Learning Activity 1.1
Go to the conference area of the WebBoard and place your first entry by making a statement about graphic design based on the activity that you have come to understand it to be as a practitioner. Make this your naïve, but genuine, summary/definition and we will use your collective descriptions as our starting point for a discussion of what graphic design is.
Don’t worry if you think your definition is rubbish at the end of the discussion – it is not going to be assessed, but it is important that it be a genuine expression of opinion. If I were asking this question within an RMIT course environment, I would expect a certain uniformity of answer but since we are a diverse, international group, it will be interesting to see what variety of definition emerges.
Learning Activity 1.2
Graphic design keywords
I want you to start your analysis of graphic and communication design by going to a copy of The Greater Oxford Dictionary (the big multi-volume one at your nearest public or university library) and exploring in a similar manner to Raymond Williams the definitions of the terms graphic design and communication design. Add these definitions to your discussions on the conference area of the WebBoard and see if they alter your personal definitions of design as an activity. Do Raymond Williams’ five keywords mentioned in Culture and Society seem significant here?
Learning Activity 1.3
Meaning and the design process
After reading Fry’s chapter you should be much better able to critique your original ‘naïve’ statement (and those of your fellow students!). Start by doing this on the conference area of the WebBoard.
After this, start to address each of the above points in relation to the concept of graphic design that is developing within the group.
Note especially Fry’s discussion of Jean Baudrillard’s political economy of the sign and try to apply this to some specific graphic design examples. Through discussion on the conference area of the WebBoard we will decide whether you submit some found examples or whether I supply them for discussion.
Learning Activity 2.1
Visual language journal
Start to assemble a visual journal of design elements, taking care to cover every inflection of meaning that might be present in those design elements. Try and differentiate between meanings that might be contained in sign-elements in their own right, and those that are only ascribed through juxtaposition.
Assemble the visual signs on the conference area of the WebBoard, using the design elements as categories; annotate each one briefly, followed by your initials. Feel free to make comment or expand on others' contribution. Start with your initials when you do that.
Learning Activity 2.2
Visual language journal
You have started the assembly of a visual journal of design elements, and now I want you to find the best examples of symbolic, iconic and indexical signs. Again, try and differentiate between meanings that might be contained in signs in their own right, and those that are ascribed through juxtaposition. Try and hunt out some signs that might be national in the sense that they might only relate to your national culture or language.
Assemble the visual signs on the conference area of the WebBoard, using the three sign types as categories. Annotate each one briefly, followed by your initials. Feel free to make comment or expand on others’ contribution. Start with your initials when you do that.
Learning Activity 2.3
Visual language journal
Add to your visual language journal by collecting a wide range of global and other logos and by arranging them in the logo/logo mark/logotype categories. Add your ideas about the qualities and strengths and weaknesses of the logos presented and feel free to comment on the logos others have collected.
Learning Activity 3.1
Go to the conference area of the Webboard and see if we can get a discussion going on the topic of media form.
- Between yourselves discuss how important media forms are to your conception of graphic design.
- Which of Williams’ ideological blocks do you think you have suffered from? What about your design education?
- Maybe you can relate some incidents and post some examples of your own work that have made you aware of factors of media form that have affected your design concepts in your own practice.
Learning Activity 3.2
Let’s go back to the conference area of the WebBoard and reassess our views on media in the light of McLuhan.
- Think about the ways that McLuhan views media and how these might be important to the way graphic design is used.
- Is ‘the look’ of graphic design in the media technologically driven?
- Should the process of media be an important issue to graphic designers?
- What do media forms tell you about reception?
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Learning Activity 3.3
team building a template of change
Using the discussion board, start to accumulate historical and contemporary visual material and facts that illustrate the development of media forms in terms of structure, tradition, style and content. Your presence on and contributions to the conference area of the WebBoard will record your participation.
I am proposing that you then develop a history of the book and the Internet. These are purposefully chosen as strongly contrasting medias. You will need to collectively resolve how you are going to present your information, who is going to prepare and research it and how I should assess it. (On the latter point I will make some suggestions, but you can choose the final method I adopt – after that, you will have to be prepared with that collective decision – we will vote if necessary.)
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