D et al. Knowledge-Based Design Systems. Addison Wesley. Reading,
Dondis, Donis. A Primer of Visual Literacy. MIT Press. Cambridge, MA.
Hofmann, Armin. Graphic Design Manual, Principles and Practices. Van Nostrand
Reinhold. New York, NY. 1965
Itten, Johannes. The Art of Color. John Wiley & Sons. New York, NY.
Kepes, Gyorgy. Language of Vision. Paul Theobald. Chicago, IL. 1944
Kunz, Willi. Typography: Macro + Micro Aesthetics. Niggli. Sulgen, Switzerland.
Lupton, Ellen and J. Abbott Miller. Design Writing Research. Princeton
Architectural Press. New York, NY. 1996
Margolin, Victor and Richard Buchanan. The Idea of Design. MIT Press.
Cambridge, MA. 1995
McCullough, Malcolm. Abstracting Craft, The Practiced Digital Hand. MIT
Press. Cambridge, MA. 1996
Meggs, Philip B. A History of Graphic Design. Van Nostrand Reinhold. New
York, NY. 1983
Mullet, Kevin and Darrell Sano. Designing Visual Interfaces, Communication
Oriented Techniques. SunSoft Press. Mountainview, CA. 1995
Papanek, Victor. Design for the Real World. Thames & Hudson. London,
Papanek, Victor. The Green Imperative, Natural Design for the Real World.
Thames & Hudson. New York, NY. 1995
Sontag, Susan. On Photography. Anchor Books (Doubleday). New York, NY.
Weingart, Wolfgang. Typography. Lars Muller Publishers. Baden, Switzerland.
Winograd, Terry ed. Bringing Design to Software. ACM Press. New York,