🍂 Fall 2024 Electives 🍂

Design in the Posthuman Age
1:10pm–6:10pm / Anastasiia Raina / In this class, we will explore our contemporary condition through visual-research based projects around self-design, speculative design and design fiction. We will use graphic design as a medium to ask questions about ethical concerns emerging from advancements in science and technology. We will develop a new design vernacular incorporating ideas from revolutionary recent developments in genetics, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence. We will employ machine vision: microscopy, neuroimaging and NASA archives to create new fictional worlds in concert with the life forms around and inside us. This engagement with the sciences will allow us as graphic designers to acquire some fundamental tools that probe fundamental human nature, and help us navigate the posthuman epoch that lies ahead.
Data Narratives (Grad Elective)
1:10pm–6:10pm / Reuben Fischer-Baum / This graduate-level studio elective will explore the use of data visualization in creating complex narrative experiences for viewers and readers. The course will serve as a technical primer in how to write code that compiles, analyzes and visualizes data, but it will also deepen the abilities of students that have some existing skill set in these areas. It will teach key web design approaches – particularly motion, transition, exploration, and interaction – that bring data narratives to life in digital environments. “Data” will be defined in a broad sense, and course examples will include non-numerical formats like image processing data and textual analysis. Students will be encouraged to work with subjects and sources that intersect with other projects they’re undertaking at RISD. The course will examine the core design considerations in the creation of world-class visualization, as well as approaches to the field’s “hard problems” of variability, uncertainty, and magnitude. We will also interrogate the fundamental tensions that exist within storytelling across all mediums, with reading and discussion on story structure and narrative ethics.
In Motion: Design for Video and Animation
8am–1pm / Gabriel Drozdov / Motion design is a powerful, foundational feature of digital screens. It helps direct the viewer’s attention, present information sequentially, add personality or depth to otherwise static graphics, contextualize interactive elements, and so much more. In this studio elective, students will learn the fundamentals of motion design and explore a wide variety of video and animation techniques. We will look at a wide range of influences and styles ranging from stop motion animation, to film title sequences, to early-Internet Flash animations, to interface design, to contemporary practices for brand identities and social media. Instruction will focus on digital motion design using Adobe After Effects, with additional tutorials in Premiere Pro, audio production, and HTML/CSS for web-based animations. Students will leave the course with a broad overview of the field of motion design and a deep understanding of rhythm, timing, sequence, narrative, and expression.
unMaking Studio
1:10pm–6:10pm / Ramon Tejada / How do designers respond, think about and make for equitable futures? How much do we need to scrap or throw under the proverbial bus (ourselves included)? Unmaking studio is a space that explores possibilities through collaborative experimentation and reflection on how we can design in pluralistic ways. We will intentionally break habits, structures, tools, methods, and models of thought that have become canonized as the way to make Graphic Design. Along the way, we will experiment, at times in collaboration, with a series of prompts that explore analog and digital outcomes — forms, images, stories, languages, publications, the unknown, the emergent — thinking about the stories our work tells about ourselves (our lineages, our choices, and our values), our communities, and how all of this has the potential to radically and joyfully shift how we engage as human beings.
Web as Medium 1
1:10pm–6:10pm / Minkyoung Kim / Web as Medium 1 is an introduction to creating communicative media for the web, from both conceptual and technological perspectives. Through engaging in readings, student-led presentations, and projects, students will explore cultural, social, and historical contexts around network technologies, and discover the Internet's potential as a space for social exchange and independent expression. Throughout workshops and hands-on exercises, students will learn fundamental design principles as well as a basic understanding of HTML/CSS/Javascript. Studio projects will guide students in exploring methods for conceptualizing, designing, and developing websites. While outcomes won’t always prioritize practicality or strict functionality, the emphasis lies on cultivating a poetic understanding of design and the Internet as mediums for critical research and action.
Type + Code
1:10pm–6:10pm / Gabriel Drozdov / Type + Code is a studio course in which students combine web programming with variable fonts to create interactive, dynamic typographic experiences. Students will become proficient in code (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) and type design (Glyphs) to create original fonts, web specimens, digital articles, and more. This course encourages students to push the boundaries on contemporary type design and find new or underutilized use cases for experimental typography, both as a form of expression and in practical applications. These experiments are supported by readings from a wide variety of influences, including video games, performance studies, and computer science. No prior experience in type design or coding is required.
Brand Identity Design
8:00am–1:00pm / Richard Rose / Designing an identity and identity system is a critical skill practiced by today’s designers. In this course, students will create two identity systems: one for an arts organization and one for a socially constructive campaign. While a traditional identity system is defined as a logo and a set of rules for governing that logo's application across a range of media, the goal of this class is to expand upon the ways an identity can be conceived through the manipulation of language, materials, and audience expectation/participation.
Type Design
8:00am–1:00pm / Richard Lipton / This elective is an opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the process of designing a typeface; to consider all the design decisions that are a part of this creative exercise, and to learn the finer points of letter structures and systems, serif and sans, spacing, kerning, and all the other details of execution which turn a roughly-formed idea into a more complete, rigorous and polished digital design. This course will provide a fundamental understanding of how typefaces work in addition to understanding a tool that can further your design goals.
Newly Formed
1:10pm–6:10pm / Thurs / Kathleen Sleboda; Chris Sleboda / Newly Formed focuses on advanced composition in graphic design and typography using an array of materials, techniques and formats. Each year, the class is reframed and remade, formed again for the newest cohort of students. Emphasis is placed on experimental form-making/image-making using generative and iterative approaches, with a core principle being that form need not follow function and that knowledge can be acquired from a process-based approach to design. Studio assignments are supported by lectures showing contemporary graphic form, from historical to contemporary work, which are meant to inspire and be sites for response. This elective aims to build a collection of work that can be shared with the larger graphic design community.
Workshop: Risograph
8am–1pm / Fri / Lucy Hitchcock / This workshop will use the ideas from Risograph (RISO) printing to combine practical pre-press skills, encouraging experimentation formmaking. The aim of this introduction workshop is to teach students to consider the craft and value of well-planned files to produce high-quality outputs that can be replicated and shared. Students will work within a series of technical constraints that will require creative solutions as well as an understanding of this particular printing process, color, paper, and file preparation.
Workshop: Letterpress
1:10pm–6:10pm / Fri / Lois Harada / This workshop is a four week introduction to letterpress printing. We will work with handset foundry type, wood type and photopolymer plates to create finely printed specimens of type and image. We will learn Pantone color mixing and matching and discuss papers and substrates suitable for the process. Participants will learn to design for the letterpress printing process and prepress techniques for creating successful photopolymer plates. The course will also cover proper Vandercook Proof Press setup, inking, cleaning and troubleshooting.
Workshop: Photo & Lighting
1:10–6:10pm / Fri / Tom Wedell / This workshop is an introduction to the methods involved in studio photography for designers with an emphasis on lighting-bringing objects to life by articulating their shapes and surfaces with various lighting sources: soft/hard, direct/reflected, focused/diffused, etc. Additional attention will be given to digital file preparation and printing. Throughout this workshop, students will explore the use of DSLR cameras, lenses, exposure meters, and related equipment to create original images of selected 3D objects.
Workshop: Screenprinting
1:10pm–6:10pm / Fri / Tycho Horan / This workshop will focus on establishing a basic understanding of a variety of screen printing techniques and how to make use of those techniques in your work. Through in-class demos and out-of-class assignments, this workshop will encourage experimentation with screens and ink. The class will start with simple paper stencils and move quickly into making screens from images and text generated digitally.